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Gansbaai Accommodation

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Gansbaai, or "goose bay" is a little fishing village at the foot of the Dynefontein Mountains. Renowned as the "big two" town, Gansbaai is where both Great White Sharks and Southern Right Whales are found in large numbers, east and west of the Danger Point Peninsula respectively.

The sea bird breeding colonies on Dyer Island and the Cape fur seals on Geyser Island attract sharks to the channel between, now known as "shark alley". July to December sees the annual return of the Southern Right Whale to the waters around Gansbaai to mate and calve. Boats may enter either area only with a permit and conservation is of prime importance.

This unpretentious town was named after the wild geese that frequented the freshwater fountain next to the present harbour in Gansbaai. Gansbaai is also in the heart of the Fynbos biome, home to thousands of plant-species, many of which are some of the rarest on earth. Most of the area is protected in conservancies and reserves but there are organised hikes in the region.

Gansbaai, located in the Overberg/Whale Coast region of the Western Cape, South Africa, is renowned for its rich marine life, stunning coastal scenery, and outdoor adventures.

Here are five things to see and do in and around Gansbaai:

  1. Shark Cage Diving:
    Great White Sharks: Gansbaai is famously known as one of the best places in the world to experience shark cage diving with great white sharks. Several operators offer safe and thrilling shark cage diving excursions where you can get up close with these magnificent predators in their natural habitat.
    Marine Big 5: Besides sharks, Gansbaai waters are home to the Marine Big 5: whales, sharks, dolphins, seals, and penguins. A boat tour might give you the chance to see all five species.

  2. Dyer Island and Marine Eco-Tours:
    Penguin Sanctuary: Visit the Dyer Island Penguin Sanctuary, which rehabilitates and rescues injured and sick African penguins. Learn about the conservation efforts and the importance of protecting this endangered species.
    Seal Colony: Take a boat trip to Dyer Island and Geyser Rock, home to a large colony of Cape fur seals. The nearby waters are also great for spotting dolphins and, during the right season, whales.

  3. Walker Bay Nature Reserve:
    Hiking Trails: Explore the scenic hiking trails in Walker Bay Nature Reserve. The Klipgat Trail leads to the Klipgat Cave, an important archaeological site with stunning views over Walker Bay.
    Whale Watching: During the whale-watching season (June to November), Walker Bay is an excellent spot to observe southern right whales breaching and frolicking close to shore.

  4. Danger Point Lighthouse:
    Historic Lighthouse: Visit the Danger Point Lighthouse, built in 1895. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the rugged coastline and learn about the history of shipwrecks in the area, including the famous Birkenhead wreck.
    Scenic Views: The lighthouse offers spectacular vistas of the ocean and surrounding landscapes, making it a great spot for photography.

  5. Platbos Forest:
    Ancient Forest: Discover the Platbos Forest, an ancient indigenous forest located just a short drive from Gansbaai. Wander through the forest's tranquil trails, surrounded by a diverse array of trees, plants, and birdlife.
    Nature Walks and Tours: Join guided tours to learn about the unique flora and fauna of Platbos, or explore on your own. The forest provides a serene environment for meditation and nature appreciation.

These attractions offer a mix of adventure, natural beauty, and educational experiences in and around Gansbaai, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts in the Overberg/Whale Coast region.

More on shark cage diving:

Shark cage diving in Gansbaai is a thrilling and unique experience that attracts adventurers and marine enthusiasts from around the world. Here’s an overview of what you can expect and some important details about shark cage diving in Gansbaai:


  • Location: Gansbaai, often referred to as the Great White Shark capital of the world, is situated on the Overberg coast of the Western Cape, South Africa.
  • Main Attraction: The primary attraction is the opportunity to see great white sharks up close from the safety of a cage submerged in their natural habitat.

Key Details:

  1. Tour Operators:
    Marine Dynamics: A well-known operator offering cage diving experiences with a focus on conservation and education. They provide informative briefings and excellent customer service.
    White Shark Projects: Another reputable operator that provides a thrilling and educational experience. They also focus on shark conservation and research.
    Shark Lady Adventures: Offers professional cage diving tours with experienced guides and a strong emphasis on safety and environmental responsibility.

  2. The Experience:
    Departure Point: Most tours depart from Kleinbaai Harbour, a short distance from Gansbaai.
    Boat Ride: The boat ride to the diving site, typically near Dyer Island, takes about 15-20 minutes. During the ride, guides provide an overview of the trip, safety instructions, and information about the sharks.
    The Cage: The cage is attached to the side of the boat. Participants enter the cage, which is partially submerged in the water, and view the sharks through the bars. No diving experience is necessary as you will be using a snorkel.
    Shark Viewing: Great white sharks are attracted to the boat using a chum mixture. Once they are in the vicinity, they often come very close to the cage, providing incredible viewing opportunities.

  3. Safety:
    Safety Briefing: Before entering the water, participants receive a thorough safety briefing. Operators ensure that all equipment is in excellent condition and that all safety protocols are followed.
    Professional Guides: Experienced guides and marine biologists are typically on board to ensure the safety of all participants and to provide educational insights about the sharks and the marine ecosystem.

  4. Best Time to Visit:
    Peak Season: The best time for shark cage diving in Gansbaai is from April to September when shark activity is at its highest. However, sharks can be seen year-round.
    Whale Watching: If you visit between June and November, you might also catch sight of southern right whales in the area.

  5. Conservation and Education:
    Research Contribution: Many of the operators are involved in shark research and conservation efforts. By participating in a shark cage diving tour, you are often supporting these important initiatives.
    Educational Component: Tours typically include an educational component, where you can learn about shark behavior, biology, and the importance of conservation efforts.

What to Bring:

  • Warm Clothing: The weather can be cool and windy, especially on the water. Bring warm clothing, even in the summer.
  • Swimwear: Wear your swimwear under your clothes. Wetsuits are provided by the tour operators.
  • Sunscreen and Hat: Protect yourself from the sun while on the boat.
  • Camera: An underwater camera or a waterproof case for your phone can help you capture incredible moments.

Shark cage diving in Gansbaai offers an unforgettable experience, combining adventure with education and conservation. It's an excellent way to gain a deeper appreciation for one of the ocean's most fascinating and misunderstood predators.





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Gansbaai Accommodation, Overberg / Whale Coast
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