Great White Capital of the World

Gansbaai is a small unpretentious fishing village in the Overberg Region. This charming coastal town is one of the Western Cape’s little treasures only two hours from Cape Town and a mere half hour drive from Hermanus.

Gansbaai has grown into a popular tourist destination, popular for a number of water activities, not least of all, the shark cage diving on offer. It is known for its dense population of great white sharks and as a whale-watching location. Both Southern Right Whales and Great White Sharks frequent the Atlantic waters here and are a major draw card for the town. The entire Walker Bay area, between Gansbaai and Hermanus, is a whale sanctuary and the gentle giants of the Southern Ocean and can be sighted within metres of the shoreline where they come annually to mate and calve.

Just off Gansbaai is the breeding ground of the African Penguin, Dyer Island, while a second Island nearby, Geyser Island, is home to some 60 000 Cape Fur Seals. The stretch between these two Islands for obvious reasons attracts the Great White Sharks and is therefore known as “Shark Alley”.

The town, to a large extent, maintains the original fishing village life-style. Almost every local, regardless of their profession, is a fisherman and this tradition is what makes this small coastal town so unique and so pleasant to visit!

Gansbaai has some wonderful old taverns and restaurants and visitors may be surprised by the quantity and quality on offer. Visitors can choose to stay in a variety of B&B’s and Guesthouses or Country Homes as well as the local Inn. Gansbaai also has an abundance of self-catering apartments as well as a caravan and camping site.

Places to Visit

Things to do and see

  • Dyer Island Nature Reserve
  • Dyer Island Penguin Colony
  • Walker Bay Nature Reserve
  • Flower Valley Farm
  • Grootbos Nature Reserve
  • Baardskeerdersbos Art Route
  • African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary
  • Danger Point Lighthouse
  • Shark Cage Diving
  • Duiwelsgat Hiking Trail
  • The Perlemoen Trail
  • Fynbos Trail
  • Franskraal Beach
  • Pearly Beach
  • Klipgat Caves
  • Strandveld Museum


 Gansbaai receives approximately 408 mm of rain annually with the majority of its’ rainfall occurring during the winter months.

Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 16˚C and 27˚C.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 7˚C and 17˚C.


There are daily flights into Cape Town International Airport, 162&bnsp;km away via the N2 and R43. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.


The town of Gansbaai got its name from the wild Egyptian Geese (Gans) at a time when the species abounded in the area.

The town was discovered around 1881 when one Johannes Cornelius Wessels, happened upon the area as he travelled from Stanford. He was excited about finding the abundant fishing possibilities and freshwater spring near the old harbour. Word of his find spread and soon other families followed suit moving to the sheltered bay.

The infamous HMS Birkenhead met its end at Danger Point near Gansbaai. The wrecking, which resulted in the death of 445 men, gave origin to the ‘Women and Children First’ protocol now being used worldwide.

Created: ; Last updated: