Gansbaai, meaning “bay of geeseâ€, is a small fishing village and popular tourist destination in the Overberg region of the Western Cape. It is known as the “Great White Shark capital of the worldâ€ where exhilarating shark cage diving can enjoyed just off the coast, as well as some of the best land and boat based whale watching in the world. Familiarise yourself with our range of Gansbaai accommodations.
Gansbaai’s enchantment lies in its dramatic landscape characterised by rugged outcrops and stretching sand dunes, encircled by both sea and mountains. The area around Gansbaai has been dubbed the “coast of contrastâ€ and is covered in unspoiled vegetation of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Despite being the smallest of the world’s six floral kingdoms, it is the richest with 9000 species.
Gansbaai’s major attraction lies in the high density of Great White Sharks that allow for excellent year round shark cage diving. Visitors can be jetted out to Dyer Island and climb into a cage attached to the boat to view the sharks in their natural environment. Interestingly, it is said that after the Kruger National Park, the Great White Sharks in Gansbaai attract some of the highest numbers of tourists to South Africa for any singular activity.
Nature lovers can walk the 50km of unspoilt Gansbaai shoreline ideal for swimming, hiking, surfing, and angling. Other activities to be enjoyed in Gansbaai include horse riding, visiting neighbouring wine farms, kayaking, whale watching, quad biking, and exploring the nearby Walker Bay Nature Reserve. The reserve boasts the Klipgat Cave, which is one of three places where old remains have been excavated in South Africa. It is one of the most important historical sites in the Western Cape, also holding claim to having the earliest evidence of the presence of sheep-herding Khoi people, whose descendants were the first to erect settlements in the Gansbaai area.
Those seeking a history lesson in Gansbaai will enjoy visiting the Danger Point lighthouse, where a plaque commemorates the sinking of the Birkenhead. The ship was wrecked off the Gansbaai coast in 1852 when carrying Welsh and Scottish soldiers and their families to the Eastern Cape to fight the Xhosa. It was notably the first shipwreck that employed the “women and children firstâ€ protocol. All of the women and children were saved, but most of the men perished as a consequence. Over 140 ships have been wrecked to the east of Gansbaai, and in 1895, the Danger Point Lighthouse was built to provide safety for ships in these treacherous waters. You can climb the lighthouse to the revolving light and peer out over the choppy waters that cover the remains of the famous Birkenhead wreck.
Gansbaai features an abundance of restaurants and shops that add a charm to the surroundings. Here you can indulge in local delights, such as boerekos, bobotie, freshly baked bread, and homemade jams.
Make the most of your stay by booking one of the excellent accommodations available in Gansbaai.