Gansbaai and it's origin
- Author: Super User
- Sunday, 05 January 2014
- Cape Whale Coast History
HMS Birkenhead is one of South Africa's most famous shipwrecks. At 2 a.m. on the calm, clear night of 26 February 1852, she was wrecked on an uncharted reef off Danger Point, near Gansbaai – approximately 170 km (106 miles by road) east of Cape Town, South Africa. Tragically, there were eight lifeboats, but only three could be used. The soldiers famously stood fast, allowing the women and children to board safely. Of the Birkenhead’s approximately 643 passengers, only between 193 and 206 survived. READ MORE
Gansbaai is named after the Egyptian geese, home to many of them. Samson Dyers who lived on the Island that bears his name used it as a base to store his seal skins during 1807 to 1840. In 1881 Johannes Cornelis settled in Gansbaai to fish.
Cornelis Wessels is claimed to be the first, settled on this coastal stretch of the farm "Strandfontein" (Fountain on the beach). The center point was the freshwater fountain next to the present harbor which provided the small but successful community with drinking water. This fountain was home to wild geese and soon the place was known as "Gansgat" (goose-hole), later changed into the more respectable Gansbaai (Goose bay).
What to do and see?
- You will visit Klipgat Cave that dates from the Middle Stone Age and Late Stone age.
- Stanford cove where the passengers saved off the Birkenhead went to shore
- Danger Point Light House
- the Strandveld Museum
- the harbours
SJ du Toit