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Gateway to Paradise

By: Bronwen Roberts

Welcome to Mossel Bay: an idyllic coastal village and harbour situated between Cape Town and Port Elisabeth. This town is proud to be the historical capital of Cape Town's, world-famous Garden Route. It also features in the Guinness Book of Records as having the mildest all-year climate; second only to Hawaii. Both South Africans and Europeans regard Mossel Bay as their 'secret' holiday destination; whether your desire is for bustling summer holidays, or lazy winter retreats - you can enjoy this perennial Mediterranean climate all-year round.

Mossel Bay is a town with a rich history. The first recorded meeting between the Europeans and the local inhabitants of Southern Africa took place in Mossel Bay in 1488. An explorer, Bartolomeu Dias anchored in a bay, which he called Aquada de Sao Bras (watering place of St Blaize). In 1601 a Dutch navigator, Paulus van Caerden renamed it Mossel Bay, because mussels had become a welcome addition to the diet of his crew. The first trading also took place here in 1497 between Vasco Da Gama and the local inhabitants. Later this town became a busy export harbour for wool, ochre and ostrich feathers.

The warm Indian Ocean surrounding Mossel Bay is home to world-famous mussels and oysters. Gourmets rate them as some of the best in the world. Incomparable seafood and 24km of unspoilt coastline make this village a holiday haven.

What to do in Mossel Bay

Endless game drives put you in contact with the Big Five at the numerous game reserves. Ride on elephants through the Botlierskop Game Reserve; take a boat trip to nearby Seal Island; the home of about 3000 Cape Fur seals, and an ideal spot for dolphin viewing and whale watching. For adrenalin junkies, there is bungee jumping, bridge swinging, abseiling and South Africa's favourite thrill, shark-cage diving. You can scuba dive and shipwreck dive or go horse riding on the beach. For the less adventurous, there is an 18-hole golf course to enjoy. The Oyster Catcher Trail is an eco cultural hiking trail along the coast, starting from a Khoi San cave in Mossel Bay and ending at the Gouritz River mouth. Finally, for a truly unique way of whale watching, embark on a helicopter flip over the town and magnificent bay.

Special Events

Mossel Bay offers seasonal festivals and events, such as annual flower shows every September and October. Everyone is looking forward to the Mossel Bay Off Shore Yacht Race 2006: from the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town to the Mossel Bay Boat and Yacht Club.


Mossel Bay is proud of its rich cultural diversity and well-preserved buildings and houses, crafted from honey-toned local stone. Khoi-San artefacts, dating back more than 80 000 years, were found in the famous Cape St Blaize Cave.

The best place to experience the existing culture is at the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex. This complex consists of the Maritime museum, Shell Museum & Aquarium, Granary, famous Old Post Office Tree, Etno-botanical garden, Munro houses and fountain. Here you can visit the impressive life size replica of Bartolomeu Dias caravel; the ship in which he sailed into Mossel Bay. The cultural section focuses on the heritage of the town and district. The Shell Museum houses imaginative shell exhibitions and portrays the history of the use of molluscs by man. Live animals exist in their natural habitat in aquaria. One of the most popular attractions is the Post Office tree. In 1500, Pedro de Ataide left an important letter in a shoe or iron pot under a large tree. In 1501, Joao da Nova found this letter, and the first "Post Office" came about. More than 500 years later, you can still come and post your letter here!

The Ethno-botanical Garden is a collection of plants that occur naturally in the Mossel Bay area and which, were used by the Khoi, San, Coloured, Xhosa and European settlers for shelter, food and medicinal uses, as well as for their superstitious beliefs and magic practices.


The best part of any holiday is surely the exotic and authentic food that will accompany your stay. Mossel Bay is no exception! For those looking for a taste of Africa, there is the open-air restaurant in the Khoi village. Foreign-flavoured fare includes Thai, Cuban, Portuguese, and Italian.

Sample some of the finest seafood at the many seafood restaurants on offer, and don't pass up the chance to indulge in wild Mossel Bay oysters and Mossel Bay sole!For an outdoor romantic encounter, why not take a picnic basket up to the Light House where you can admire the crashing Indian Ocean below.

Beyond its obvious attributes, Mossel Bay has a certain pathos, which is evident in the landscape, and the friendliness and warmth of its people. Mossel Bay leaves an indelible mark on visitors who holiday there; just as the old stone buildings form part of the landscape, you cannot stay here and not feel part of the place.

Author Bio
Visit Mossel Bay Tourism for all your tourism information, accommodation enquiries and details of Mossel Bays' many attractions.

Article Source: - Free Website Content

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