The Area - Dana Bay Guest House
Mosselbay, South Africa
Mossel Bay has a tradition of unhurried hospitality and there is sufficient natural beauty in the town and its surrounds to make a stopover essential. Mossel Bay features in the Guiness Book of Records as having the mildest all-year climate in the world, second only to Hawaii. Add to this the long stretch of beaches, the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, a championship golf course or two and Mossel Bay becomes an ideal retreat for both summer and winter.
Mossel Bay has a significant history and there are a number of historic houses worth a visit, including about 200 stone homes built a century ago by Cornish stonemasons. She received her present name in 1601 when the Dutch navigator, Paulus van Caerden found a collection of mussel shells in a cave at the headland of Cape St Blaize although Mossel Bay was 'discovered' as far back as 1488, when Dias first encountered the ancient Khoi-San people upon stepping ashore.
Mossel Bay is still famous for its mussels and oysters and some of the largest catches of tunny and black marlin are made on this part of the coast. Tunnel Cave is a 60-metre passageway through the headland of Cape St Blaize, which emerges on stretch of wild coast where the beaches are notorious for their variety of sea shells.
Of real interest is the fact the very first Post Office in South Africa was at Mossel Bay in 1500, when a man named Pedro de Ataide left a letter in a shoe under a milkwood tree. Today the ancient Post Office is a national monument and mail is still sorted here.
Amongst the surfing fraternity, Mossel Bay is up there on the list with Jeffreys Bay and Port Elizabeth and Outer Pool is probably Mossel Bay's most famous wave. Water sports are enormously popular and whale and seal watching and scuba diving a way of life.
Mossel Bay with its wide beaches for safe swimming and the awesome cliffs of Cape St Blaize's southern shores, with the ever-watchful Outeniqua Mountains in the background provides a welcome and a worthwhile stopover on the Garden Route.
Bartholomeu Dias Maritime Museum
Visit the Bartholomeu Dias Maritime Museum. Not only will you be able to see a life-sized model of the very vessel (Dias Caravel) that brought traveller Bartholumeu to Mossel Bay all the way from Portugal but there is a wide variety of other interesting displays to see. Discover original maps, ancient artefacts and a wide range of other maritime displays giving you an insight into the history of the Dutch, English and Portuguese Navigators and Explorers.
Within the museum complex you will be able to visit the Old Granary exhibiting a range of flowers and plants found in Mossel Bay. On Site there is also the shell museum, the big post office tree, the fountain, Ethno botanical gardens, an old whale skeleton, Malay graves and much more.
Attakwaskloof 4x4 Trail
Situated just between Mossel Bay (along the Garden Route) and Oudtshoorn (in the Karoo) is the magnificent Attakwaskloof 4x4 Trail in the Outeniqua Nature Reserve. This part of the Garden Route is particularly breath-taking in terms of its aesthetic appeal, and is ideally experienced from the comfort of your vehicle on this 4x4 trail.
The pass along which the trail is laid out was completed in 1869. The trail is 20 kilometres long, and takes about three hours to explore. It is a gravel road that requires a low range, high clearance vehicle, and drivers capable of handling a trail of a 3 to 4 grading.
There is a shorter, tarred version of this path, which is far more frequently used, leaving this gravel pass to those with a penchant for exploring.
Whether you are an experienced rider or this is your first encounter with one of these powerful animals, Bozzola caters to your needs and abilities.
The trails meander along the foot of the magnificent Outeniqua Mountain Range and take about two hours to complete.
Cross farms, travel through forests and take old footpaths, immersing yourself in the unspoilt beauty of Mossel Bay.
Longer trails are available on request.
Snacks and refreshments are provided (to horse and rider!) to ensure the most comfortable, fun experience for all.
Buy African Curios at Jacana
Jacana caters for the needs of tourists visiting the Bartolomeu Diaz Museum complex.
The store showcases a range of curios, clothing, accessories and gifts sourced from many different parts of Africa.
Jacana also stocks destination specific merchandise which is exclusive to Mossel Bay and illustrates the Town's colourful maritime history.
Located in the Old Post Office Tree Square, Jacana offers extended trading hours to cater specifically for the needs of tour parties and guides - open every day from 07h00 in the morning until 11 at night! Pop in after dinner and do some last minute shopping!
Learn to Surf in Mossel Bay
Learn to surf in some of the sweetest surf spots on the Garden Route with the the longest running surf school on the Garden Route! Travelers from all around the globe have been taught to surf since 1995.
In these lessons, students learn the basics of surfing, paddling and standing on their own waves. And don't let your age be a stumbling block ... Billeon Surf & Sand will get you up on the board regardless of your age.
