Gansbaai, the natural adventure destination, is home to the highest density of Great White Sharks in the world and from July to December, the temporary home for the Southern Right Whales, who come to our shore to mate, birth and raise their young. These two spectacular marine creatures draw visitors and film crews from all over the world.
Originally, and still, a vibrant fishing village, locals have a strong relationship with the sea and the harbor is still the point of gravity in town for fishing and boating. If you need a craftsman on the first day of the lobster season, forget about it, they are out fishing. In almost every drive-way in Gansbaai, you can see a trailer with a boat parked next to the family car.
In spite of the developing tourism industry, the fishing industry is still the economic heartbeat of Gansbaai. The fleet of fishing boats and the fish canning and fishmeal factory in the harbor employ a substantial number of people from local communities. It is a great point of interest as the fishing trawlers leave harbor to return later with their daily catch to unload into the factory or waiting trucks, providing a vibrant bustling atmosphere. It is little wonder and with gratitude that we sometimes have the smell of fish in the air as the factory fires up to process and package its produce to meet market demands. A number of Abalone farms provide another level of employment and income for the village, which produces and cans this traditional local culinary delight sought after in Asian countries.
The more rural areas of Gansbaai have nurtured and sustainably worked the fynbos and land to produce amazing wines, fynbos picked flower industries and a strong conservation ethic. Rustic wedding venues and accommodation have evolved for the eco-conscious traveler. Hiking trails, trail running routes and mountain bike routes are a major attraction if not a challenge in many cases.
“..this little town is able to offer some of the world’s best boat- and shore-based whale watching and unquestionably the world’s best white-shark diving. The sensational marine tourist attractions should not be the only things to lure you, however. Some of the Cape’s best-conserved fynbos adorns the mountains in the area and numerous walks and trails criss-cross it. The lighthouse at Danger Point is open to tourists, and you can climb the stairs to the revolving light and peer out at the restless waters that cover the remains of the famous Birkenhead wreck. After a week spent wandering the streets of Gansbaai and its surroundings, we can comfortably say that this, truly, is the gem of the Overberg.”
Cameron Ewart-Smith; Getaway Magazine March 2003