Gansbaai

Gansbaai (Goose Bay) is a town in the Overberg region, Western Cape, South Africa. By road it is 165 km South East of Cape Town.

Understand

Gansbaai developed around a fresh water fountain frequented by wild geese. Later a harbour was built around the fountain and a (now abolished) whaling station was erected in De Kelders, just outside of town. Gansbaai is a quaint little fishing village that bloomed into the Great White Capital of the World. The bountiful landscapes and oceans around gives way to a multitude of outdoor activities and spectacular views to behold. Also, who can forget the two celebrities that lend Gansbaai the name Big 2 Town, the graceful Southern Right Whales and the famous Great White Sharks.

Get in

From Cape Town, follow the N2 in the direction of Hermanus then take the R43 turnoff and follow that route until you come reach Gansbaai, about two hours driving time.

See

Trivia

The coast off Gansbaai is rumored to be the favorite hang-out of the ghost ship The Flying Dutchman. If you are lucky, you may also get to see it.

At the tip of Danger Point Peninsula is the Danger Point Lighthouse. Just a mile offshore is the Birkenhead Rock, place of doom of the HMS Birkenhead which wrecked in clear view of the coast with the loss of many lives of young English soldiers on their way to fight the Zulus.

The hinterland of Danger-Point-Peninsula is a mosaic of different habitats of the remarkable Cape Floral Kingdom ("fynbos"), ancient indigenous forest, agricultural lands, vineyards, flower-farms and rural communities. Many of these places can be visited. Experienced guides are available to take you to the highest mountain peaks or the deepest riverine gorges. Though there are many nature parks and reserves in the greater area, several animals, among which 6 antelope species, roam freely and the abundance of different bird species is due to a plethora of different landscapes.

The small seaside village of Franskraal has one of the quaintest museums in the country. An original "Strandveld-house" immediately on the sea harbors a special collection about the history of the area.

Baardskeerdersbos can easily be missed when passing this rural hamlet on the road from Gansbaai to Elim; it has only a small number of houses. It has however a magnificent position in the Boesmansriver-valley nestled in between fynbos-clad hills.

The neighboring village of Elim is an old Moravian mission station, established to function as a refuge for Khoi-people (the indigenous inhabitants of the Western Cape) in the 18th century. Visiting Elim is almost a time travel to the 19th century. There is a monumental church, a working water-mill and the only monument to celebrate the abolition of slavery in South Africa.

Do

Gansbaai is world-renowned for great white shark cage diving, with peak times running from June to August.

Eat

Gansbaai is a working fishing town and the local restaurants serve a lot of fresh fish. Gansbaai is also crayfish town, of which there is plenty to enjoy during the crayfish season. Gansbaai is also famous for its Perlemoen (Abelone). It is a threatened shellfish and locally considered as a culinary delight, though some people might argue it is an acquired taste. The neighbouring Victorian village of Stanford has a few very good restaurants.

Drink

There are various places in Main street in Gansbaai, but one could also have a sunset-drink overlooking the harbour watching the fishing boats come home or on top of the cliffs in De Kelders watching the whales prepare for the night.

Sleep

The Danger Point Peninsula area has strangely enough not developed a vast tourism infrastructure. There are no hotels or resorts and - contrary to Hermanus on the other side of Walker Bay - the total amount of beds in the area is restricted. Yet there are some lodges, guesthouse and nature reserves, spread around Gansbaai, offering comfortable to luxury accommodation.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, January 09, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.