Gansbaai


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Off the beaten track with great whites and whales


Gansbaai is the Whale Coast’s shark cage-diving capital – great white sharks patrol the dark waters, fins slicing the surface, as they circle the two wayward chunks of land just offshore. These predators share the waters with another of the ocean’s giants: the southern right whale. The whales migrate to the shelter of the bay to mate and calve, at times coming within metres of the shore.

Dyer Island is the breeding ground of African penguins, cormorants, and other seabirds, while Geyser Island houses around 60,000 Cape fur seals. The two islands create a passage known as shark alley, which is a favoured hunting ground for great white sharks. Apart from the rich marine life, some of the Cape’s prolific fynbos adorns the area – forming part of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Hiking trails and paths criss-cross through the landscape, passing picturesque spots ideal for swimming and angling.

Danger Point lighthouse stands resolute, casting its revolving light out to the restless waters that cover the remains of the Birkenhead wreck. This red-topped lighthouse has been warning sailors off Gansbaai’s treacherous coast since 1895 but the shattered remains of seven sunken ships are still littered across the ocean floor, hidden beneath the surface of foaming waters.

 

Highlights

  • Great white sharks patrol the waters and circle the two islands just offshore, owning to Gansbaai’s title of shark cage-diving central
  •  The southern right whales migrate to the shelter of the bay to mate and calve • Dyer Island is a breeding ground for African penguin, cormorant, and other seabirds, while Geyser Island houses around 60,000 Cape fur seals
  • The area is dotted with fynbos-strewn hiking trails and mountain bike paths
  • Danger Point lighthouse has been warning sailors off the treacherous rocks since 1895

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