Gansbaai is not just another salty seaside South African town. Gansbaai is a special one; one that crawls under your skin, pours a cup of coffee for your heart and sits down for a chat with your soul.
I fell hook, line and sinker for Gansbaai with one sunset.
But there was more.
I got captivated by a cave, charmed by conservation, mesmerised by the marine life and inspired by passionate people.
And that was still just the salty surface of the special seaside South African town that won a responsible tourism award as the overall winner in Africa because “they have worked together to create a destination with outstanding product and memorable experiences, and have brought local economic development and communal facilities to the local community. They have demonstrated what tourism can do to make better places to live in and great places to visit.” (Source).
Gansbaai is truly a South African fairy tale of what responsible and sustainable tourism can look like when a community gets passionate about their town, nature and each other. And who better to tell the fairy tale of Gansbaai than Bloggerella?
If you are unfamiliar with Bloggerella, don’t worry, I often get confused too channeling this character. Every now and then Bloggerella appears to share a travel story that happened once upon a time in a land far far away with fairy dust, carriages, ghosts, goblins, heroes and happy endings. For the Gansbaai fairy tale she is in the company of a talking giraffe, or rather, the Roaming Giraffe (because every fairy tale needs a talking animal and every blogger needs another blogger).
Gansbaai, a South African Fairy Tale.
Once upon a time Bloggerella got into a carriage with a talking Roaming Giraffe and headed east, out of the Mother City. The rising moon led the way and guided them through a winding path to the Overberg where a magic carpet of Fynbos awaited their arrival.
The villagers of Gansbaai welcomed them with open arms and dazzled Bloggerella and the Roaming Giraffe with kindness at their humble guest abode, the Saxon Lodge, where the ocean view whispered salty secrets into the Cape Floral Kingdom.
As the day drew close to an end the sun glimmered over the horizon; in a matter of seconds the clouds danced in dramatic colours and shouted, “abracadabra”.
It took only one charming sunset to cast the explorers under Gansbaai’s spell forever.
They were cast under a spell of natural beauty, a spell of community and a spell of conservation.
The enthralling moon lit up the sky and sparkling stars filled the cosmos with sprinkles of fairy dust as the ocean lullabied the weary to sleep with next-day-promises of adventures, discoveries and precious future finds.
The next morning the travellers awoke, filled up on a magic caffeine potion and ventured out into Gansbaai in search of dynamic deeds and inspiring insights.
They stopped at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary where noble villagers took care of hungry, sick and abandoned marine birds that have been affected by the big, bad ugly wolf of plastic, oil spills and over-fishing. Recycling cages and fishing line bins filled the clean streets, no plastic straw policies stood loud and proud in bold letters on menus and social development cheered on the side. The explorers boarded an eco-tour with some of the guards and knights of marine conservation, Whalewatch SA. The ocean swirled, twirled and lifted its magic wand as it reigned in royal turquoise shades. Promises of adventures, discoveries and precious finds appeared from the depths of the water; dolphins, sharks, seals and penguins greeted with fins, feathers and fiery calls.
Bloggerella and the Roaming Giraffe dusted the salty sea spray from their cheeks and galloped inland where fairies fluttered and frolicked in the forest of Platbos, an indigenous dream with trees and trails. Platbos stretched its arms out and embraced the explorers with gracious greens and mythical mossy moments.
They returned to the main village in a dream-like state and traversed up a hill and down a cliff for another otherworldly Overberg experience. As a final wave and a last goodbye they hopped and skipped over rocks to the caves at De Kelders for one more sunset, one more spell and one more sway of the magical wand. In awe they stood of the ancient limestone windows and wonders as the folk tales of the KhoiKhoi echoed memories of millenniums through the Klipgate cave; one more splash, one more spell and one more ocean whisper.
And as their final night in the village whisked them away to a pillow of tranquility the Gansbaai crystal ball appeared with a vision, a message and a promise: “I’ve got you now, I’ve got you forever. You’ll be back Bloggerella, you’ll be back Roaming Giraffe and we’ll all travel happily ever after”.
Things to do in Gansbaai
(Hint hint, there is MORE than shark cage diving).
- African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary
- Whalewatch SA for Boat Tours
- A visit to De Kelders and Klipgat Cave
You can also have a look at other activities, such as:
- Fatbike Tours
- Hiking Trails
- Gansbaai Golf Club
- Lomond Wine Estate
- Panthera Africa
Where to Stay in Gansbaai
Where to Eat in Gansbaai
- Oppidek Pub and Bistro
To read more from Gansbaai Tourism, click here.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Saxon Lodge and Whalewatch SA and all opinions expressed or my own.