11 Best Things to Do in Mossel Bay

Planning a visit to the Garden Route and looking for the best things to do in Mossel Bay ? See my recommendations below.

Mossel Bay, the gateway to the iconic Garden Route of South Africa, is a picturesque coastal town set against the backdrop of the Outeniqua Mountains. It is known for its stunning beaches, outdoor activities, and rich history. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it has the mildest all-year-round climates in the world (after Hawaii).

The name, Mossel Bay is derived from the abundance of mussels (known as "mossels" in Dutch) found along its shores. It was named by the early Dutch explorers who arrived in the area and discovered the vast quantities of mussels that could be harvested there. Be sure to eat some while you're there.

I’d been to Mossel Bay previously during Garden Route road trips. However, on my last visit, I arrived by sea on the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship and did a panoramic tour of the town.

Here are the 11 best things to do in Mossel Bay

1. Visit the Bartholomeu Dias Museum Complex

ship replica at Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex

Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex

Named after the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias—the first European to set foot on South African soil—who landed here in 1488, the museum showcases the maritime history and cultural exchanges that shaped Mossel Bay’s identity. The complex houses a replica of the caravel ship sailed by Dias, a shell museum, an aquarium and the first “post office” in South Africa, a boot-shaped post box under a 500-year-old milkwood tree (now a national monument) where sailors used to exchange letters. You can still post letters there!

boot-shaped post box under a 500-year-old milkwood tree

The first “post office” in South Africa

2. Relax on Mossel Bay's Beaches

With its sandy shores and temperate climate, Mossel Bay has some of the best beaches along the Garden Route. Whether you're looking to sunbathe, swim, surf or simply unwind with a leisurely stroll, beaches like Santos, Diaz, and Hartenbos are ideal for a day of relaxation by the sea.

Beach with umbrellas in Mossel Bay

Mossel Bay beach (Image by Depositphotos)

Mossel Bay has become a popular hub for cruise ships these days, and you’re likely to spot some from the shore. We were docked there at the same time as The World, the largest private residential yacht on Earth.

Cruise ships in Mossel Bay

Norwegian Dawn and The World in Mossel Bay

3. Visit the Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse

Perched atop a rocky promontory, the Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse is almost 21 metres tall and offers sweeping views of Mossel Bay and the surrounding coastline. The historic lighthouse was built in the 19th century and used to be a shelter for the ancient Khoi people. You can also visit the St Blaize Cave, which can be found in a cliff under the lighthouse.

Cap e St. Blaize Lighthouse against the backdrop of the sea

Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse (Image by Depositphotos)

The area at the bottom of the lighthouse is known as The Point and has several shops and restaurants overlooking the ocean and the tidal pools.

4. Hike along the St. Blaize Trail

Hike or walk along the scenic St. Blaize Trail, a 13.5 km trail which stretches along the cliffs overlooking the ocean. It begins at the cave under the lighthouse and finishes at the Dana Bay beach  and you are likely to see dassies as well as beautiful birds along the way.

5. Go for a ride on the Powervan Mossel Bay train

Blue train against ocean backdrop

Powervan Mossel Bay

Previously known as the Diaz Express Train, this is a unique tourist experience in Mossel Bay that takes visitors on a charming rail journey along the coast in a vintage-style train carriage, from Hartenbos to Glentana and Great Brak River (seasonal), showcasing breathtaking vistas of the ocean and surrounding landscapes along the way.

6. Have fun at the Diaz Waterpark

Diaz Waterpark

Diaz Waterpark

Diaz Waterpark is a family-friendly water park next to the Diaz Hotel. It has an array of attractions including supertubes and a heated pool that cater to both thrill-seekers and those looking to relax. Kids will love it.

7. Slide on the Mossel Bay zipline

If you want to get your adrenalin pumping, then you’ll be happy to know that Mossel Bay boasts the longest over-the-ocean zipline in the world at 1100 metres. And the best part is that you can enjoy the spectacular views of the ocean, the cliffs and the marine life as you zipline.

Other adrenaline-pumping activities in Mossel Bay include tandem skydiving and sandboarding.

8. Go on a marine safari

Boats in Mossel Bay

Boats in Mossel Bay

Mossel Bay is home to diverse marine life, including seals, dolphins, sharks and even occasional whales. Book a boat tour or kayak excursion to explore the bay's waters and encounter these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

9. Embark on a wildlife safari

Addo Elephant National Park game drive

Game Drive

There are several game reserves within a short drive of Mossel Bay where you can board an open safari vehicle and go in search of the diverse wildlife that inhabits the region's picturesque malaria-free landscapes, including the Big 5.

10. Visit the Pinnacle Point Caves

Pinnacle Point in Mossel Bay is not only a residential and golf resort but also an area of significant archaeological importance. The Pinnacle Point Caves are archaeological sites that have revealed some of the earliest evidence of modern human behavior, dating back approximately 170,000 years. These caves have provided critical insights into the early use of technology and coastal resources by humans.

11. Explore the Garden Route

Knysna heads and sea

Knysna

Known as the best road trip in South Africa, and one of the best in the world, the Garden Route winds along a narrow coastal road between Mossel Bay and Storms River (Tsitsikamma) in the Eastern Cape. The 300 kilometre green forested route is interspersed by rivers, lakes, lagoons and sandy beaches, and is a must-do in South Africa.

See more things to do in the Garden Route.

Have you been to Mossel Bay? What are your favourite things to do there?

Find accommodation in Mossel Bay.

Best Things to Do in Mossel Bay

7 comments on “11 Best Things to Do in Mossel Bay”

  1. So many great things to do and see in Mossel Bay - the train, the water park, and (best of all) a safari!! Wow! I hope to get to visit one day

  2. Oooh all the natural spots like the Pinnacle Point Caves, the hike, safari and then the zipline sounds amaaaazing. Mossel Bay looks really fun to explore.

  3. I think I've been, back many years ago. Loved the entire coat between Jeffreys Bay and Cape Town. Dreaming to go back.

  4. Mossel Bay looks amazing with lots of fun things to do. I would love to take that coastal train and enjoy those incredible views.

  5. We spent 10 days in South Africa, and I wish we could have spent longer exploring the Garden Route! I love the coastal views from this town. Looks like a great place to relax!

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