Season: February through September, peaking June through August. Operators stress that weather cancellations happen and that this is a fishing trip; predations are not guaranteed. Many boats offer alternative wildlife tours if sharks are elusive.
What to wear: You are going to sea (briefly) during winter off the Cape of Good Hope, the same latitude south as Cape Hatteras is north. Dress warm. Wet suits, masks, and booties provided.
Operators: The Great White Shark Protection Foundation (www.gwspf.co.za) lists 11 companies in the region with commercial cage-diving permits.
Apex Shark Expeditions
Excellent sighting record and conservation practices, one of the most experienced in the business, comprehensive website. Excursions 7 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or 1-5 p.m., $186 per person, refunded in full if weather interferes. Also offers full-day excursions. Round-trip transportation offered from Cape Town hotels to Simons Town, $38 per person.
Where to stay
Protea Breakwater Lodge
Portswood Road, V&A Waterfront
Located next to the delightful waterfront district. Four stars, rates starting at $140 double occupancy, historic structure.
Where to eat
Vovo Telo Bakery & Café
Breakfast: On the waterfront, a short walk from the ferry to the Robben Island apartheid prison. Historic mortar stone building. Request an upstairs table.
Corner of Upper Union and Kloof streets
Dinner: Cozy European decor. Slow-roasted pork ribs a must.