History Facts about Gansbaai

History Facts about Gansbaai

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Who would have thought that a small fishing village at the south coast of South Africa would end up having such an impact on the world? Known only by those living in the caves dotted around the Gansbaai coastline, the small town would later be discovered and grow into a thriving home for both big and small fish.

Now known for its prolific marine biodiversity, exceptional conservation efforts and various leisure activities, the town located on the edge of Walker Bay has become a popular holiday spot for both local and international travellers. With a rich history filled with legends and folk tales, Gansbaai has owned its title as the Town with a Great White Heart.

Here are 5 historical facts about Gansbaai:

1. Archaeological evidence found reveals that ancestors of modern man inhabited the area some 80,000 years ago as well as the Khoisan people around 2000 years ago.

2. 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.

3. 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.


Image courtesy of HD Photography

4. Legend tells that the town was named Gansegat after a flock of Eqyptian Geese that used to frequent the fountain in the old harbour. It was later changed to the more respectable Gansbaai.

5. The town received municipality status in the year 1963 and today it is a bustling town with much to offer in terms of leisure and excitement.

Stretching from De Kelders located next to Die Plaat all the way around the coastline to Pearly Beach, the town of Gansbaai has made quite the name for itself. Explore more of the tantalising tales of the History of Gansbaai and discover how far the town has come.

History Facts about Gansbaai

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