Gansbaai is a fishing town and popular tourist destination in the Overberg District Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa. It is known for its dense population of great white sharks and as a whale-watching location.
Located on the West Coast Way Cape Way Route
Find Gansbaai on the West Coast Way Cape Way Route. If you drive around two hours south of Cape Town towards Cape Agulhas, you’ll end up in Gansbaai, a small fishing village known as the great white shark capital of the world. But don’t let this scare you off from the other offerings in the area, Gansbaai shouldn’t be just a one-stop destination — it’s full of things to discover. Locals describe the vicinity as a “natural adventure destination,” and rightly so. A love and respect for the ocean, forests and fynbos is a defining characteristic of this community. That love is so strong that the motto “PROTECTING YOUR BLUE AND GREEN” underpins everything they do. This working fishing village, strongly connected to the sea and home to unpretentious people was the 2015 Gold winner in the World Responsible Tourism Awards held at WTM London. This extract from the citation says it all. “Gansbaai created a destination with outstanding products, memorable experiences and brought local economic development and communal facilities to the local community. They have demonstrated what tourism can do to make better places to live in and great places to visit.”
Platbos is a mystical forest of ancient trees, some as old as 1000 years. Gentle paths meander through the trees leading to quiet contemplation and a beautiful labyrinth made from mother-of-pearl seashells.
“Discover and Protect” is the slogan of Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises, a company that offers ethical shark cage diving, and Eco Boat trips in search of the Marine Big 5, namely whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, and African penguins. The Great White House where they are based offers conservation education, a restaurant, accommodation and a gift shop.
At the African Penguin and Sea Bird Sanctuary you can view the penguins that are there for rehabilitation and maybe get a chance to speak to Xolani, the penguin whisperer.
There are numerous hikes and trails in the area, the most notable being Duiwelsgat Hiking Trail, a 7km path from Gansbaai Harbour along the coastal cliff paths of De Kelders to the important archaeological site of Klipgat Cave. The cave offers magnificent views of the ocean and has a fascinating history revealed by the stone artefacts, preserved bone tools and human remains left by Middle Stone Age people between 65’000 and 85’000 years ago. The Fynbos Trail in the Flower Valley is a two or three-night option and takes hikers through coastal and mountain fynbos, remote forests and visits some fascinating environmental and social projects along the way.
Horseback trails are also a great way to explore the beaches and paths of this area.
The Funky Fynbos Festival is held in September every year in a fabulous setting of pristine fynbos, lush valleys and marvellous views. The festival runs over a weekend and is a celebration of family fun in the fynbos. A trail run and mountain bike race, wine tastings, food, live music and stalls make for a great laid back weekend away.
Gansbaai has a variety of MTB Trails ranging from easy rides through vineyards and fynbos to the Fynbos Trail which includes highly technical black routes in the mountains with some steep climbs and fast descents.
Gansbaai located on the West Coast Way Cape Way Route
Open 7 Days a week
Distance from Cape Town: 162.9km
Contact: +27 (0)28 384 1439| [email protected]