Looking back on 13 years…
About The Roundhouse
It was December 2000 when Dave & Elna Caravias decided to start their business adventure in Gansbaai, South Africa with the design and the building of The Roundhouse Guesthouse. During the build the house quickly became known to locals as Roundhouse and for obvious reasons that name stuck. The building was a huge attraction to the locals as it is so different and is still the most photographed building in the area. We still get locals regularly that just want to walk through the house and see how practical this Roundhouse actually is inside. Elna’s father was the builder behind this project making this one of his last houses before retiring to his farm in Napier. In this modern African house you will find many things that have been hand made by Dave and Elna such as the unique thatched doors and cabinets throughout the kitchen and rooms as well as the rope woven luggage racks and more.
After a few months of operating The Roundhouse Guesthouse as a running B&B we decided to expand our company into the ever growing diving and travel industry of South Africa and particularly Gansbaai and this saw the birth of Sharkbookings.com. This has definitely been my baby as I nurtured this company from a self-built 12 page website to the world class booking service.
To summarise, www.sharkbookings.com is a dive specialist for shark diving country wide as well as international destinations. This newly re-launched website will see Sharkbookings.com expanding into many new destinations worldwide covering Sharks and Rays. Sharkbookings acts as a central website and booking office where clients can browse and easily learn about the facts of the , Sharks, Shark Diving Companies and Shark Diving trips without having to read through website upon website trying to extract the best information and choose the best boat and trip for their needs. All of the information is in 1 place and easy to access and browse to see the differences between the experiences.
The booking process has been refined and it is now extremely easy and fast to book the shark dive or package you wish through our service. There is no false advertising and all of the information is streamlined, verified and personal to give you the end user an informative and accurate account of the experience or company. I am passionate about sharks and quality diving with big animals and I want everyone to get the best from their experiences as I have done in the past. The first ‘diving’ experience was the Great White Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaai in 2000.
It was on an old rickety small wooden boat dubbed by some as ‘the master of disaster’. The cage was a thin wire round cage where at the most 2 divers could squeeze in at the same time. I sat on the wooden roof of the cabin and balanced as the boat swayed in the swell. That day I saw 8 sharks and even had the nose of the Great White inside the cage. Back then the industry was very young and small and the biggest boats took 8 people maximum and there were only 5 operators.
This experience was very special to me as I had been obsessed with sharks since a little boy thanks to the film Jaws. Meeting the Great White Shark face to face was an inspiring moment and never to be forgotten. I met Elna that day and we started dating. Soon we started working on travel packages to give people the same excellent experience with the Great White shark as well as designing the Roundhouse Guesthouse as our base.
Thanks to the film Jaws Great White Sharks are now admired (but also feared) and they are on the wanted list to view and photograph for 60,000+ tourists a year. This has developed into a huge industry now with 8 licensed operators in Gansbaai and 3 in False Bay and there is rarely a day when an operator does not go out due to lack of bookings. Great White Shark Cage Diving is the second most popular wildlife activity in South Africa after the Big 5 and as anyone can do this then this is definitely an activity which should not be missed when visiting this beautiful country.
Shark Alley Dive & Travel
In 2005 Elna opened Shark Alley Dive and Travel Centre in the Super Spar centre in Gansbaai. Elna fondly remembers opening the shop with a few white t-shirts and some postcards on the counter. The shop quickly grew as locals brought in their arts and crafts to sell, all with a shark on of course, and Shark Alley expanded with a travel desk. You could book bus tickets and flights here as well as a holiday to Mauritius if you wanted to. Soon she realised that the travel market in Gansbaai is not ready and so she shifted her focus to a Mozambique which was a travel market that was ready. Shark Alley then developed Scuba Mozambique which at first sent weekenders to a small bay in Mozambique for a few days diving but soon Scuba Mozambique grew into a world class dive travel specialist that books and arranges dive holidays for groups as small as 1 and as large as 25+.
Dave and Elna visit Mozambique regularly as they often do site inspections on location to ensure that their clients get top notch service but sometimes they also go to assist some of their large dive groups that they host annually. Currently Scuba Mozambique works with 50+ dive centres and accommodation resorts throughout the entire Mozambique. Scuba Mozambique is a proud package supplier to large South African companies such as Thompsons, Siyabona Africa and Flight Centre as well as many overseas agencies and dive clubs. We also pride ourselves in being available for all of our clients at all times from our individual travellers to our large dive groups that wish to see and dive in Mozambique. Have a look at www.scubamozambique.com for more information.
