Mossel Bay


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History, beaches, and Dias’s legacy


Mossel Bay is located on the sun-washed slopes of Cape St Blaize, against the sheer drops and inclining slopes of the Outeniqua Mountains. The starting point of the verdant Garden Route, the town is steeped in history, endowed with powder-white beaches, and ocean waters that are frequented by whales and dolphins.

The first European explorers washed ashore in the late 15th century, jumping at the chance of fresh water and bartering opportunities with locals. The Dias Museum Complex includes the spring from which Bartolomeu Dias watered the milkwood postal tree, a life-size replica of Dias’s 1488 caravel, the 1786 Dutch East India Company granary, and a shell museum.

The cobalt waters are warm and invite swimmers, scuba divers, and surfers who arrive in droves to try their hand at Outer Pool, a body of water that dishes out Mossel Bay’s most gnarly waves. Tunnel Cave carves a passageway through the headland of Cape St Blaize, to emerge on a slice of wild coast scattered with glistening seashells. The town is renowned for hauling in mussels and oysters, and large catches of tuna and black marlin. Take a cruise to Seal Island – a Cape fur seal breeding ground – or dive beneath the waters to come face-to-face with great white sharks.

 

Highlights

  • Steeped in history and endowed with powder-white beaches frequented by whales and dolphins
  • The Dias Museum Complex includes a life-size replica of Dias’s 1488 caravel, built in Portugal and sailed to the seaside town in 1988
  • Water-based activities include swimming, snorkelling, and surfing
  • Tunnel Cave carves a passageway through the headland of Cape St Blaize, to emerge on a slice of wild coast scattered with seashells
  • Seal Island is a breeding ground for over 2,000 Cape fur seals, and attracts great white sharks

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