Mossel Bay is strategically located between Cape Town to the west and Port Elizabeth to the east, making it a convenient stop for travelers exploring the Garden Route. The town is also nestled along the Indian Ocean, so it has spectacular ocean views and a mild coastal climate. More than just a pretty location, though, Mossel Bay also holds historical significance as one of the stops made by the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488 during his voyage around the southern tip of Africa. The town’s name, which means “Bay of Mussels” in Afrikaans, reflects the abundance of mussel beds along its shores. With its beautiful scenery, rich history, and variety of outdoor activities, Mossel Bay has become a popular destination for both local and international travelers. In this blog post I will highlight some of the best things to do in Mossel Bay.
- Enjoy sun, sand and fun at Santos Beach
- Dive into history at the Bartholomeu Diaz Museum Complex
- Take in spectacular views at the Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse
- Hike Mossel Bay's coastline with the St Blaize Trail
- Sail into the sunset to Seal Island
- Go Gin Tasting at Cape St. Blaize
- Play a round of mini-golf by the ocean
- Walk along Point road
- Have a 'lekker braai' in the sand at the Kaai for Braai restaurant
- Get your coffee fix at 'The Blue Shed'
Enjoy sun, sand and fun at Santos Beach
Santos Beach is a wide and sandy beach with beautiful ocean views. It is also a Blue-Flag Beach, meaning the beach adheres to high standards in cleanliness, safety, and sustainability. The water is nice for swimming, with temperatures around 20 to 22⁰C in summer and 13 to 14⁰C in winter. Between May and October, another popular activity is watching whales and dolphins right from the beach. If you like water activities, it’s also a top spot for paddle-skiing, surfing, boating, diving, and fishing. Check out the rocks along the beach, where you can find interesting sea creatures and oyster beds. Lastly, if you’re hungry, Santos Beach is close to some nice restaurants. Its central location also means it’s easy to reach some of the other nearby attractions in Mossel Bay.
Dive into history at the Bartholomeu Diaz Museum Complex
The Bartholomeu Dias Museum Complex is a great place to wander and learn more about Mossel Bay’s maritime history. The complex includes the Maritime Museum, the Shell Museum, and the Granary. A highlight for most is the replica of the Caravel, the ship used by Diaz in 1488. Another iconic site at the Bartholomeu Dias Museum Complex is ‘The Post Office Tree‘, an ancient Milkwood tree with a rich maritime history. Back in the 16th century, sailors used it as a kind of post office. They left letters under the tree, and passing ships collected them, making it one of the world’s oldest mail systems. Although the original tree is gone, a new one carries on the tradition, reminding us of Mossel Bay’s important role for sailors and explorers.
Take in spectacular views at the Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse
The Cape St Blaize Lighthouse, standing proudly on the rocky promontory of Cape St Blaize in Mossel Bay, is a historic maritime beacon that has guided sailors and ships since its construction in 1864. This iconic lighthouse, with its distinctive red-and-white striped tower, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and the surrounding coastline. Originally lit by a kerosene lamp, the lighthouse has undergone modernization over the years and now operates with an electric light. The restaurant inside the lighthouse is fantastic, serving great food and drinks with incredible views across the ocean. For a small fee, you can also climb up into the lighthouse tower and learn a little more about the history of the area. If you like unique stays, there’s even accommodation inside the lighthouse, giving you a one-of-a-kind experience.
Hike Mossel Bay’s coastline with the St Blaize Trail
The Cape St Blaize Hiking Trail is a great walk with beautiful views. Starting at the Cape St Blaize Lighthouse, the trail follows the cliffs, giving you amazing sights of the Indian Ocean. Although the long walk can be challenging in the heat, it is mostly flat, so it is manageable for all levels. The trail is about 13 kilometers, and ends at Dana Bay, where you can relax on peaceful beaches and grab a refreshing drink at the Pinnacle Point Bar & Lounge. Along the way, you’ll see local plants, birds, and also pass through the newly built Iconic Tunnel Mosaic Project and the Pinnacle Point Estate and Golf Course.
Sail into the sunset to Seal Island
Hop on the Romonza boat for an exciting trip to Seal Island. The journey takes you through the waters to this famous rocky spot, home to lots of playful seals. Watch as they dive and relax on the rocks, all while learning cool facts from knowledgeable guides on board. If you choose a sunset trip, you will be wowed by the most spectacular sunset views, also. The trip is really something special and a must-do when in Mossel Bay.
READ MORE >>> Romonza Boat Trip: Sailing into the sunset in Mossel Bay
Go Gin Tasting at Cape St. Blaize
If you’re into Gin or just curious about the process, make sure to visit Mossel Bay’s gin distillery. Cape Saint Blaize Gin Distillery is well-known for creating fantastic small-batch gins inspired by the area’s natural beauty. The Gin Masterclass is a hands-on experience where you can craft your own Cape Saint Blaize Gin. But it’s not just about making gin – the distillery also offers various tasting experiences like Gin Liqueur Tasting and Sushi with Gin. For a unique treat, head to the Blue Oyster Cocktail Bar for a Gin and Chocolate Pairing, a surprisingly delicious combination! Then, if you’re in the mood for a more substantial meal, the nearby Café Gannet restaurant specializes in fresh seafood, which is an excellent ocean-to-table dining experience.
READ MORE >>> Cape St Blaize Gin & Chocolate Pairing delights
Play a round of mini-golf by the ocean
The Putt-Putt course along Point Road is so much fun! It’s perfect for all skill levels, and the ocean views are unbeatable. There’s also a cute little café that sells snacks and drinks. It’s a fantastic way to spend a morning or afternoon in Mossel Bay.
Walk along Point road
Point Road in Mossel Bay is a lovely seafront promenade. It’s a safe and enjoyable place for a walk, surrounded by plenty of restaurants. Don’t forget to take a picture at the iconic Mossel Bay sign to remember your visit! Dolfinos, a great restaurant next to the tidal pool on Point Road, is right on the beach and offers awesome sea views.
Have a ‘lekker braai’ in the sand at the Kaai for Braai restaurant
Kaai 4 Braai is a casual restaurant where you can kick back with your feet in the sand and enjoy tasty South African meat dishes around a big, central fireplace. The restaurant serves Spitbraai, braaivleis, potjiekos dishes, roosterbrood and whole fish on the grill. And if you have no idea what any of these are, it’s a great reason to stop by and give them a try!
Get your coffee fix at ‘The Blue Shed’
Blue Shed Coffee Roastery is a rustic cafe with a whole lot of character. Located near the edge of the coast, you have lovely ocean views right from your table. They have an excellent selection of coffees, as well as savory and sweet treats like quiche, pies, salads and cakes.
In short, Mossel Bay is a great place with pretty views, interesting history, and lots to do. Whether you like walks, boat rides, or just chilling with good food, Mossel Bay has it all.
See the map below that shows the best things to do in Mossel Bay and where to find them.