Mossel Bay - the Garden Route’s only harbour town - is also its biggest holiday destination. Situated exactly half way between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, it is a magnet for South Africans and foreign visitors alike.
Mossel Bay’s biggest attractions are undoubtedly its weather, its beaches, and its cultural significance. Mossel Bay enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine every year with calm, clear skies in winter and long, warm summers. Rain falls mainly during the summer months, and mainly at night.
The town is built on the Cape St Blaise Peninsula, home to the only north-facing beach in South Africa , Santos Beach, and it boasts two seasonal Blue Flag Beaches (Santos and Hartenbos), as well as more than 60km of clean sand for visitors to enjoy. Naturally this makes for fine water sports - surfing, scuba diving, and sailing are popular. In fact, Mossel Bay is the headquarters of South Africa’s National Sail Training Academy exactly because it offers some of the best sailing grounds anywhere in the world.
Mossel Bay is both the place where modern human behaviour evolved some 165 000 years ago and the place where Europeans first landed on South African shores.
This rich cultural heritage is explored in the grounds and galleries of the Dias Museum Complex, which houses a replica of the ship in which the first sailors under Bartolomeu Dias arrived here on February 3, 1488, and the famous Post Office Tree under which sailors of the 15th and 16th centuries used to leave post for one another. Letters posted here are still stamped with a special commemorative frank - a popular and traditional memento of any visit to Mossel Bay.
A little way out of town, the ATKV Museum at Hartenbos commemorates the Great Trek of 1838 and the Commemorative Trek of 1938, while the Great Brak River Museum preserves the heritage of the village that was established in 1859.
But Mossel Bay isn’t only about the beach and culture – it is situated close to the nature reserves of the Outeniqua Mountains, and thus offers excellent game watching and 4x4 routes, as well as great hiking, cycling, and horse riding.
Of course if you’re coming to visit, you’ll want a place to stay. Mossel Bay is the only town on the South African coast that offers sea-front accommodation for everyone, no matter what your budget may be. Here you’ll find everything from caravan and camp sites to 4 star hotels and 5 star lodges right in front of the breakers.
Getting to Mossel Bay is easy. It’s a comfortable 400 km drive from both Cape Town and Port Elizabeth (on N2 the national route), and is situated just over the mountains (80 km on the R328) from Oudtshoorn and the attractions of the Little Karoo.
The regional domestic airport at George is just 40 km from the town centre, and the Mossel Bay airfield is available for private planes of up to 12000kg.
Above all, Mossel Bay is a family destination: it adores kids, honeymooners, parents and pensioners, and offers every one of them a place in the sun - and plenty to do while they’re here.
That’s why they call it the ‘Do Stuff Destination’.
Other Mossel Bay attractions include
- Adrenalin sports such as abseiling and sand boarding
- Helicopter tours
- The Aloe Ferox Factory
- The Shark Lab and shark cage diving
- Barnyard Theatre
- Arts and Crafts centres, markets and workshops
- Entertainment for children
- Whale and dolphin watching
Information courtesy of www.visitmosselbay.co.za