Gansbaai (Bay of Geese) is undoubtedly best known as being the Shark Cage Diving capital of the world when it comes to seeing Great Whites in their natural habitat.  Still, it’s hard to believe when you enter this tiny Overberg fishing village that it’s one of South Africa’s top tourist destinations after the Kruger National Park and major cities like Cape Town.  People from all over the globe come to face their fears, get their adrenalin fix or merely tick the Shark Cage experience off their Bucket List.  It’s definitely on mine and has been for some time – I’m just waiting for someone brave enough to do it with me!

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There is more to Gansbaai though, with its’ thriving fishing industry and harbour.

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There is also abundant coastal bird life, including the African Black Oystercatcher which is regarded by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “near threatened”.  This one was guarding a nest and chattered furiously at me and her mate as I photographed from a distance.


Not far off, I found Crowned Cormorants which are endemic to the cold Benguela Current.IMG_8664

This part of the southern Cape coastline is also home to the Cape Fur Seal although I didn’t see any on this visit.IMG_8632

If a shark encounter is a little too much for the nerves, take a boat trip to nearby islands Geyser Rock – home some to about 50 000 seals – or to Dyer Island, where Jackass Penguins, Gannets and Cape Cormorants vie for breeding turf.


7 thoughts on “Gansbaai

  1. The original name for Gansbaai is ‘Ganzegat’. It’s unfortunately also South Africa’s ‘Capital for the abalone (perlemoen) poaching industry’. During a police investigation (followed by a court case last year) it turned out that most of the ocean related tourist attractions are (partly) financed with money derived from the illegal abalone trade… For me the reason to avoid those attractions. Sorry. But your pictures are great!!! 😉


    • Thanks re the photos Herman. Yes, sadly Gansbaai has been synonymous with perlemoen poaching for as long as I can remember. Like ivory, rhino horn and drugs, as long as people buy them there will be illegal trade and who knows what else all these ill-gotten gains have funded? I see the moral dilemma, I just don’t have a perfect solution because for me the alternatives to seeing a Great White up close and personal – i.e. in an aquarium or by simply swimming across False Bay hoping for a quick look without being devoured – aren’t real options. I guess if operators have been named and shamed it makes it easier because you know who not to support?


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