Gansbaai developed around a fresh water fountain frequented by wild geese. Later a harbour was built around the fountain and a (now abolished) whaling station was erected in De Kelders, just outside of town. Gansbaai is an unpretentious fishing town. The harbour, where the fishing boats come and go and the fishmeal-factory now and than creates the typical “Gansbaai-smell”, is still the active centre-point of Gansbaai. Gansbaai itself is the centre-point of Dangerpoint Peninsula. This is where you get your petrol, find the banks, the shops and medical assistance.
The hinterland of Danger-Point-Peninsula is a mosaic of different habitats of the remarkable Cape Floral Kingdom ("fynbos"), ancient indigenous forest, agricultural lands, vineyards, flower-farms and rural communities. Many of these places can be visited. Experienced guides are available to take you to the highest mountain peaks or the deepest riverine gorges. Though there are many nature parks and reserves in the greater area, several animals, amongst which 6 antelope species, roam freely and the abundance of different bird species is due to a plethora of different landscapes.
The small seaside village of Franskraal has one of the quaintest museums in the country. An original "Strandveld-house" immediately on the sea harbors a special collection about the history of the area.
Baardskeerdersbos can easily be missed when passing this rural hamlet on the road from Gansbaai to Elim; it has only a small number of houses. It has however a magnificent position in the Boesmansriver-valley nestled in between fynbos-clad hills.
The neighboring village of Elim is an old Moravian mission station, established to function as a refuge for Khoi-people (the indigenous inhabitants of the Western Cape) in the 18th century. Visiting Elim is almost a time travel to the 19th century. There is a monumental church, a working water-mill and the only monument to celebrate the abolition of slavery in South Africa.
Shark-diving boats and whale-watching boats leave from the small harbour of Kleinbaai, a coastal village on Danger-Point-Peninsula, to the best spots to see the whales or find the sharks or –onwards- to the Dyer-Island-Group, which rocks are covered with thousands of Cape fur seals and African penguins and numerous other birds. If boats are not your thing, you are a lucky person. Several easy-to-reach spots along the shores of Danger-Point-Peninsula are famous for the southern right whales hanging out, frolicking and mating just a few metres from land.
Recommended boat operators
Klipgat Trail is a hiking trail between Gansbaai and the Walker Bay Nature Reserve, meandering around the rocks, coves and caves of this rugged coast of "De Kelders". The trail is also the best place to see Southern Right Whales just a few meters from the shore between August and December.
In the hinterland of Gansbaai, guided botanical walks through pristine "fynbos" (the indigenous and colorful vegetation of the unique Cape Floral Kingdom)are offered in the private nature reserves of Heidehof and farm 215 nature retreat.
The shores on the eastern side of Danger Point exist out of endless and undisturbed sand-beaches, inviting for long and refreshing walks. These beaches are home to the endangered Black oyster catcher, Cape clawless otter and various other creatures.
4x4 trails with a clear emphasis on the local nature (fynbos and indigenous forest) are organised in the Franskraal Mountains, accumulating with a rest on the "Aasvoelkop" (Vulture-peak) with stunning views over the Agulhas Plains and the Uilkraals-estuary.
Gansbaai is a working fishing town and the local restaurants serve a lot of fresh fish. Gansbaai is also crayfish town, of which there is plenty to enjoy during the crayfish season. Gansbaai is also famous for its Perlemoen (Abelone). It is a threatened shellfish and locally considered as a culinary delight, though some people might argue it is an acquired taste. The neighbouring Victorian village of Stanford has a few very good restaurants.
There are various places in Main street in Gansbaai, but one could also have a sunset-drink overlooking the harbour watching the fishing boats come home or on top of the cliffs in De Kelders watching the whales prepare for the night.
The Danger Point Peninsula area has strangely enough not developed a vast tourism infrastructure. There are no hotels or resorts and - contrary to Hermanus on the other side of Walker Bay - the total amount of beds in the area is restricted. Yet there are some lodges, guesthouse and nature reserves, spread around Gansbaai, offering comfortable to luxury accommodation.