MOSSEL BAY, GARDEN ROUTE
This bustling Garden Route town is a hot holiday spot and one of the ports of South Africa. It is set on the sun-washed slopes of Cape St Blaize, overlooking the expansive bay, and against the blue-black backdrop of the Outeniqua Mountains. Accommodation in Mossel Bay ranges from upmarket hotels to comfortable B&B's, holiday apartments and luxury homes with fabulous views.
Mossel Bay lies halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, close to the towns of Swellendam, Outdshoorn, Plettenberg Bay and Knysna on the Garden Route.
Despite this obvious industrial leaning, Mossel Bay has a tradition of unhurried hospitality and there is sufficient natural beauty in the town and its surrounds to make a stopover essential. Mossel Bay features in the Guiness Book of Records as having the mildest all-year climate in the world, second only to Hawaii. Add to this the long stretch of beaches, the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, a championship golf course or two and Mossel Bay becomes an ideal retreat for both summer and winter.
Mossel Bay has a significant history and there are a number of historic houses worth a visit, including about 200 stone homes built a century ago by Cornish stonemasons. She received her present name in 1601 when the Dutch navigator, Paulus van Caerden found a collection of mussel shells in a cave at the headland of Cape St Blaize although Mossel Bay was ‘discovered’ as far back as 1488, when Dias first encountered the ancient Khoi-San people upon stepping ashore.
Mossel Bay is still famous for its mussels and oysters and some of the largest catches of tunny and black marlin are made on this part of the coast. Tunnel Cave is a 60-metre passageway through the headland of Cape St Blaize, which emerges on stretch of wild coast where the beaches are notorious for their variety of sea shells.
Of real interest is the fact the very first Post Office in South Africa was at Mossel Bay in 1500, when a man named Pedro de Ataide left a letter in a shoe under a milkwood tree. Today the ancient Post Office is a national monument and mail is still sorted here.
Amongst the surfing fraternity, Mossel Bay is up there on the list with Jeffreys Bay and Port Elizabeth and Outer Pool is probably Mossel Bay’s most famous wave. Water sports are enormously popular and whale and seal watching and scuba diving a way of life.
Mossel Bay with its wide beaches for safe swimming and the awesome cliffs of Cape St Blaize’s southern shores, with the ever-watchful Outeniqua Mountains in the background provides a welcome and a worthwhile stopover on the Garden Route.