Cape Town - Gansbaai

Gansbaai Garden Route
South Africa


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

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 Harbour

Gansbaai Harbour

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

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.

© 2023 Turtle SA - All Rights Reserved