Time at Thyme at Rosemary’s, Gansbaai

Time at Thyme at Rosemary’s, Gansbaai

Time and a passion for survival brought Rosemary Truter to where she is today. An accomplished businesswoman in Gansbaai. With 2 months to go before her 80th birthday Rosemary has seen her share of hard work as she has been at it since the age of 15. Directed by her inner voice and without any form of training she has worked at different trades.

Living in Cape Town as the wife of a businessman Rosemary went by the name of Rosa Biggie Best entrepreneurs Lynn McAdam contracted Rosemary to make dresses and then quilts before offering her the top floor of their premises to do her sewing for their shop in Cavendish. A day trip to De Kelders was followed by a 3-week holiday and in 1995 Rosemary made De Kelders her home. The people were friendly, it was quiet and crime free. She opened the first guest house called Mooi Uitsig in the coastal village perched on the rocks overlooking Walker Bay. With her late husband Jackie Smit they followed in the footsteps of Kim McClean to become the 2nd shark cage diving operator, White Shark Adventures, a business she managed for 15 years and shared with Jackie Smith. Business was good and Rosemary bought 2 more properties along the Gansbaai Main Road. One of which is Thyme at Rosemary’s. The house first served as a backpackers and was easily recognised by the orange painted exterior. Rosemary enjoyed the international visitors and served breakfast to those who booked a shark diving experience. When the shark cage diving business was sold, the back packers needed to change as well. An obvious choice was to start a restaurant. With 3 restaurants in Gansbaai Rosemary visited the competition and was determined to give Gansbaai something better. She wanted her international visitors back. Thyme at Rosemary’s Restaurant and Tea Garden was born.

The first menu was designed with 3 dishes that Rosemary knew well – vegetable soup, her Jewish mother-in-law’s cheesecake and spaghetti bolognaise. Rosemary credits Sunette Theart, a Gansbaai skipper’s wife, for teaching her about food combinations and menu options. One being oxtail, still a favourite on the menu. Blessed with a good palate and a strong will Rosemary grew the business slowly but surely.

It’s a family of girls at Thyme at Rosemary’s. Patricia has been Rosemary’s right-hand person for the past 25 years. She arrived at the backpackers looking for a job and has remained with Rosemary since. Hombakazi arrived in Gansbaai in 2010, started working for Rosemary and today serves traditional dishes with a big smile. Louwna does the IT and assists when it comes to recipe development. The latest quest being for the best apple tart recipe. During lockdown Rosemary and the ladies kept busy by removing the 20-year-old bougainvillea bushes to make space for a herb garden.

Rosemary’s motto is Enjoy every day, even when it rains. What the hell, this is life!”. She says “I was meant to be in Gansbaai. This is my journey. Gansbaai is my place.”

What we tried at Thyme at Rosemary’s?

I went with Glenda Kitley of Gansbaai Tourism to visit Rosemary. The menu is tempting with a list of seasonal favourites and South African cuisine.


  • Hearty fisherman’s soup exceptionally well-priced at R48

Main Couse:

  • Waterblommetjiebredie – R145
  • Ooskaap kerrieafval – R175
  • Classic Fish Cakes and Baked Potato – R95


  • Baked cheesecake – what else?