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Gansbaai Snapshot

For a town synonymous with adrenaline and the great white shark, Gansbaai is a tad desolate. Not that this has stopped migrating Gautengers from buying homes and setting up shop – over the past few years, the number of businesses has exploded, the local council has employed its first traffic cops, and come Sunday the NG Kerk is so jam-packed you can’t see the dominee. While Gansbaai itself may be nondescript, the jagged coastline extending from De Kelders to Pearly Beach has both beauty and a haunting past. It is a long, fairly undeveloped stretch of coastal fynbos, rocky coves, abundant marine life, facebrick holiday homes and sad shipwrecks.

Things To Do

  • Visit Danger Point Lighthouse and spare a thought for the many lives lost along this brutal coastline. At low tide, the infamous Birkenhead Rock stands visible a kilometre or so out to sea – Nature giving Man the symbolic middle finger?
  • For safe swimming, Stanford’s Cove, Pearly Beach and Uilenskraalmond are the best options. Pearly Beach, in particular, is made for long walks.
  • Locals will argue that Gansbaai has more whales than Hermanus. The best place and time to prove this is on the rocky cliffs above De Kelders, from June to November.
  • De Kelders is also famous for its caves, where Stone Age archaeological deposits have been discovered.
  • Q: What has two legs and an arm? A: A Gansbaai great white. Hee, hee! You too can pay to be human bait on a great white shark tour to Dyers Island. En route to “Shark Alley”, you will have the opportunity to see Jackass penguins, Cape fur seals, a diverse bird population and your life, pass before you. Actually, if truth be told, shark diving is a low risk activity and a unique opportunity to get a close-up view of these fascinating creatures from the safety of a reinforced steel cage. Google Gansbaai Tourism to put you in touch with one of several operators vying for your custom.
  • The Duiwelsgat hiking trail is a pleasant 7km coastal meander between Gansbaai and De Kelders.
  • We hear that Gansbaai has been trying to break away from its image as a great white macho hangout, and ex-shark operators might soon be kneeling in heather explaining the botanical intricacies of cross-pollination. Watch this space…
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