Strong ocean waves, beautiful sand grains, and cool summer breezes are just what you look forward to when planning an ideal vacation at the beach.
Nevertheless, you must choose your beach wisely, because you never know the danger lurking under the waves.
Hundreds of shark species dart through oceans worldwide, with some being the size of your hand and others larger than a school bus.
There might be sharks waiting to pounce on you, thus turning your super-exciting beach vacation into a frightening nightmare.
Today’s post is all about these rulers of the oceans, stars of horror movies, and subjects of fascination. Here is what we are going to cover today:
- Shark Facts That May Surprise You
- Top 10 Most Shark Infested Beaches
Before we move on, let’s explain what the most common species of sharks are and where they like to swim.
A list of common sharks
- Bull sharks: they prefer to stay in shallow waters
- Great white sharks: they are found in deep waters
- Blacktip sharks: they also prefer shallow waters, and can be found in groups.
- Spinner sharks: these sharks are exceptionally fast. They enjoy jumping out of water.
- Tiger sharks: they are both curious and aggressive. Their sense of smell is excellent, so you might want to stay as far from them as you can.
Now that you are somewhat familiar with these scary creatures—frightening eyes, giant mouths, and sharp teeth—let’s look at shark facts that may surprise you and the top 10 most shark infested beaches, so that you don’t go in the water unawares, and end up a shark ‘Happy Meal’.
Shark Facts That May Surprise You
Sharks have excellent eyesight
Most sharks can see extremely well in dark areas. They have amazing night vision, and can see different colors.
The back of sharks’ eyeballs have a reflective layer of tissue which is classed a tapetum. It is this layer that helps sharks see extremely well in dark lighted areas.
Sharks have unique electroreceptor organs
Almost all sharks have small black spots scattered near the nose, eyes and mouth. These spots are known as the Ampullae of Lorenzini.
The Ampullae of Lorenzini are unique electroreceptor organs that allow sharks to sense electromagnetic fields near them and temperature changes in the ocean.
Shark skin feels like sandpaper
Shark skin feels similar to sandpaper because it is made of small teeth-like structures called placoid scales. These scales are also know as dermal denticles.
Their purpose is to reduce friction from surrounding water when the shark swims.
Sharks can be “hypnotized”
When flipped upside down, sharks go into a trance like state called tonic immobility. In this state they are incredibly calm and easy to control.
Scientists often put sharks into this state when working on them in the water.
Not all sharks live in the ocean
While most sharks live in all of the world’s oceans, some species are known to live in freshwater lakes and rivers. For example, bull sharks have evolved to swim between salt and fresh water.
River sharks have also been found in rivers of South Asia, New Guinea, and Australia.
Next, we look at the top 10 most shark infested beaches…
#1 – Gansbaai, South Africa—also known as “Shark Alley”
Popularly known as a fishing town and holiday resort, Gansbaai is also home to great white sharks.
These sharks have razor-sharp teeth, beady eyes, and giant mouths. The fear-provoking creatures are very intimidating.
Surprisingly, they have also inspired admiration from many folks around the globe.
Tourists from far and wide visit Gansbaai just to catch a glimpse of the sharks.
Ask for a glimpse, and you may get this…
Yes, companies take visitors out on boats to experience the great whites from the safety of a submerged cage.
Frequently, these curious sharks have been known to bite the cage! One can only hope that they don’t try to get into the cage with you.
This little shark-visiting sojourn will typically cost you a few hundred dollars.
But, if this adventure does not appeal so much to you, you can take your spot on the deck of the ship, and watch the sharks feast on the local seal population.
Certainly, Gansbaai is not the place for a casual swim.
Next, we move to South Africa…
#2 – Kosi Bay, Kwa-Zulu-Natal, South Africa
Kosi Bay is our second most shark infested location.
Famous for its unspoiled beauty, Kosi Bay also harbors Zambezi sharks/bull sharks, which lurk beneath freshwater lakes and estuaries.
Zambezi sharks are known to be outright aggressive, and what makes them even more dangerous, is their ability to swim into lakes and rivers.
These sharks have even made their way up the Mississippi River in the U.S.
On to the next on…
#3 – New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA
Here, sharks are known to bump into humans, and “accidentally” bite them. The waters off New Smyrna Beach in east-central Florida are full of spinner, blacktip, and tiger sharks.
Dubbed “the shark attack capital”, New Smyrna is still a favorite vacation location for many beach-goers.
But it’s important to know, that as a tourist, you also share this amazing destination with hungry sharks.
Although they are not as aggressive as great white or bull sharks, they randomly feast on human beings.
To them, a surfer is not any different than a turtle, or any other prey.
There are a lot of shark attacks in New Smyrna all year round, because of the huge number of folks who frequent these waters.
In fact, no other place in the world has witnessed regular shark attacks like this popular beach resort.
Bolinas is a small beach found in Marin County, Northern California.
Other than its utopian seaside vibe and reclusive residents, Bolinas is also known for great white sharks.
These sharks swim in large numbers in the waters off Bolinas and Stinson Beach.
In the year 2002 one great white shark, 12-14 foot, viciously attacked a 24 year-old surfer.
Although the man survived, he needed over 100 stitches to close up the bite wounds. This is neither the first nor the last attack in Bolinas.
These attacks haven’t stopped surfers from going about their business. After all, they are already used to the extremely cold waters.
Next, we travel to Brazil…
Recife is sometimes referred to as “the Venice of South America”. This fantastic urban beach has perfect sunshine and cool seashore breezes.
But in addition to all this, it’s also a favorite location for lots of sharks.
There have been over 50 shark attacks—16 of which were fatal — in Recife since 1992.
In a place where one in every three shark attacks results in death, it is safer to concentrate on your tan, than to jump in the water.
On to the next beach…
#6 – Lake Nicaragua, Nicaragua
This is the largest lake in Central America. It is also infested with aggressive bull sharks.
For a long time, scientists wondered how the freshwater lake could have ended up with so many sharks.
At first, they assumed the creatures had been moved there centuries ago.
However, the scientists later discovered that the sharks swam from the San Juan River in the 1960s.
While the bull sharks don’t attack humans often, the thought of sharks swimming around in Lake Nicaragua, is still terrifying.
#7 – Bondi Beach, New South Wales, Australia
Surfers are hugely fond of the waters of this beach, located in New South Wales, Australia.
But, like the other beaches we’ve mentioned, the waters of Bondi Beach are infested with sharks.. bull sharks to be specific.
These sharks have claimed the lives of many divers over the years. 2008 was a bad year for surfers and body boarders.
For this reason, Bondi beach has made it to our list of the top ten most shark infested beaches.
#8 – Reunion Island
Since 1980, there have been over 24 shark attacks at Reunion Island. Bull and tiger sharks are the common sharks in these waters.
The sharks are aggressive, and have terrified visitors and residents alike for many years.
#9 – West End, Grand Bahamas
Unlike other shark infested beaches, there is no documentation of fatal shark attacks in West End, Grand Bahamas.
Just like Gansbaai, shark cage diving is also a popular activity here.Tourists come to West End to watch the hungry sharks.
Nonetheless, be very careful when you visit the Bahamas. It is home to almost all types of sharks: blacktips, bull sharks, hammerheads, you name it.
#10 – Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa
Umhlanga Rocks is situated along the shores of the Indian Ocean. It is the home of great white and bull sharks.
In 1957, several fishing nets were installed, so as to protect swimmers.
Surfers here wear devices that repel sharks: a clear indication that Umhlanga Rocks is one of the most dangerous shark attack spots in the world.
We hope you enjoyed our article about the most shark-infested beaches!