Gansbaai Garden Route
Gansbaai's rugged coastline with its houses hugging the slopes
The country town of Hermanus is a very popular holiday destination
and many of our inland residents have built holiday houses in this town.
In this article however we will concentrate on Gansbaai
a smaller town about 40 kilometres east of Hermanus and which is
fast becoming another holiday destination for visitors
from the north (Gauteng)
To get to Gansbaai one has to drive over Sir Lowry's Pass,
which is one of the main passes through the Hottentots Holland
mountains to the east of Cape Town.
Once over the pass we pass by Grabouw which is the fruit
capital of the Western cape and where the main products
are apples and pears and of late grapes as well.
From Grabouw we travel along the N2 highway which takes you
along the Garden Route to the east.
We however turn off this highway and make our way to
Hermanus and travel on to Stanford and Gansbaai towns all situated on the
shores of Walkers Bay.
For anybody who has visited the area you will know that
Walker Bay is one of the bays frequented by the whales
that visit our coast every year.
Gansbaai also has its fair share of whales during the
season but is becoming better known for its diving activities.
It is in the area of Dyer island a couple of kilometres
off the coast of Gansbaai that people are flocking to
cage dive to see the Great White sharks that frequent the area.
Daily tours are organised by tour operators and anybody
who has the guts to get into a cage in the sea with a
Great White shark around will utilise their services.
Sitting at the departure point I was surprised at the numbers
of people who take the adventure tours to see the sharks.
The Kelders caves
Gansbaai has more to offer the visitor. The town is built on
the edge of the bay and has a number of cliff faces in which
there are caves which have been hollowed out by water and wave action.
These caves are called “ Die Kelders” The english translation
is “The Cellars.” The caves are not very big but have attracted
people to them for many years.
The sea around the edge of Gansbaai is full of kelp and is
the home of the rock lobster (crayfish) and the abelone.
It is along this coastline that abelone poaching is rife
and where the authorities are now taking action to prevent
the further rape of the resource.
Gansbaai also has a fishing harbour where deep sea trawlers
drop anchor and off load their catches to the fish
factories on the quay.
About five kilometres to the eastof Gansbaai we come
across the Danger Point Lighthouse.
The lighthouse was built in 1895 and the original
tower is still in use today.
Danger Point Lighthouse
The troopship Birkenhead sank off Danger Point in 1852
when it hit a submerged rock off the coast.
The lighthouse is now the site of the memorial to the
445 people who lost their lives in the disaster.
In the grounds ofthe lighthouse is a plaque on a table
setting out information about the Birkenhead.
In the centre of the table is a groove and if you look
down the groove you are able to see the site where the
ship went down out at sea.
Today however the lighthouse warns mariners of the dangers
of the rocks at its base. There are also some navigational
lights which mark the spot where the rock is situated.
The fishing in the seas around the lighthouse is good and
this is one area where sharks abound.
Next time you visit the area take some time out to
visit the lighthouse which is open to the public until 3.00pm daily.
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