Footage of a great white shark being chased by a burly elephant seal has stunned viewers after being uploaded on social media.

In the clip, the shark cruises close to the shore at a leisurely pace.

In the background, a larger shape in the water suddenly changes course and heads straight for the apex predator.

The shark notices the five-tonne mammal gunning straight towards it and suddenly puts on a surprisingly display of speed, trying to get away from the unexpected danger.

It looks like the shark made a safe getaway, but the hair-raising video still made a splash when it was shared on Facebook by Plettenberg Bay Tourism.

The great white shark was chased by a giant elephant seal
The great white shark was chased by a giant elephant seal

Sounding stunned, a viewer commented: "Wow that is one hell of a seal... didn't know they got so big."

"Them elephant seals ain't a small creature," said a second.

"Shark was looking for a baby seal meal but daddy or mommy had different opinion," quipped another viewer.

"Elephant seals are massive especially the males," commented someone else.

Another quipped: "Chasing away? It looks like he was almost dinner."

In the caption, Plettenberg Bay Tourism wrote: "The action never stops in the waters off Robberg Peninsula!

"14-year-old Luka Oosthuizen, a Plett local and aspiring nature photographer, captured this rare moment when Solo, an elephant seal that has been returning to Plettenberg Bay for some years (he's the only one) chasing a great white shark away from the Cape fur seal colony.

"Apparently, in the ocean, size does count!"

Plettenberg Bay Tourism said the elephant seal in the footage was an adult male called Solo.