WATCH | Try to hide among the fishies when diving in the aquarium's shark exhibit

You will need nerves of steel diving with sharks - especially outside the safety of a cage.

Both exhilarating and scary, sharks have a bit of an image problem when it comes to their interactions with humans. And while their razor-sharp teeth can cause damage, they're not the monsters that Hollywood has crafted on the screen.

If you've ever wanted to see these imposing creatures up close - but a little wary of the ones in the big blue - a dive among them in a controlled environment might just be what you need to conquer your fear.

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When you first look over the tank where you're about to dive down into, it looks just like a fish pond - that is until you spot the fin cutting through the water, a big shadow glistening just underneath the waters. 

Alongside two tourists led by a jovial Scottish master diver, I headed into the clear deep, watching from all sides for a toothy grin that might just get too close.

The scariest moments are when the sharks come out of nowhere. 

But it doesn't take long until you feel like you're a part of the tank's rhythm - slowly circling the rock, making sure you don't extend your arm too far out, in case the sharks mistake it for a tasty snack. 

If you've ever been in the ocean though, it's pretty clear you're in a man-made environment. The people waving at you through the glass gives you a strange sensation - as if you're stuck inside a fishbowl you'll never leave - and you suddenly have an inkling of what the fish must feel like every day. 

The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town is one of the top marine facilities on the continent, and they see their ragged-tooth sharks as ambassadors for their kind.

The conservation of a species needs to be fuelled through understanding and education, and when many people don't have the time and means to see them out in the wild, an aquarium offers an important gateway between the sea world and humans. 

And when you swim among them, you can't help but fall in love with every scale and tooth. 

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ragged tooth shark swimming in aquarium

Ragged-tooth shark. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

What you should know about diving at Two Oceans

For the Predator Exhibit, you require an Open Water qualification or higher, and if you haven't dived in 12 months you will need to take a refresher course first with the aquarium. 

You can also dive the I&J Ocean Exhibit with turtles and rays - if you don't have a qualification, you can do a same-day introductory scuba course with the aquarium and dive this tank.

Another option is the Kelp Forest Exhibit, swimming through a maze of kelp and checking out the steenbras and gulley sharks. For this one you need an Advanced Open Water certification.

You can get a discount on the price if you're a Two Oceans Aquarium member and/or if you bring your own gear - fins, wetsuit, booties, buoyancy control device, regulator, mask and snorkel. The aquarium supplies weights and oxygen cylinders. 

All the dives are R870 with gear and R660 without gear.

To find out more and make a booking, visit the diving centre at the aquarium or email dive@aquarium.co.za. 

READ: Learning to swim like a fish in Sodwana Bay: What you should know about doing your PADI certification 

school of fish in aquarium tank

Inside the Predator Exhibit. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

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