Conservation is taken incredibly seriously in Gansbaai, with many locals and organisations doing their utmost to preserve the indigenous plants of the region and restore the vegetation to its original form. As a result, the Danger Point Peninsula and Walker Bay have become popular nature destinations, attracting thousands of tourists to stay in accommodation in Gansbaai every year. While it’s undeniably the public nature reserves where the success of the conservation efforts can be seen at their best, however you’ll also be able to notice them by simply driving through the region and will hear the passion that the locals have for the environment when speaking with them.
One of the first issues that were tackled in the conservation of the region was to remove all alien vegetation. This has been quite a challenge and will be a continuous effort for years to come. Locals and organisations will need to recognise these plants and make sure that they are pulled out effectively before they have time to compete with the indigenous plants for water, space and nutrients. This process is essential to the nurturing of indigenous plants, ensuring their protection from extinction. Next on the agenda is reforestation; planting fynbos in the areas which were previously home to alien vegetation or desolate. These efforts have been made on both private properties and in public nature reserves.
A fresh and unique approach to the sustainable use of natural resources in the region has been created by the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative. New standards have been set for picking flowers for the cut-flower trade, organic fertilisers and sound guns to chase hungry antelopes (in search of grazing) away are also being used. Roads are also being tarred in the hopes of creating a barrier for the spread of invasive vegetation, and in process, original water flows of rivers and swamps will be restored. And while the efforts can be clearly seen from land, they’re often being made at sea. Whale and marine biologists are working together to ensure that a 300m distance is kept from whales, that African penguins are protected and to ensure that no oil is leaked into the ocean.
The conservation attempts have attracted many tourists to the region, causing a boom an increase in demand for accommodation in Gansbaai. Visitors can go on guided day walks, tours and explore the beautiful, indigenous landscape for themselves while embarking on self-drive tours. While the flora and fauna are undeniably the region’s most popular characteristics, guests can also enjoy marine boat trips, can go shark cage diving, can explore the town’s quaint shops, restaurants and pubs, and can enjoy the luxury accommodation and facilities on offer. The conservation efforts of the locals have put Gansbaai on the flora map, making it a favorite local getaway destination and an astounding attraction for international visitors.