Situated halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, beautiful Mossel Bay is a coastal village and harbour of the World Famous Garden Route. This popular holiday town is surrounded by a sunbathed peninsula and the refreshing waters of the Indian Ocean. It is a busy summer destination as well as an ideal winter retreat. It is blessed with a mild climate all-year round but its most important feature is its status as the historical capital of the Garden Route.
Well-traveled pleasure boats dock regularly as well as other international seafarers using the modern docking facilities. Mossel Bay is a rapidly growing tourist destination as more and more travelers are discovering the Jewel of the Cape Garden Route.
Back in 1488 a man called Bartholomew Dias threw anchor in the Bay of St Blaize – “Aguada de Sào Bras” as it was originally known. This town was then developed as a busy export harbour for wool, ochre and ostrich feathers.
The many beautiful historical buildings in the town is evidence of the long ago happenings which made the town as it is today. In 1601 the Dutch navigator, Paulus van Caerden, renamed it Mossel Bay, as he found that mussels were a most welcome addition to the diet of his crew. Today, mussels gathered in Mossel Bay each spring are rated by gourmets among the finest in the world.
Due to its rich history, there are many museums in the town to visit.
- There is the Maritime Museum which focuses on the sailing and ships of the early days of discovery – it is home to the impressive life-size replica of Bartolomeu Dias caravel, the ship in which he sailed into Mossel Bay in the year 1488. It also displays ship models of a bygone era, route maps to the East.
- The Granery is another museum which has a permanent display of fresh specimens of wild flowers found in this region, and a good selection of photographs of the many mountain passes that link the coastal area to the Little Karoo.
- The Shell Museum houses a very large collection of shells, and demonstrates how they were used by man through the years as tools etc.
- The Cultural History Museum has many and varied artifacts of historical importance from the area covering various periods in history.
Many of these museums were developed within some of the historical buildings in the town, but there are others, such as the Shirley Buildings, the Munrohoek Cottages and many others which may be visited. One of the most popular attractions is the Post Office, which is estimated to be more than 800 years old and has been declared a National Monument. It is underneath this milkwood tree where Pedro d’Ataide left a letter in 1500 in a seamans boot for passing ships. Letters are still posted there today in a seaman’s boot!
Mossel Bay is sportsman’s and water sport enthusiast’s paradise. It has a very wide variety of adventure sports facilities as well as sport of the conventional type, such as golf, squash, tennis, bungi and bridge diving, indoor heated pools and horse riding to name but a few. If you’re into water sports, there are some of the countries most adrenalin induced activities available such as: shark cage diving, ship wreck diving, snorkeling, power boating and others.
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