Great White Adventure Centre
In 2008 Dave and Elna started their most visible project yet; The Great White Adventure Centre at 1 Main Road in Gansbaai town. This is the first and most noticeable building in town as you drive in and acts as a tourist booking office for Shark Cage Diving and other activities. When this private booking and information centre became established they decided to close Shark Alley in the Super Spar centre. When a tourist walks into The Great White Adventure Centre they can book accommodation, a shark dive or whale watching trip, get a restaurant referral and come away with a positive feel of Gansbaai. The outside of the building is an attraction to tourists and film crews alike. The breaching Great White Shark photo on the building and the text “Welcome to Gansbaai, Capital of the Great White Shark” has been featured on many international documentaries.
Kayaking with Whales
With the opening of the Great White Adventure Centre Dave & Elna decided to set up an activity centre to try to draw more people to stay in Gansbaai. They bought 10 Kayaks and a 10 seater Landrover Game Viewer and started to run Eco trips for tourists. These experiences will always remain with them as the Kayaking trips were world class and there is nowhere else in the world where you can kayak around the coast amongst Whales and Calves stop at a seal colony and do your own private tour of historic caves where you actually swim in crystal clear mineral water pools. The mountain trips were also spectacular with amazing views and wildlife. Unfortunately due to lack of support by the local tourism bureau and local Guesthouses we closed this business and sold the Kayaks and Landrover.
Shark Alley Photo
In 2010 Shark Alley merchandise and souvenir shop was re-launched in Kleinbaai harbour. Shark Alley can proudly say that it has the largest selection of white shark merchandise in the world. Tourists from all over the world walk away with caps, T-shirts, Fleeces or Jackets proudly displaying the SA flag and the words “Gansbaai, Shark Diver” on them. Even in Cape Town you will sometimes notice people driving past you with a Gansbaai bumper sticker on the back of their car; purchased in Shark Alley of course. It is our goal to expose Gansbaai and promote this stunning place to the world.
Lean on Me
2013 Saw the launch of Elna’s new business Lean on Me. She decided to go in a direction which she was passionate about and that is weight and lifestyle management as well as inner wellbeing. Lean on Me has been a real hit and she now also has an office in Hermanus offering her services. Lean on Me uses the most modern technology for weight loss and fat reduction. With the use of Lipo Lasers you are able to now loose inches from your waistline without exerting any effort. Many of the clients are so relaxed that they fall asleep whilst they are shedding cm’s off their waistlines. With the new addition of a machine for skin tightening, tattoo removal, spot removal and a large range of other fantastic treatments she is extremely busy. www.leanlaserlipo.co.za
Gansbaai Bed & Breakfast
Rated the best shark diving accommodation place in Gansbaai, the Roundhouse is part of a total tourist experience. We offer Gansbaai accommodation and bed & breakfast facilities in the undisputed best place in the world for Land Based Whale watching and shark cage diving. This the perfect spot for a stay over when embarking on one of the famous shark cage diving excursions in the area.
The guesthouse is situated in de Kelders, which is the prime land based whale watching area in the world for Southern Right Whales.
The Roundhouse is a three story high round building with a thatched roof. The house has a very modern African feel to it and every care has been taken to assure your complete relaxation and comfort rated 4* but with many 5* finishes.
The house has unique features such as a big projector screen television in the bar area and free wireless hotspot internet connectivity throughout the house. This is excellent for anyone from conferences to movie buffs! The suites, which consist of a bedroom, living room and bathroom, have all the little extras such as microwave, toaster, coffee / tea facilities, bar fridge, Television, DVD player, Stereo, Hairdryer, Sewing Kit, First Aid kit, Toiletries and more.
Our breakfast menu includes delicious meals such as a full English breakfast, pancakes, health breakfast and the ever popular continental. We offer room service every day and offer laundry services if wished. For families, we offer a beautiful 6 sleeper self catering cottage just opposite The Roundhouse.
Please note that you have a stunning sea view from the top floor but all of our rooms except 1 are on the ground floor. Our new suite the Carcharias Suite will be up and running in June and has great views form the first floor. You are welcome in the lounge area upstairs at any time... After a long day out, sit on the balcony with a glass of Wine enjoy the sunset and stunning views over the bay..
The Heart of Tourism
The owners of The Roundhouse are heavily involved with the tourism industry owning the local tourist booking centre in Gansbaai itself called The Great White Adventure Centre. This means that we can professionally and easily assist you in booking any type of activity during your stay here and take all of the hassle out of your holiday.* For the shark diving clients we would suggest that you book this with us in advance.