Two Oceans Aquarium offers a peek into the lives of two very different seascapes. Cape Town is located where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet, creating a unique underwater world and a tremendous diversity of water life. Here are five aquarium highlights.
The Oceans of Contrast exhibition is divided into two parts. The Atlantic Ocean Gallery lets visitors look into the life of the cold Atlantic Ocean. This is the home of the rare Knysna seahorse, among others, and visitors come eye to eye with the gigantic spider crab. The texture of anemones, starfish and kelp (a kind of seaweed) can be felt in the touch pool. Meanwhile the Indian Ocean Gallery revolves around life in the warmer Indian Ocean. Here you’ll find an explosion of colours as countless tropical fish species swim around.
Kelp forests are a common phenomenon in the oceans surrounding Cape Town. These fabulous forests of seaweed can be experienced in a unique way in the aquarium. The Ocean Basket Kelp Forest Exhibit is an underwater forest of metre-high kelp plants. Their long stalks make for a mysterious atmosphere and a safe shelter for the hundreds of colourful fish who make their home here.
There is up to two million litres of water in the water tank of the I&J Predator Exhibit. It’s home to one of the greatest attractions of the aquarium: The sand tiger sharks. You can walk around the tank on all sides as well as through it via a tunnel. The sharks are fed every afternoon at half past three. The tank also hosts other tropical predators such as the yellow tail flounder and leerfish.
The Sappi River Meander follows the course of a river from its source high in the mountains until it reaches the ocean. The exhibit features a beach washed by waves and inhabited by a colony of African penguins. The young born here are often released into the wild by the aquarium. Beautiful tropical plants grow and waterfalls murmur along the river. There is also a frog pond where you can learn all about these amphibians.
One of the unique aspects of the aquarium is the option to go diving in two different tanks. Experienced divers can swim among the kelp in the Ocean Basket Kelp Forest Exhibit. And the most adventurous opt to dive in the I&J Predator Exhibit, swimming freely among the sharks. There is no cage but as sand tiger sharks are on the list of ‘friendly’ species, you’re sure to be safe. In addition to strong nerves, this experience requires that you have a diving certificate.