Mossel Bay Craft Art
4 renowned artists have joined hands to create a spectacular array of artworks.
All achieved through the love and labour of the local people, empowering the township folk with skills and job opportunities.
A favourite amongst visitors to Mossel Bay, visit the Mossel Bay Craft Art Workshop and watch Andre, Hein, Matthews and Zandra and their teams and trainees at work.
Lots of unique gifts to choose from- shop to your heart's content!
Point of Human Origins Experience
It is understandable then that since the discovery that Homo sapiens arose in Africa between 200 and 100 thousand years ago in the Pinnacle Point Caves there has been increasing interest in this part of Mossel Bay's coastline.
The caves remain part of ongoing international studies under Professor Curtis Marean from Arizona State University, with over 40 scientists from all over the world involved in the process.
Despite its being 17 years ago the excitement of the discovery in amongst the orange rocks of Pinnacle Point has lost none of its drama, and Dr Peter Nilssen, who provides a presentation at the start of the experience, is as inspired today.
Sandboarding In Mossel Bay
Love sandboarding? Head to Mossel Bay to experience the longest sandboarding dune in South Africa!
Situated on a private farm 35 km just outside of Mossel Bay, Dragon Dune is a 320m ride that will pump pure adrenalin through your veins.
The dune is in top shape most of the time, due to the prominent South Westerly winds that's blowing straight into the dragons face.
You are lucky to get a ride of 100m somewhere in SA, but this beast lacks no length of ride and overwhelms its closest rival by far. With no rocks or bushes in the way as you glide down the face of this monster, you are guaranteed a smooth and thrilling ride.
Cape St Blaise Lighthouse
Whilst it might not be as obvious today that Mossel Bay is named for the plethora of mussels that used to bedeck the bay, there is a story about the Dutch navigator, Paulus van Caerden, who arrived in the bay to find nothing other than mussels to add to his ship's rather depleted provisions in the year 1601.
The presence of mussels adds credence to the description of a lot of the coastline as rugged and dangerous for ships, despite the long, sandy beaches that attract holiday makers for most of the year. The harbour town thus erected a square, white tower lighthouse on the incredible cliffs of St Blaize that stands 20,5 metres high above a cliff face, the foundation stone of which was laid in 1862 by visiting Governor Wodehouse.
Much of the workings of the lighthouse are today fully automated, but there still remains a senior lightkeeper and a couple of lightkeepers who help with radio watch and meteoroligical duties.
De Bakke Beach
De Bakke Beach is a special attraction for Mossel Bay, albeit small and relatively quiet. In fact, it is one of the country's esteemed Blue Flag beaches. This is a well respected award that takes the educational, environmental and cultural value of the beach into account, ensuring that each Blue Flag beach is one that is not only beautiful and safe, but also environmentally and socially responsible.
De Bakke is an ideal beach for swimming, making it perfect for families with children. However, it is also a great water sports beach. Surfing and canoeing are popular activities here, and the two reefs that flank the beach offer wonderful snorkelling opportunities. These reefs also make for the perfect fishing spot, while the views of the Indian Ocean create an idyllic backdrop. During the second half of each year, visitors will be able to spot whales as they skirt the shoreline and entertain onlookers with their antics.
Ethno Botanical Garden & Braille Trail
The Ethno Botanical Garden & Braille Trail is located within the rolling grounds of the Dias Museum Complex, amongst greenery, and splendid views of Santos Beach and Mossel Bay. The complex contains several buildings within the complex, including the highlights: the Famous 500 year old Post office Tree, the life-size replica of the Dias Caravel, the Shell Museum & Aquarium and the Ethno-Botanical Garden.
The complex also contains The Granary; The Shell Museum; The Post Tree; Botanical Gardens; The Fountain; The Munrohoek Cottages, The Malay Graves and the field garden.
The Braille Trail was incorporated as part of the Ethno-botanic garden for the visually-impaired to read about, feel, and smell the plants in the gardens, plants which are used by the San, Khoi, Coloured, Xhosa and European people of the area for magic, food and medicine.
The Koumasoek Circuit is a hiking trail for the fit and experienced hiker, due to its arduous and long trail. With steep climbs and 14.7 km long length, this trail is not for the faint-hearted, although the natural beauty of unspoilt indigenous Fynbos and mountainous vistas, make the trail worth every step.
The hike takes approximately 6 hours from beginning to end, through the mountains near the Robinson Pass.
Map and information is available at the Witfontein Nature Reserve Offices.
Directions: From the N2, take the Oudtshoorn turn-off to Hartenbos.
Drive 18.9km to the top of the Robinson Pass where the trail starts. Park at the old quarry just below the top of the pass.
Take water, be prepared for mist.