Mossel Bay aerial view

Magical Mossel Bay is ideal for a summer holiday even if the beach is off limits. Image: Bob Adams

Escape to Mossel Bay: Much for history buffs and thrill seekers to discover

Fun pursuits await in this laid-back coastal town.

Mossel Bay aerial view

Magical Mossel Bay is ideal for a summer holiday even if the beach is off limits. Image: Bob Adams

Mossel Bay at the end of the Garden Route was first visited by Portuguese explorers in 1488, and over time this beautiful bay grew into a popular harbour city that has retained much of its seaside charm. Mossel Bay offers a welcome escape from other bustling Garden Route and Western Cape towns at the height of summer.

It is home to the longest over-the-ocean zipline in the world and has a reputation for being one of the most family-friendly places to visit in South Africa. It has good examples of turn-of-the-century architecture, charming shops and cafés, quaint ice-cream kiosks and scores of fun things to do.

Things to do in Mossel Bay

Mossel Bay is a beach and watersports lovers’ paradise. But, with regular beach visits off limits for now, there’s still a lot you can do here.

Bartolomeu Dias Museum and The Post Office Tree

The Bartolomeu Dias Museum is dedicated to celebrating the rich history of this region linked to the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias, who “discovered” Mossel Bay in 1488. Surrounded by botanical gardens with indigenous plants and trees used as herbs by the early inhabitants of the area, the museum is well worth a visit.

It features a life-size replica of the caravel Dias sailed on from Portugal past the Southern tip of Africa.

The museum complex is also home to the Post Office Tree, the oldest “post office” in South Africa. Dating back about 500 years, the tree is famous for being the place where a commander called Pedro de Ataide left important letters in a shoe or iron pot under this tree on his many return journeys from the east.

Mossel Bay Zipline

The Mossel Bay Zipline is the crème de la crème of ziplines. Spanning about 1,100 meters in length and 90 metres above the ocean, the zipline takes adrenaline junkies over the sea and offers a bird’s eye view of the caves below; frolicking seals, whales and other marine life; and the waves breaking over the rocks of the rugged coastline.

If you are looking for an adrenaline-fuelled experience, this is it!  

Diaz Express Train Ride

The Diaz Express Train Ride is a family-friendly way to spend a day enjoying some of the must-see attractions of the area. The three-carriage miniature train departs from Mossel Bay and chugs along winding tracks next to the roadway until it is high above the coast, offering spectacular views over the Indian Ocean.

The train travels between Mossel Bay, Groot Brak and Wilderness through beautiful landscapes of fynbos and other indigenous plants of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

Mossel Bay Historic Ghost Tour

The Mossel Bay Historic Ghost Tour offers a spine-tingling look at the haunted history of the town. The walk through the oldest part of town is filled with interesting stories.

Led by Leon Van der Walt, the two-hour excursion eventually leads to the graveyard while stories of accidents and incidents that changed the course of history are told.

Shark Cage Diving

The shark cage diving experiences offered in Mossel Bay attract visitors from around the world. Several operators offer these exhilarating experiences and it’s the perfect action-filled activity for adrenaline-junkies and ocean lovers.

Cape St Blaize Lighthouse and St Blaize Hiking Trail

If you love hiking and enjoying the great outdoors, the St Blaize Hiking Trail is a must. The 13.5km trail starts at the cave below the historic Cape St Blaize Lighthouse and ends at Dana Bay, offering brilliant views of the Indian Ocean and the fynbos-filled surrounds along the way.

You can also climb the steps of the lighthouse to the top.

Where To Stay

Mossel Bay has a wide variety of accommodation for all tastes and budgets, from beautiful boutique hotels to comfortable, family-friendly self-catering options.

For a touch of luxury and fantastic sea views, try the Marine Manor on the Beach or African Oceans. If you prefer self-catering, Sandpiper Cottages offer an authentic fisherman’s cottage stay. The collection of cottages in the Fransmanshoek Conservancy area boasts cosy, exposed brick interiors and open fireplaces.

The Garden Route Safari Camp caters for every type of holiday-maker with comfortable accommodation, including a lodge and tented camps, and is home to an array of wildlife.