We all need an adrenaline rush now and then. For some of us, it’s as simple as a flight or a rollercoaster ride — others long to conquer the unusual. For Brian and I, it is a variety of thrills, but wildlife encounters are always on the list. A swim with crocodiles, or should I say a cage dive with crocodiles, was on the list after seeing the famous crocodile Cage of Death Experience in Australia.
We were already in the throws of planning a white-knuckle cage dive with great whites in South Africa. Adding in the crocodile cage dive seemed to make sense. At least that was the thought process going in.
Given that we were in South Africa and in the process of being ridiculously adventurous, it dawned on me that we could add crocodiles to the up close and personal list. Somewhere I had read that these cages dives were possible in South Africa. We found African Crocdive, located close to Cape Town.
Ironically, I participated in this one. For those reading, this means one of two things! I was feeling super brave, or the crocodile experience did not seem as intimidating as cage diving with the great whites. Yeah, right. Little white lie there. The guy that runs the place was running late, so we did what we do best. We parked ourselves at the bar and struck up a conversation with the others to meet the crocodiles. Naturally, the more I had to drink, the braver I got! Would I have done this one stone-cold sober? I doubt it. And, for the record, there is not enough alcohol in South Africa to get me into a cage with the great white sharks!
The Actual Swim with Crocodiles
Unlike cage diving with great white sharks, this was tame. For starters, the crocodiles are in an enclosure vs. in the wild. Then, the cage you get into has steps that lead you down vs. a slide or plop in the cage style. In other words, no concern about missing the cage and ending up in the water. Lastly, you can get out without waiting on others, with plenty of room in the cage.
Here is me pondering the idea of voluntarily getting in that cage with the crocodiles. I’m also practicing my Instagram pose here (not). I’m just missing a full face of makeup, my hair diddy, and a much more flattering outfit!
I decided to myself that I can get in and out of this one gracefully but, most importantly, without any chance of falling in or out of the cage. I enter the cage and embrace the cold water.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, the crocodiles were very docile. It was cold weather, and they were preserving their energy. The guy that runs the place nudged them, and up to the cage, they came. Oddly, they seemed uninterested in us. They swam around us, over us, and I got to touch one several times. I did find this thrilling but not overly intimidating. I think knowing I could walk out of the cage made me feel secure. I’ve seen hundreds of crocodiles over the years. The size of them was not shocking to me, and I knew what to expect in terms of size. Perhaps this also helped diminish the fear factor because I can’t say I was shocked at their size.
Getting Photos of Your Swim with Crocodiles
We read that the experience included underwater photographs; this was not the case. I was a little frustrated about this. At the time, I had not purchased a GoPro and did not think I would need it. It turns out I would have been better off splurging and buying one. Fast forward to now, I don’t go anywhere that involves water without my GoPro. Despite not getting the underwater shots, we did get several of the cages, getting in and, of course, inside the actual enclosure.
CrocDive also has a dry viewing area where you can go under the enclosure and get up and close with the crocodiles.
What You Need to Know
This experience only costs about $48 per person.
You must book this experience in advance; you can’t just show up.
The crocodile cage dive experience is located about thirty minutes outside of Cape Town.
You can drive or take an Uber to Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm. If you take Uber, the driver will wait for you. You’ll pay a little extra for him to wait for you. The Uber ride that we took was about $20. We caught a ride back with some of the other folks we met there.
Be sure to sign the guest book; it’s always fun to see where everyone comes from!
If you seek thrills or want to experience something tremendously different, then you should consider this. It’s an activity the entire family can participate in. The drive out there was beautiful, and the vistas are stunning. The crocodiles, while not as intimidating as the great whites, are huge. Once they approach, your heart will start beating, anticipating what’s next, and that’s what matters! Plus, how many people do you know that can say they took a swim with crocodiles even if in a cage? If you are in South Africa, add this to your list of things to see and do – you won’t regret it!
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Nikki Webster is a travel writer who covers how to travel while grinding a day job, how to travel without breaking the bank, hotels, cruising, and off-the-beaten-track experiences. She is particularly fond of Florida and writes extensively about the state. She flies around 60,000 miles per year and has visited 54 countries, 50 states, and six continents. You can read all about her travels at www.britonthemove.com.