Have you ever seen a great white shark fly? In Gansbaai, you can. Hit the road for an up close and personal experience of the marine Big Five. Whales, sharks, dolphins, seals, and penguins make up the aquatic quintet, and all of them can be spotted from this fishing town.

GO: From Cape Town, journey along the N2 on the Western Cape coastline. Charter a sea safari, take your seasickness pills, and head for the blue beyond. Off the coast of Gansbaai and past Danger Point, a fascinating ecosystem of creatures awaits.

SEE: Dyer Island hosts an African penguin colony consisting of 13 500 pairs. The population has been severely reduced from 140 000 as a result of their guano being stripped for use as agricultural fertiliser. This exposes penguins and their nests to predators and the elements. However, their numbers are on the rise thanks to the work of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.

Two hundred metres away, 60 000 playful Cape fur seals frolic on Geyser Island. Between these two islands, great white sharks cruise along Shark Alley. Gansbaai is the great white shark capital of the world, and one of the few places where you can cage dive to see these toothy submarines.

DO: Five kilometres from Gansbaai, trace the beginnings of civilisation at De Kelders, a tiny village that’s home to archaeological wonders. Make your way down jagged cliffs and clamber through a warren of sea-soaked tunnels. Through the gloom, come out into the panoramic Klipgat Cave, where artefacts, bowls, and tools from the Stone Age were uncovered. Stand in awe and take in this eerie and primeval relic of what life was like for our ancestors.

In a town that preserves both heritage and nature, feel the salt in your hair and the weight of history behind you.