Despite its rise in popularity the unpretentious village of Gansbaai remains a fishing village at heart - much to the delight of residents and visitors alike.
Gansbaai was "discovered" in the late 1880's by a Stanford fisherman, and is named for the colony of Egyptian geese which used to nest there - while we cannot determine whether this is the real story or not, it really doesn’t matter as this town has a big reputation as the perfect coastal getaway.
Its ideal location between Hermanus and Pearly Beach, Gansbaai lies in Walker Bay at the foot of the Dynefontein Mountains with breathtaking views and abundance of fynbos along the coastline.
Both Southern Right Whales and Great White Sharks frequent the Atlantic waters of the Danger Point Peninsula and are a major draw card for the town. It may be famous as the white shark capital of the world, but the small town of Gansbaai in the Western Cape's Overberg region has a lot more to offer than toothy fish.
The entire Walker Bay area, between Gansbaai and Hermanus, is a whale sanctuary and the gentle giants of the southern ocean, the Southern Right Whale, can be sighted within metres of the shoreline where they come annually to mate and calve.
Gansbaai lies in the heart of the fynbos biome, which is home to thousands of plant species, a number of which are some of the rarest on earth. There are a number of conservancies and reserves in the area that protect these species and organised hikes in the region allow one easy access to this kingdom of plants.
Gansbaai is ideal for those seeking an active outdoor lifestyle, with numerous opportunities for divers, fishing and boating enthusiasts, as well as bird-watchers, who will be entranced by the nearby Dyer Island with its penguin breeding colony. Geyer Island is home to a seal colony which attracts the great white sharks for which the town is world-famous, and there are several nearby nature reserves, including the Grootbos Nature Reserve with over 1000 hectares of pristine fynbos. Another attraction is the Klipgat Cave, which boasts the remains of both Stone Age man and San pottery. An ancient Milkwood forest graces the area, and there are numerous hikes, 4x4 trails and opportunities for horse-riding. Gansbaai's harbour is home to an active fish factory, and visitors can buy the freshest seafood straight off the boats. The Danger Point lighthouse is also open to the public, offering spectacular views over the rugged coastline which has claimed many ships, most famously the Birkenhead.
Residents in Gansbaai boasts that everyone in town is fisherman despite their profession and as the popular Afrikaans song asks - “wie maak vir Gansbaai lekker?” - who makes Gansbaai such a wonderful place? The answer would be a resounding “the locals!”