10 Most Dangerous Places for Shark Attacks


South Africa

beach huts, Capetown
Colorful huts line the beach in Capetown, South Africa. Dillemma Photography/Getty Images

You might think that 251 shark attacks since 1905 would keep folks away from the waters of South Africa, but that doesn't seem to be the case [source: ISAF]. More and more people are flocking to South African waters to dive with sharks.

There's plenty of them to find -- South Africa was one of the first countries to formally protect great white sharks, so their populations have grown [source: Hamilton]. You can see mako, ragged tooth, tiger, hammerhead, bull and blacktip sharks, just to name a few. Near Kosi Bay you'll find tenacious bull sharks known locally as Zambezi. Dyer Island, near Capetown, has earned the nickname "Shark Alley" for the many species of sharks in the water, particularly a high number of great white sharks. These great whites spend their time stalking Geyser Rock, home to more than 50,000 seals [source: Cahill].

While shark diving may provide thrills galore, the industry is extremely controversial. Some blame shark diving, a somewhat haphazardly regulated industry, for recent shark attacks, because it encourages sharks to come closer to shore than they normally do [source: Hamilton]. Proponents say it's safe and provides a way to learn more about sharks in their natural environment. One tour guide has claimed that he doesn't even bother with the cage when diving with sharks [source: Shott].

On the flip side, however, another tour guide was injured because his foot was hanging over the side of the boat as he baited the waters to draw the great whites closer [source: Shott]. Chumming the water, or putting a mix of fish blood and guts into the water, could change a shark's natural behavior. With each new attack, some worry that the sight of humans may become linked to the promise of food, increasing the danger for unsuspecting divers who have no food to offer.

At the next spot on the list, you don't need to pay to dive with sharks -- they're probably swimming all around you! Find out the most dangerous place for shark attacks on the next page.