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(Blog 4)

Mossel Bay is a harbour town on the South Coast of South Africa with plenty of sunshine, panoramic views and many activities like fishing, kayaking and shark cage diving. 


Mossel Bay

(part 1)

A laidback and sunny little(ish) town next to the coast to relax in.


Mossel Bay lies next to the Indian Ocean and Outeniqua Mountains and is an easy half a day's drive on the N2 from Cape Town. It marks the start of the spectacular Garden Route, a stretch along the South Coast well known for its many quaint little towns, inlets and greenery. This town is also famous for being the first place where early European settlers set foot on South Africa soil. Bartolomeu Dias was a Portuguese explorer who landed here with his men on 3 February 1488. (You can learn all about that at the Dias Museum Complex.)

'The origin of the name Mossel Bay (the Bay of Mussels) has to do with the ascendancy of the Dutch shipping merchants in the late 16th and the early 17th Centuries. In one account, the explorer Cornelis de Houtman named the place Mosselbaai when he stopped there in 1595, whilst in another, the Dutch Admiral Paulus van Caerden named it when he came ashore on 8 July 1601. Whatever the case, though, the mussels and oysters on the shore would have been a welcome addition to the limited diet on which ship’s crews were expected to survive in those days.' - wikipedia

I have been coming to this town regularly since I was a teenager, dragged along on family holidays in which  I had little choice, and to be honest; I hated it. We came down here each year over Christmas for the summer holidays from Welcome in the Free State. It was still in the days of apartheid and for me it was like going from one conservative and violent place to another one with the same people and the same small-minded racist attitudes next to the coast. People used to call it 'Welcome by the Sea', and being a natural liberal (probably since birth), I loathed both places.

Luckily things have changed, trendy restaurants, bars and coffee shops have sprung up, and it has become one of the most mixed and tolerant places I have ever visited, way more so than the subject of my previous blog; Knysna (which I considered to be liberal and trendy as a youngster.) In those day the harbour used to be open to the public and one of my escapes was to spend time among the fisherman processing their catch. The other one was disappearing into nature, and luckily the town is surrounded by magnificent stretches of ocean, beaches and a dramatic mountainside where some of the oldest artifacts are found indicating that our earliest ancestors also enjoyed it's ocean treasure and pleasant climate. From Pinnacle Point not too far from the town centre you can take a hiking trail up the mountain and experience truly amazing and dramatic vistas of steep rock cliffs that meet a wide and hypnotic expanse of ocean. To this day it is still one of my favorite places to visit when I need to get away from it all to contemplate life and the verse. It is a truly powerful place.

Among the indigenous vegetation (fynbos), terrific rock formations, and the overhangs and caves carved by wave action where those ancient hunter gatherers made their homes over thousands years in the past, it is easy to get lost in a sense of timelessness and feel a connection with the archetypal forces of mother nature. There is evidence of people's presence here dating from as early as 164 00 years ago and this is the oldest evidence of the emergence of homo sapiens scientists have come across anywhere in the world. Combine all this with the mysterious sound of the primordial waves crashing against the steep cliffs and all manner of birds noisily making their presence know, and you have the ideal recipe for finding some much needed perspective in our rushed, noisy and busy world. Yes, you are indeed a small part of something very, very large, and it's easy to imagine that here.

In Mossel Bay there is also a wide variety  places catering for all budgets from taverns where you can quaff down  large bottles of beer for next to nothing to fancy restaurants where you can enjoy gourmet dishes and expensive wine. If you have the time and the money, this town has allot to offer.

One of its best features is it's excellent weather boasting an average of 300 days of sunshine in a year. It has been rated to have the second most moderate climate in the world (after a small town in Hawaii!) and it also has a significant amount of sandy beach real estate as well as good waves for surfing at the Point.

For those of us that enjoy adventure and activity there is plenty to do, ranging from sea kayaking, surfing, shark cage diving, fishing charters and many other things. If you're budget does not allow for activities and fancy restaurants, not to worry; there are enough things to do that you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for like enjoying Santos beach or going for hikes along the mountain or the coast and this being a fishing town you can buy some of the best take away seafood at a variety of cafes all over town at a very reasonable price.

There are many forms of accommodation close to the CBD ranging from backpackers to up market guesthouses. The central part of town is compact and you can walk everywhere, but there is a decent reliable and inexpensive taxi service you can use if the many steep hills takes its toll. (24/7 taxi services).

Mossel Bay has a healthy influx of tourism and the busiest and most popular time to visit is in the summer holidays from mid December to mid January.

Over the last few years I have grown to love this town for its laidback vibe, healthy climate and ocean and mountain geography and as one of my regular home bases I would definitely recommend you put it on your list f places to visit.


Mossel Bay Tourism:                Tel - +27 (0)44 691 2202

                                                 E - mail - admin@visitmosselbay.co.za

Big Blu (restaurant):                   Tel - +27 (0)44 691 2010+27 (0)44 691 2010+27 (0)44 691 2010

                                                 E - mail - info@bigblu.co.za

Kaai 4 Braai (restaurant):           Tel - +27 (0)44 690 5568+27 (0)44 690 5568+27 (0)44 690 5568

Bizarre Bazaar (antique shop):   Tel - +27 (0)44 691 0031

                                                 E - mail -  info@bizarrebazaar.co.za

The Blue Shed (coffee roastery): Tel - +27 (0)44 691 0037





Trawlers is a popular biker's bar where the folks take their pool seriously. I went to check out a tournament and had a great time while  doing so.