KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board

The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board has protected the province’s bathing beaches from shark attacks for more than 40 years. The Sharks Board is also involved in vital shark research and educates the public about sharks and their behaviour.

A visit to the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board headquarters in Umhlanga Rocks, north of Durban, is popular among local school learners and interested members of the public.

Here audiences are enlightened on the work of the Sharks Board via an audio-visual presentation, followed by a shark dissection and discussion that can be viewed from a curved, tiered seating arena.

The venue also features photographs, shark replicas, reconstructed skeletons, sharks’ teeth and mounts of different species. For those looking for souvenirs of their visit, the Fathoms curio shop sells branded clothing and shark-themed mementoes.

For a more interactive experience, the Board also takes members of the public out at dawn on their tour boats to see firsthand how nets are maintained off Durban’s Golden Mile. The highlight of such a trip is the opportunistic viewing of dolphins, whales and seabirds.

Achieving a balance between the protection of bathers and minimising impact on the marine environment led to a net reduction programme some years ago.

Total coverage of shark safety gear (nets and/or drumlines) has gradually been reduced from 44km of coverage along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline to 23km, without adversely compromising bather safety.

Today the Sharks Board provide a shark protection service at 38 beaches along the KwaZulu-Natal coast, between Richards Bay in the north and Port Edward in the south.

Operations staff are accommodated at 11 base stations along the KwaZulu-Natal coast, which enables surf launches at first light. Nets and shark safety gear are checked for specimens caught overnight, and damaged nets are repaired or replaced.

The last attack at a protected beach took place in 1999, a vindication of the success of the Sharks Board in reducing shark attacks on bathers and surfers.

Travel tips & Planning info

How to get here

Ideally situated close to freeway access to and from the N2 and M4, with safe parking provided on site, the Sharks Board is located at 1A Herrwood Drive, Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal.

Best time to visit

Show times: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 9am and 2pm; the first Sunday of the month at 1pm and 4pm. The Sharks Board is closed on public holidays.

What will it cost

R35 per adult or R30 per adult for group bookings of 15 or more. R20 per child or R15 per child for group bookings of 15 or more. Boat trips cost R250 per person. Bookings for boat trips are essential.

Best buys

The Fathoms curio shop offers a variety of marine-themed souvenirs and branded shirts, caps and jackets.

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