People safe, shark safe
In the waters of False Bay, where the Atlantic Ocean curls around the south-western tip of Africa, marine life abounds. Gouged into this far corner of the South African coast, partly encircled by the Cape Peninsula and gaping southwards, False Bay has lush kelp forests, rocky reefs and sandy shores. A diversity of plants and creatures inhabit these realms and provide an assortment of food to the animals that feed on them.
Just adjacent to this exceptional marine environment lies a more recently established but equally diverse community: the metropolis of Cape Town with its mishmash of urban areas and mix of people. Rounding the coast of False Bay from west to east, you will see a full range of urban – and natural – landscapes, from bustling upmarket towns to seemingly endless plains of informal housing, fishing harbours and also high-rise buildings. All this on just 110 kilometres of coastline.
Together, almost four million people live in Cape Town, abutting the shores of False Bay. With this varied coastline right on their doorstep, Capetonians are not wont to stay on land, and scores of bathers, surfers, fishermen, kayakers, kite-boarders and divers are in the water year-round.
This proximity of people and wildlife, while picturesque and exciting to imagine, can be problematic.