Whether you’re after adventure, are a wine lover, or want to recharge by communing with nature, Gansbaai has something for you. Plunge into the ocean in a steel cage to look at sharks, spot whales from a small plane high above, or wander on the beach collecting shells and letting the waves lap at your feet. For all this and everything in between, here are some ideas of how to spend your days at Crayfish Lodge.
Just off the Gansbaai coast, Dyer Island and neighbouring Geyser Rock are home to thousands of marine birds, Jackass penguins and Cape Fur seals. The channel between the two islands, known as “Shark Alley”, is one of the best places in the world to observe, encounter and dive with Great White sharks feasting on their primary food source.
Gansbaai’s local boat operators offer Great White Shark experiences that let you get up close and personal with these mysterious and vastly misunderstood creatures. At Crayfish Lodge, we only use operators using ethical marine practices that work in harmony with the environment.
Walker Bay is one of the best Southern Right whale watching sites in the world. From June until December, you can observe these peaceful giants from scenic cliff paths nearby Crayfish Lodge, or even from your own private balcony.
Besides seeing them from land, you can also book a cruise with a local whale-watching boat. And if you want the best viewing possible, book an exclusive flight with our commercial pilot and his four-seater Cessna to see the whales from a completely different angle. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we’d highly recommend.
One of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of the Gansbaai coastline is to see it from offshore. Book a boat cruise or a kayak trip in De Kelders that will take you onto the open sea, or go on a guided kayaking tour that launches from nearby Hermanus.
For something a bit more serene, the nearby town of Stanford offers boat cruises on the River Klein, which makes for a perfect way to spend a relaxed morning or afternoon.
Although the Overberg is smaller than other Cape wine producing regions like Stellenbosch or Franschoek, the cooler climate provides excellent conditions for producing Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Spend the day discovering the wines of quality local producers at nearby estates like RAKA, Springfontein and Black Oystercatcher, or slightly further afield at places like Hamilton Russell, Newton Johnson and Bouchard Finlayson.
If you’re a beer lover, sample the artisan beers at the Birkenhead Brewery, and for the perfect accompaniment, stop in for a tasting and picnic lunch at the Kleinriver Cheese Farm. Or, sample brandy and grappa at the Sir Robert Stanford Estate in nearby Stanford.
If you’re staying at Crayfish Lodge, take a trip to Cape Agulhas, the southern-most tip of Africa, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Nearby Struisbaai has a scenic harbour – where you can even spot manta rays – and a gorgeous beach, and the fishing town of Arniston has unique fishing huts and breathtaking cliffside views. There’s also fishing at the Stanford lagoon, in Hermanus, or right off the rocks below the Lodge.
Inland, you have just as many choices. Take an off road trail in your own 4x4 on a private farm up into the Overberg, or take a hike in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve. Alternatively, go horseriding in the nerby nature reserves or on the beach if you’re an experienced rider. You can also go paragliding in the area, or visit the hot springs at Caledon. And if you’re in the mood for entertainment, try your luck at the Caledon Casino.
For some of the most remarkable views of the Gansbaai area, a scenic flight is an experience you won’t soon forget. Marvel at the ancient fish traps and ship wrecks along the coast down to Cape Agulhas from above while experiencing the thrill of flying on a four-seater Cessna plane. If you’re here at the right time of the year, whale watching in this way is particularly special. From the air above, you’ll be able to see numerous whales, single bulls, mothers with their calves, and of course, Great White sharks.
Fynbos vegetation in Walker Bay forms part of the Cape Floral Region, the world’s smallest but richest floral kingdom with 8500 endemic higher plant species – as well as 15 endemic mammals, 43 reptiles and 23 amphibians. The area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.
The best way to experience this plant paradise is on a mountain hiking trail in the nearby Fernkloof Nature Reserve. Choose a hike to suit your abilities – from leisurely to challenging – and discover the symbiosis between birds, mammals, insects and plants in the area. Or, soak up this diversity on a beach walk to appreciate the rugged coastline.
Besides the activities listed above, there’s even more to choose from to fill your days while staying at Crayfish Lodge. Go horse riding either in the nearby Fernkloof reserve, or on the beach if you’re a more advanced rider. For something more adrenalin-fuelled, spend the morning quad biking or even paragliding.
There’s also plenty to see in terms of wildlife: you could visit the Penguin Sanctuary or Panthera Africa, the big cat sanctuary located in Stanford. Or, to brush up on local history, take a trip to see the Danger Point Lighthouse on the southern point of Gansbaai. No matter who you are or how you travel, Gansbaai will have an experience you’ll love.