File photo: AP Photo/ Monterey County Herald, David Royal

Cape Town - From this August, One&Only Cape Town gets guests up close and personal with the ocean and its inhabitants, a celebrity chef and his homegrown specialities and some of the finest wines the region has to offer.

With International Shark Week commencing in August, One&Only Cape Town looks forward to hosting adventure-seeking guests who relish the thought of combining extraordinary ocean-based wildlife excursions with mouthwatering epicurean endeavours. The resort’s new Close Encounter Experiences is a balance of fascinating excursions and delightful food and wine events.

Located in the V&A Waterfront, the resort is a mere 25 minutes drive from False Bay where some of the most incredible shark and whale encounters in the world can be experienced. Shark-seeking resort guests are accompanied by world-renowned Great White Shark expert Chris Fallows who is the owner of ocean encounters company APEX Predators; he and his team are well versed in showcasing some of the most extraordinary ocean animal experiences imaginable.

Hosting guests on the company’s custom built catamaran, Chris shares his wealth of knowledge with his guests while facilitating cage dives, photographic safaris or boat-based sightings of sharks, whales, seals and birdlife. Probably most well known for his photographic and film capturing of the unique phenomenon of breaching by Great White Sharks, an outing with Chris Fallows and APEX Predators is certainly one for the bucket list and a must for keen photographers.

An avid proponent for the protection of the ocean’s wildlife, Fallows explains “seeing natural predation is the pinnacle of most wildlife watchers wish lists and during the season from April to September this is a daily opportunity with multiple predatory hunts possible in a single morning’s expedition”.

Well known for his conservation campaigns, Chris adds “our focus is an all-round nature experience to try and show our guests as much different wildlife as possible – we really try to educate more than just offer an adrenalin thrill”. That said, the sight of a 6-meter, 1 900kg prehistoric fish breaching while in pursuit of a Cape Fur Seal, its prey, is likely to send every heart on board racing.

Aside from Great White Sharks, participants in the One&Only Close Encounter Experiences are also able to view other shark species, dolphins and large numbers of whales – whether in the form of boat-based excursions, cage dives or free dives - such as the chaperoned daily tank dives with Ragged Tooth sharks at the Two Oceans Aquarium in the V&A Waterfront.

After an adrenalin-filled day spent discovering sharks, whales and other ocean wildlife, what better way to relax than at Reuben’s where celebrity chef Reuben Riffel has created a menu that reflects his rural upbringing and a passion for local produce and seasonal offerings? From slow cooked curries, redolent with heady Malay spices to just-seared A-grade steaks, Reuben’s offers a taste of South African cuisine in an inviting, five-star restaurant environment.

A welcome after-shark experience for guests is a private wine tasting with award winning sommelier Luvo Ntezo who relishes each and every opportunity to share his favourite South African wines as well as any new cellar surprises from the resort’s 5000-strong wine collection. A keen supporter of lesser-known boutique wineries, Luvo’s enthusiasm is infectious and spending time in his company is always fascinating.

In honour of International Shark Week this August, One&Only Cape Town invite guests to check into the resort for a ‘4-night Close Encounter Experiences’. Contact the Reservations Department at One&Only Cape Town who will be able to assist with making your booking and advise on any accommodation offers the resort is running. Allow the team to tailor-make your Close Encounter Experience, by including some of the following excursions:

• A one day ocean-based cage shark diving experience, hosted by shark diving experts APEX Predators

• A dinner for two at Reuben’s including a wine tasting with One&Only Cape Town sommelier Luvo Ntezo

• A one day shark diving experience at the Two Oceans Aquarium with ragged tooth sharks

• Surfing lessons at Muizenberg Beach

• Cape Point Nature Reserve visiting Boulder’s Beach Penguin Colony

• Sidecar adventure around the Cape Peninsula

“Seeing natural predation is the pinnacle of most wildlife watcher’s wish lists and this is Seal Island’s speciality where during the season from April to September this is a daily opportunity with multiple predatory hunts possible in a single morning’s expedition”, says Chris Fallows who adds “our focus is an all-round nature experience and try and show our guests as much different wildlife as possible – we really try to educate more than just offer an adrenalin thrill”.

With numerous celebrities (among them Brad Pitt and Leonardo di Caprio) joining the movement to help protect Great White Sharks and foster understanding of these incredible creatures, so the world’s eyes are turning to Cape waters and its natural inhabitants. One&Only Cape Town wholeheartedly endorses APEX Predators and salutes the work Chris Fallows is doing in this arena – his passion for fostering understanding is infectious and there is no doubt that this experience will yield new understanding and discoveries for One&Only Cape Town guests - fostering memories to last a lifetime.

These close encounters with sharks via One&Only Cape Town are tailor-made for each guest and are available as an on-going offering. All additional suggested excursions can be booked through the resort’s Concierge Desk or at time of reservation.

For further enquiries about ‘Close Encounter Experiences’ call (27) (21) 431 5800 or email [email protected] For further information about One&Only Cape Town and the Close Encounters Offer visit www.oneandonlycapetown.com.