Welcome to Gansbaai
If Paradise is where nature rules and sets the pace, you have found the place.
The natural beauty and tranquility of this exclusive coastal hide-out in the heart of the unspoilt Overberg is the proverbial Paradise Lost for visitors who want to escape from the toil and moil of stressful suburban life.
The greater Gansbaai area can truly be described as a picturesque haven of contrast and contradiction where all species - from land or sea or sky - exult and exuberate freely and fearlessly in their own natural habitat.
Whether you are an adrenalin junkie craving to swim amongst whales and sharks or a more relaxed nature lover seeking peace away from the madding crowd, the Gansbaai area offers the best of both worlds.
A Natural Playground of Magic and Mystique
Few places can boast such variety and abundance of indigenous fauna and flora under a crystalline sky where spectacular sunrises and sunsets compete with the happy frolicking of whales, dolphins and seals a stone's throw away.
This unique fishing village, nestled cosily between pristine beaches and the Duynefontein Mountains with its magnificent fynbos vegetation, has a rich history and much more to offer than meets the eye.
The town, originally named after a colony of wild Egyptian geese that allegedly congregated at the freshwater fountain next to the old harbour, has in recent years gained international status and fame for both its extraordinary abundance of endangered species and its conservancy strategies. It was the Southern Right Whales and the Great White Sharks that frequent the area that put Gansbaai on the map as the world's No. 1 Hot Spot for Shark Cage Diving and Whale Watching. Today, thousands of tourists from across the globe annually visit the town for a face-to-face encounter with these magnificent giants of the ocean.
A trip on a shark cage diving boat will most likely take you to the sharks' natural feeding ground, dubbed "Shark Alley" between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock. The first is primarily a protected bird sanctuary and breeding colony for jackass penguins. The birds include cormorants and endemic species such as the Black Oyster Catcher and the Swift Tern. Next to it is Geyser Rock, where seals breed. The narrow channel between these two islands hosts a colony of up to 60 000 Cape Fur Seals - nature's own version of a "drive-thru" restaurant for the endangered Great White Shark! It is an unforgettable experience to watch these elegant predators of the ocean hunt and feed within touching range.
The entire Walker Bay area, between Gansbaai and Hermanus, is a whale sanctuary. One would battle to find better view points than the sheltered rocky bays between De Kelders and Pearly Beach to watch the maneuvers of the gigantic Southern Right Whales as they come within metres of the shoreline to mate, calve and play. These massive mammals seem to enjoy human attention and often follow the whale watching boats to get ‘up close and personal’ with their delighted audiences.
Gansbaai is also located at the Heart of the Fynbos Biome, the smallest Floral Kingdom in the world but also the richest.There are a number of conservancies and reserves in the area, including the acclaimed Grootbos Private Nature Reserve and Foundation, that protect these species. Organised hikes in the region allow one easy access to this kingdom of plants.
The rich and scenic region includes De Kelders with its historical caves, Perlemoenbaai, Gansbaai town, Kleinbaai, Franskraal, Uilenkraalsmond, Pearly Beach, as well as Masakhane, Blompark and Baardskeerdersbos. Along with the fishing industry, Gansbaai has grown into a bustling village and holiday resort with a number of popular restaurants, pubs and various rated guest houses. It has three primary schools and a high school, churches of various denominations and shops to provide for every need. Fishmongers are stocked with fresh catches daily. The town also boasts its own municipality, a busy industrial area, two harbours and three abalone farms.
Popular outdoor activities include a 4x4 obstacle course, various hiking trails through magnificent fynbos and milkwood forests, a golf course with sea views, cave exploring, kayaking, horse-riding, paintball, birding, swimming, fishing, township tours and more.
Whether you want adventure, leisure or romance, a more idyllic venue is hard to find. Come explore the beauty of a conserved coastline where ancient dunes, rocks and caves still guard the secrets of earlier inhabitants like the Khoisan and where endangered species such as the Oystercatcher, Great White Shark and Southern Right Whale still breed and feed in peace.
Sit back and relax with a glass of the best from the Overberg's vineyards and watch the whales frolic whilst the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean in an explosion of colours . . .