Leave Cape Town behind to take a marine cruise where you can see great white sharks, whales, Cape fur seals and a variety of seabirds. On a 2-hour cruise from Gansbaai, ply the waters of Shark Alley to see great whites as they hunt for seal snacks. Then travel to hotspots to see whales, African penguins and other seabirds around Dyer Island and Geyser Rock. Expert guides show you the best of this amazing South African marine wilderness.

Depart from Cape Town after early morning pickup at your hotel. Travel in a comfortable air-conditioned minivan about 2.5 hours along a spectacularly scenic route to Gansbaai.

Upon arrival in Gansbaai, meet your guide for a safety briefing and review of what to expect during your cruise. Then get fitted with life jackets and waterproof gear before you head to the custom-built boat.

Out on the water, your boat heads to Dyer Island, located about five miles (8 km) offshore. Designated an Important Bird Area (IBA), the island hosts many resident bird species, including African penguins. As your boat cruises around, your guide shares informative commentary about the birds you see.

Next, note the Cape fur seals barking and splashing on nearby Geyser Rock. About 60,000 seals make their home here year-round, and they attract the attention of all sorts of sharks, including great whites, who regard the seals as a tasty meal. Look for the toothsome predators as your boat cruises through 'Shark Alley,' a narrow channel of water that runs between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock. Cage-diving boats operate here but you don't need to be in the water to see the action. The sharks swim just under the surface of the water and often come right up to the boat.

After a spin through Shark Alley, your captain continues to hotspots for whale sightings. In the summer months, Bryde's whales and dolphins are often spotted. As it is also the season for the sardine run, seabirds flock to the area to munch on the sardines, who migrate here to mate.

When you return to shore after about two hours, have a light lunch at the Great White House before making the journey back to Cape Town.

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