MOSSEL BAY, A GATEWAY TO ADVENTUREAdventure and shopping, adrenalin and relaxation – Mossel Bay really has it all! Here’s why Mossel Bay should be on every tourist’s itinerary
Mossel Bay has a long history of exploration, dating right back to the 1400s when Bartolomeu Dias landed on this rugged coastline. Despite the many tourist attractions nearby – game farms, shark and crocodile cage diving, ostrich riding and beautiful beaches – Mossel Bay has retained its small town charm, making it the ideal destination for anyone looking for an adventure-filled, sun-drenched holiday!
A town steeped in heritage
The rich history of Mossel Bay stretches far back in time, with Bartolomeu Dias recorded as having arrived on the 3rd of February 1488. The Postage Office Tree and Diaz Museum complex is evidence of this preserved story from yesteryear.
As a town, Mossel Bay has remained relatively small given its history and location along the Garden Route, whose seaside towns attract tourists from around the globe every year. It is clear from holidaymakers, who have made the area their holiday destination of choice for generations, that Mossel Bay really is a special place!
The perfect holiday climate
Mossel Bay follows Hawaii in having the second most moderate climate in the world. This raises the chance of a sunny holiday experience all year round! With the early sunrises and late sunsets, Mossel Bay provides the perfect opportunity for the whole family to enjoy the summer days to the full.
And with the splendid Diaz Beach and Santos Beaches right on their doorstep, it is no wonder that investors behind the skyscrapers of Mossel Bay sought to capture the wide views of the blue ocean with height. The seal island too forms part of the captivating setting, and let’s not forget the ships in the harbour that add to the picturesque beauty. The fishing industry and PetroSA are two of the main industries in Mossel Bay harbour. There are many exciting activities available here, including shark cage driving, skydiving, various water sports, and a romantic boat trip into the sunset.
Something for everyone
Besides going to the beach for that sun-kissed tan, there are a number of places of interest to add to your to-do list during your stay in Mossel Bay, including a visit to the cave and the lighthouse, or perhaps even a meal at the Point.
A rewarding Garden Route shopping experience awaits tourists too. For what greater way is there to shop than in the relaxed atmosphere of a holiday, where retail therapy can make you look great and feel good. The Mossel Bay Mall Heiderand recently hosted a winter fashion showcase, where locals featured classy wear – a true delight for tourists to see! Who would have thought that the perfect outfit could be waiting for you at the Langeberg Mall in Mossel Bay, or even the Garden Route Mall in George?
A number of fantastic restaurants are found along the Garden Route, each one offering its own speciality. Tripadvisor (www.tripadvisor.co.za) is a useful starting point for foodies, with its ratings and reviews of various restaurants.
Jakkelsvlei Wineries, located in Herbertsdale, is about 50kms from Mossel Bay and the ideal day outing. These vineyards are nestled between majestic mountains, with wine tastings on offer and cheese platters too. Botlierskop Private Game Reserve near Mossel Bay offers both day and overnight visitors a true African bush experience where 4 of the big 5 can be seen. There are amazing hiking trails in the area too, including the beach walk at Glentana that leads hikers to a shipwreck.
Dana Bay, Hartenbos, Groot Brak and Klein Brak are all within a stone’s throw from Mossel Bay. These towns are each unique in their own way, making them well worth a visit during your stay in this stunning part of the country. There are also many campsites facilities available, which adds to the affordability appeal of the area.
Ideal road trips from Mossel Bay include exploring Oudtshoorn, Glentana, George, Wilderness, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Still Bay. Oudtshoorn, with its landscape change of Karoo scrub, is geared specifically for tourists with many fun things to do like experiencing the Cango Caves, Cango Wildlife Ranch (crocodile cage diving), ostrich farms (riding an ostrich), Buffelsdrift (game farm) and Feather Palace. Plettenberg Bay, on the other hand, offers tourists the chance to visit Monkey Land, Birds of Eden, Elephant Sanctuary and Jukani (to name but a few). A hidden gem of the Knysna area, within the Dalene Matthee (writer) countryside, can be found at Rheenendal Ramble (www.rheenendalramble.co.za).
The Garden Route is also increasingly becoming a popular wedding venue and honeymoon destination because of the area’s natural splendour. Like weddings, summer vacations need to be planned well in advance with accommodation units being booked up early. What better way to spend a winter evening than curled up by the fire and planning a summer holiday along the Garden Route coastline?
So what are you waiting for? Get that sun roof down, make a memorable trip for the family, and discover your own hidden gems to share with your friends and family back home!
There’s so much more to do in Mossel Bay!
Ms Marcia Holm of Mossel Bay Tourism shares a little of her wealth of knowledge of both tourism and Mossel Bay in the interview below.
Thomas Duane Hodgson (TDH): Let’s begin with an introduction of yourself, including the position you hold within Mossel Bay Tourism.
Marcia Holm (MH): I am the Chief Operations
Officer (COO) of Mossel Bay Tourism. I hold a qualification through UNISA in International Marketing, a Diploma in Social Media Marketing and Online Reputation Management. Furthermore, I have a qualification in basic web design. Over the years, I have gained experience in all facets of tourism marketing. I am also involved with the Bartolomeu Dias Museum where I serve as a Ministerial appointment to the management committee and chairperson of the executive committee.
TDH: What do your daily duties as Chief Operations Officer of Mossel Bay Tourism entail?
MH: I am primarily responsible for the marketing of Mossel Bay as a destination of choice, the smooth running of the information office, financial and operational administration, as well as various other tasks.
TDH: How long have you been involved in Mossel Bay Tourism?
MH: I have been in the travel and tourism industry since I was 18 years old and have been with Mossel Bay Tourism for the past 19 years.
TDH: What would you put down as the main tourist attractions in the Mossel Bay area?
MH: There is so much to do in the Mossel Bay area! A good starting point would be to visit site: www.visitmosselbay.co.za. I would suggest including the following in the ‘things to do’ list: Shark cage diving, the Point of Human Origins, whale watching, various game farms and the elephant experience(walking not riding).
TDH: How does Mossel Bay Tourism contribute to the local economy?
MH: Vastly – all businesses in Mossel Bay rely on tourism!
TDH: What positive impact do golf courses have on the Mossel Bay area?
MH: The Garden Route is well known for its golf courses and this draws visitors. I have found the people like a challenge of a new or perhaps a difficult golf course which Pinnacle Point is reputed to be.
TDH: What would attract tourists, specifically in winter, to the Mossel Bay area?
MH: Well, our winters are normally mild, which is a plus for visitors. Whale watching is a great attraction during the winter months. The surfers say that in winter the waves are much better than in summer. Out of season accommodation prices are lower and the area is quieter. With Mossel Bay being the ideal central point, it is the perfect place to enjoy the various festivals that take place all over the Garden Route and Klein Karoo.
TDH: Has Mossel Bay received any tourism awards?
MH: Not of late, but we have been Rapport Town of the Year and FHM Small Town of the Year. Furthermore, we have achieved first place for Tourism in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo PRM Leaders, and Achievers Award. Also, I recently received the Garden Route and Klein Karoo certificate of Excellence from the Eden District Municipality.
Article written by Thomas Duane Hodgson.