Gansbaai – Natural Richness in Abundance

Gansbaai. Where is that? – one might ask. Vaguely a TV News item concerning Abalone poaching, or something about sharks may be dredged up from the depths of one’s memory banks. Yes, unfortunately Abalone poaching is a problem on this stretch of coast of the Overberg – from Fisherhaven to Pearly beach and beyond. Sharks are also not in short supply, especially the notoriously deadly Great White variety which cruise the so-called shark alley at Dyer Island.

However, Gansbaai is more than just being a home to Abalone and sharks. It also has the honour of being the place where Homo Sapiens Sapiens (aka modern man) made his dwelling in Klipgat Cave more than 70 000 years ago when Neanderthal Man was still making news in Europe. Klipgat Cave is a very important historical site. The Khoi people thrived in this region.

Apart from that Gansbaai also has Danger Point, which is where the HMS Birkenhead troop ship went down in 1852. Welsh and Scottish soldiers were being transported to the Eastern Cape to fight the Xhosa when the ship hit a barely visible rock – now known as Birkenhead Rock – and sank. This is an important event in history because this was the first time that the protocol of Women and Children First was applied during a shipwreck. Apparently all the women and children were rescued, but most of the men perished.

More than 140 ships have been wrecked and many lives lost along this piece of coast between Danger Point and Cape Infanta. 

Danger Point lighthouse was built in 1895, and this provided more safety for ships. 

Today, Gansbaai’s economy is based mainly on the fishing industry, but the Sharks attract  a lot of researchers and film crews from around the world. Whale watching has also become very popular here as well.

The flowers were out in a joyous display as well. I could not help but notice that on this section of the coast the White Daisy is not so prominent as it is on the West Coast. Instead, there are beautifully vibrant Orange and Yellow daisies showing off their bright colours.

We drove up past Gansbaai and Pearly Beach towards Die Dam, which is a nicely appointed caravan park. It is very possible that we will try out this camping site in the near future.

On the way there we passed Walker Bay Reserve. There is a nominal entrance fee, and one can enter the reserve and drive around. We did not do this today as it was getting late. Maybe at a future date I will venture inside and snoop about. I did see the ramshackle dwellings at the entrance and had to photograph them. When seeing old broken down dwellings like this I always spare a thought for those who once lived there. Those houses were their dreams – their future. Someone loved, lived and perhaps died there. Who knows? Who remembers…?

On that poignant note, I will sign off. Thanks for reading this, and I hope you enjoy the photos.

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