The Great White Shark slackpacking trail, centred around South Africa’s famous Great White shark cage diving and whale watching capital of Hermanus / Gansbaai, consists of one to seven days hiking (with alternative longer/shorter routes and catered as well as self-catering options).
The trail provides fascinating insight into the area – famous for its shipwrecks and infamous for its Perlemoen (abalone) poaching! This is a trail for whale watchers, fynbos lovers and cultural enthusiasts with wide open beaches, intimate coves for swimming, sea cliffs with pounding waves and limestone caves.
- On Day 1 the trail hugs the coast from De Dam to Buffelsjag with the option of walking to the Ghost Town.
- On Day 2 the trail follows the beach to Franskraal to visit the museum and then back to Kleinbaai.
- Day 3 runs from Gansbaai, along the rocky coast, with its caves and excellent whale watching, to Die Plaat or take the shorter option of a short walk from Stanford’s Cove to De Plaat via the caves.
- Day 4 & 5 are extensions of the standard 3-day trail and is a combination of wide open beaches alternated with beautiful rocky coastline and historical memorabilia.
- Day 6 is the Harbour to Harbour walk from Gansbaai to Hermanus.
- Day 7 is a beautiful scenic route over the mountain
- Note: Days and trails may be interchangeable.
Additional days can be added with exciting activities, organised by Great White Shark Trails, like an Ocean Trip by rubber duck to view the thousands of seals around Dyer Island or an Inland Trip consisting of a guided walk through the renowned indigenous Platbos Milk wood forest as well as a quad bike or horse rides. Other options are cage diving, wine route, an abalone farm visit and many more ...
Itinary for our most popular 3 day trail may look like this:
Upon Arrival first afternoon
Book in, unpack and settle into your guesthouse. Shark Trails hiking information session will follow after which you will have supper at one of our local restaurants.
Hike through coastal fynbos, along rocky coasts, fascinating limestone and sandstone sea cliffs and outstretched sandy beaches, past Quoin Point lighthouse with lunch on the rocks at Buffelsjag. Encounter the legacy of the Flying Dutchman phantom ship (Ship in the Pirates of the Carribean - Dead man's Chest)' Decide whether you want to do the longer – extra 7km - option, over easy flat terrain along the coast, including the OtariMaru shipwreck to visit the sand-engulfed ‘Spookdorp’ and swim in the tidal pool. Meet local fisherman en route. After the hike recline at your guesthouse with a cold beer / cool drink before visiting one of the local pubs/restaurants for supper while mingling with the locals.
Follow the rocky coast and remote white sandy beaches along the ‘Gruis’ where there is ample opportunity to swim in rock pools or surf the waves. You are bound to see dolphins playing in the surf, seals scattering over rocky shores as well as the endangered Black Oyster Catcher (Swart Tobie) and multitudes of other sea birds. We visit the little Strandveld museum (optional) where you can listen to the tragic stories of the Birkenhead and other shipwrecks of days gone by as told by the writer SD Fourie and her husband Oom Jan "Pyp" Fourie. Walk back to your guesthouse. Have supper at yet another local restaurant before returning to your guesthouse for a well deserved rest.
Walk from the Gansbaai harbour all along the unsurpassed scenic beauty until you arrive at the De Kelders cliffs with its world class whale viewing. Visit easily accessible caves. Entering some of the caves is optional ... for the more adventurous. The views over the coast at Die Plaat are unparalleled. Visit intimate coves for swimming along the trail and experience massive breakers thundering against the sea cliff.
Day 4, 5, 6 and 7
Day 4 and 5 are extensions of the standard 3-day trail. On these days you will pass an old shipwreck and visit the renowned Danger Point lighthouse from where the location where the famous Birkenhead sunk, can be viewed. The trail is a combination of wide open beaches alternated with beautiful rocky coastline and historical memorabilia. Day 6 is a beautiful mountain walk through the fynbos with stunning views. Day 7 (our Harbour to Harbour Trail) is the famous Walker Bay trail from Gansbaai to Hermanus
One Day Options (accommodation and meals available on request:
5 Caves Trail - walk along the unsurpassed scenic beauty of the cliffs at De Kelders with its world class whale viewing. Entering some of the caves is optional ... for the more adventurous. The views over the coast at Die Plaat are unparalleled. Visit intimate coves for swimming along the trail and experience massive breakers thundering against the sea cliff.
Harbour to Harbour Trail - this area stretches along the coast from Gansbaai Harbour to Hermanus Harbour via the Hermanus Lagoon and the Walker Bay Nature Reserve. This 24 kmwalk hugs the coastline and there are several beaches and protected coves with a variety of mammals to be seen, such as the Cape clawless otter, bushbuck, duiker, and steenbok. Southern right whales can be spotted between August to November, and dolphins throughout the year.
Mountain Fynbos Walk - walk across the mountain crossing various private farms and conservancies. It has stunning views, very tough climbs with exhilarating, fast technical descents. The first climb is short and you have some lovely views over the dam before you start the first proper climb. This is a trail only for the very fit but it is worth the effort as you have views to Stanford, as well as over to Pearly Beach.
Two, three, four, five, six or seven days of the Great White Shark Trail, catered or self-catering packages
Do a 10 day trail which includes the Great White Shark Trail, Fynbos Trail, Grootbos Trail and various activities, catered or self-catering packages
Choose your own trail – decide which days you want to walk and speak to our office re prices and availability, catered or self-catering packages
Mix and match – run our running trail one day, cycle on our cycling trail the next day and walk on our hiking trail the third day …. catered or self-catering packages
In other words, you can do one of our popular trail packages or a tailor-made one, designed especially for you by you!
We also offer special geocaching trails, catered or self-catering packages – please contact our office for prices and availability
Great White Shark guides/field leaders will accompany groups
- Use trail at own risk
- Obey all traffic regulations
- Yield for pedestrians and horses
- Do not walk alone
- Route is for your enjoyment and that of others
- Great White Shark Trails permit holders ONLY
- Limited to no cell phone signal
- Stay on the route
- No litter / No Fires / No smoking / No shouting
- No Quads / Motorcycles / Vehicles on trail
- Farm vehicles and workers have right of way
- Hikers and horses have right of way
- Close all gates
**Self-catered accommodation implies own bedding, self catering, bunk beds, etc. and fully catered is staying in a fully catered B&B.
**If you agree and if there are more bookings on your preferred date, we can merge your group with others but unfortunately we cannot reduce the rate as you pay per person per booking.
**Please note that December and April prices might differ as accommodation prices are higher. If bookings for December and April holidays and Easter Weekend are done within 2 months of the trip, the sliding scale will not apply due to accommodation prices ie 10 people booking in November and December will pay the same as 1 or 2 people.
**These prices vary and a quotation and more detailed information will be given upon request