Mossel Bay: A Truly South African Experience 

Mossel Bay
Mossel Bay forms part of the Garden Route in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

The Garden Route boasts more than 60 kilometres of beaches - and warm, beach-going weather throughout the year (with at least 300 days of sunshine in every 365), the riches of the Indian Ocean, the Cape fynbos, and the Outeniqua Mountains; culture that stretches back over 164,000 years; 21st century infrastructure; and accommodation for every budget.

Mossel Bay is situated exactly half way between Cape Town - the provincial capital of the Western Cape Province – and Port Elizabeth (both 400 km away), so it’s the ideal holiday destination, and the logical place to stop and relax on any local itinerary.

We'd like to suggest that the very idea of culture was born in Mossel Bay – because it was here that the earliest evidence for modern human behaviour has been found. Yes, this is where the 600 or so individuals who were the common ancestors of everyone who's ever lived began using complex tools, harvesting the sea in an organised way, and painting with ochres 164,000 years ago. And over the millennia, where herders and hunter-gatherers watched the seasons come and go while recording many of their spiritual experiences in the rock art in their caves and shelters in the Outeniqua Mountains. In 1488, where Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias and his men became the first European explorers to round the Cape of Good Hope and land on South African Soil. Today, you can explore all this history and culture in our many museums, hike historic paths to see where our ancestors lived, meet local artists and crafters, and enjoy an unique programme of entertainment and theatre.

Mossel Bay is where Southern Africans first met European explorers over 500 years ago - a meeting that's celebrated at the Dias Museum Complex (the largest complex of its kind in the Southern Cape). Here you'll find a Maritime Museum (housing a life-size replica of the Caravel in which Bartholomew Dias first rounded the Cape all those years ago); a Cultural Museum, a Shell Museum and Aquarium; an ethno-botanical garden with its Braille Trail and the famous Post Office Tree in which Dias hid a letter to his compatriot Joao da Silva (and, incredibly, da Silva found it!).

You can shop for arts and crafts; join a tour to Meet the People in the villages and townships in the rural areas surrounding Mossel Bay; meet African entrepreneurs and crafts people and experience the cultural richness of the Western Cape; enjoy concerts and exhibitions in the Maritime Museum or take a drive to Great Brak River; the historic mission station at Friemersheim in the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains.

There’s plenty of beach stuff to do in Mossel Bay, like swimming, surfing, fishing, and walking. But doing nothing at all? That’s what everyone likes best at the beach. Especially on beaches like ours.

For the bush enthusiast one can enjoy a malaria-free game drive to see the Big Five; ride an elephant; take a boat trip to Seal Island; watch whales and dolphins by boat or from the shore; visit a nature reserves or just take a drive in the country side.

Looking for retail therapy? Most of our malls are open to the sky, so you can enjoy our fabulous weather as you shop.

Just over the mountains via the R328 (Robinson's Pass), the Klein Karoo is a semi-arid plain between the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountains. It's famous for its ostrich show farms, the Cango Caves, and its game farms and nature reserves. And, of course, for the annual KKNK (National Arts Festival), which takes place in the area's capital – Oudtshoorn - every year in April.Mossel Bay is one of the best whale and dolphin watching destinations on the Southern Cape Coast. The Mossel Bay Cetacean Project – a scientific study of the species and numbers of marine mammals that visit the Bay – has shown that at least some of them are here almost every day of the year.

Here's a list of the species you might be lucky enough to see:

Bryde's whale
Killer whale
Southern right whale (Migratory: usually seen from May to September)
Sperm whale (Also migratory and usually seen from May to September)
Bottlenose dolphin
Common dolphin
Humpback dolphin
Cape fur seal
Southern elephant seal (A rare vagrant)

Mossel Bay's tourist guides and tour companies are there to help you get around – and many of them offer local and national tours, and airport transfers, too.

It is in this coastal town that you will find Hotel Portao Diaz. Situated in the D’Almeida suburb of Mossel Bay, a modern day township with the Atlantic Ocean as backdrop, the hotel was made famous as the only hotel in Mossel Bay to accept coloured guests during apartheid and, during it’s more than 50 years of existence, it has built on this rich South African culture. Today travelers can enjoy the peace of mind of 24 hour security while experiencing true South African culture. The hotel offers 43 spacious rooms at competitive rates, with various accommodation options, from single rooms to self catering family units, sleeping up to 8 guests. The hotel’s restaurant also offers a unique menu with traditional South African cuisine. The authentic South African experience is what makes Hotel Portao Diaz a "must stay" when visiting the Garden Route.

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