Raggy Charters will launch the first shark cage diving experience in Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth, on April 1 this year.

The aim of the tour is to showcase the diversity of Algoa Bay by giving guests the opportunity to encounter and learn about a wide variety of marine species, from the endangered African Penguin and Bottlenose Dolphin, to the Great White Shark.

The Shark Cage Diving Tour is an all-inclusive eight-hour tour that traverses Algoa Bay from April to September, beginning at 07h00 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Yacht Club in the Port Elizabeth Harbour and returning at 15h00.

The tour takes visitors on a cruise to the Bird Island Group which consists of three islands – Bird, Stag and Seal island, which is home to the largest colony of Cape Gannets in the world, and between 6 000 and 8 000 South African fur seals on black rocks. En route to the island group, guests can see the sardine run – which takes place during April, May and June – and the migratory Humpback and Southern Right whales, which arrive in June and July, and stay until November.

In April, May and June, guests are likely to see Cape Gannets, Long-beaked Common Dolphins, South African Fur Seals, African Penguins, Brydes and Minke Whales, shark species, and a wide variety of marine birds feeding on large shoals of sardines and other bait fish.

On arrival at Bird Island, guests will experience an educational shark cage diving session, which will give them insight and understanding into the anatomy and behaviour of the Great White Shark.

For ten years, Raggy Charters has been assisting Dr. Matt Dicken to conduct research on Great White Sharks at Bird Island – the only place in the world where a data set was collected before shark cage diving started in the area. The goal for 2019 is to continue the research while the diving experience takes place, with part of the research entailing fitting acoustic tags to ten Great White Sharks that will provide invaluable information on the species. The tagging operation will take place during some of the Shark Cage Diving tours, allowing guests to witness and be a part of this research project.