Sharks in South Africa

The country of South Africa is home to several of the deadliest species of sharks and ranks 2nd in total shark attacks globally. The deadliest species of sharks in South Africa known for attacking humans are the bull shark, the tiger shark, and the dreaded great white. All three are known for their aggressive behavior and tendency to hunt near the shore. So if a shark has been spotted on a beach nearby, it would be unwise to go into the water that day.

List of the Different Types of Sharks in South Africa

Species Maximum Size Aggressiveness
Arrowhead Dogfish 2.4-2.5 feet Not aggressive
Blacktip Shark 5-8 feet Moderately aggressive
Blue Shark 6-11 feet Not aggressive
Broadnose Sevengill Shark 3.5-7.5 feet Not aggressive (unless caught)
Bull Shark 7-12 feet Highly aggressive
Copper Shark 11-12 feet Not aggressive
Dusky Shark 9 -12 feet Not aggressive (until provoked)
Frilled Shark 5.6-6.6 feet Not aggressive
Goblin Shark 7-8 feet Not aggressive
Great White Shark 11-16 feet Highly aggressive
Puffadder Shyshark 1.58-2.25 feet Not aggressive
Pyjama Shark 3.5-3.6 feet Not aggressive
Sand Tiger Shark 7-10 feet Not aggressive (due to their small mouths)
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark 9-12 feet Moderately aggressive
School Shark 6-7 feet Not aggressive
Sharptooth Houndshark 5.5-5.6 feet Not aggressive
Shortfin Mako Shark 6.5-9.5 feet Highly aggressive
Shortnose Spurdog 1.46-1.85 feet Not aggressive
Smooth Hammerhead Shark 8-12 feet Not aggressive (but are potentially dangerous)
Southern African Frilled Shark 3.25-3.83 feet Not aggressive
Spiny Dogfish 2.5-3.5 feet Not aggressive (due to their small size)
Tiger Shark 10-14 feet Highly aggressive



South Africa is known for its shark attacks. The most recent one occurred on September 25th, 2022, in Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape. A great white grabbed 39-year-old Kimon “Kiki” Bisogno and dragged her underwater. Her body would be recovered 50 yards from where the shark grabbed her.


Sharks are at risk around South Africa, the most notable reasons being overfishing and pollution.


There are plenty of places to go swimming or cage diving with sharks.


South Africa was once known as the “great white capital” of the world, where these giant beasts would flourish. However, the arrival of two killer whales has led to a sharp decline in population as they constantly hunt these sharks for food. This has caused the great white sharks to avoid the areas where these orcas have been spotted.

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