Situated halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay offers more than 37 miles of beaches and at least 300 days of sunshine a year. Known as the location where the first Europeans made landfall on South African soil in 1488, today’s Mossel Bay is one of the country’s most popular beach destinations, as well as a haven for outdoor adventurers.

Port: Mossel Bay
Experience

Mossel Bay

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  • Scenic Mountain Passes

    Journey into the majestic Outeniqua Mountains via scenic passes that lead from semi-desert terrain to fertile valleys, all of it breathtakingly beautiful.

    Departing from the pier, you will drive east along the magnificently scenic Garden Route, passing ancient forests, golden beaches and craggy peaks covered in a flowering scrub called fynbos. Upon reaching the town of George, which was established in the early 1800s for timbering, you will head inland into the Outeniqua Mountains.

    The terrain will soon change from rugged coastal to an arid, desert-like landscape known as Karoo. In time, you will cross the Outeniqua Pass along a highway that was painstakingly blasted out of the nearly impenetrable bedrock. The road is one of the most spectacular in this part of South Africa and contains lovely sweeping curves that offer panoramic views in all directions. During the drive, you will learn about the history of Outeniqua Pass, which was named after the indigenous people that once lived here.

    In time, you will reach Oudtshoorn, which lies in an oasis-like setting in a fertile valley. The principal crops are fruit, grapes and grains. Much of the architecture in town reflects the opulence of the Ostrich Feather Boom from 1860-1914, when Oudsthoorn supplied ostrich feathers for ladies clothing throughout Europe.

    Following a brief stop for refreshments, you will return to Mossel Bay via the Robinson Pass, another gorgeous route through the mountains.

    Please note: This tour is primarily panoramic in nature with limited walking at the stops. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; binoculars; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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  • Discover Oudtshoorn & Its Ostrich Heritage

    Enjoy a picturesque drive into the mountains to Oudtshoorn, an agricultural community where you will tour an ostrich farm and perhaps even ride one of these giant birds.

    Departing from the pier, you will drive east along the magnificently scenic Garden Route, passing ancient forests, golden beaches and craggy peaks covered in a flowering scrub called fynbos. Upon reaching the town of George, you will head inland into the Outeniqua Mountains.

    The terrain will soon change from rugged coastal to a desert-like landscape known as Karoo. In time, you will cross the Outeniqua Pass along a highway that was painstakingly blasted out of the nearly impenetrable bedrock. The road offers spectacular views in all directions.

    After approximately one and three-quarters hours, you will reach Oudtshoorn, which lies in an oasis-like setting in a fertile valley. Much of the architecture in town reflects the opulence of the Ostrich Feather Boom from 1860-1914, when Oudsthoorn supplied ostrich feathers for ladies clothing throughout Europe.

    Ostrich are still abundant, but today they supply skins, meat and entertainment in the form of ostrich shows. While visiting a working farm, you will learn how these giant birds are bred and reared. You may even see ostriches hatching in the incubator rooms dependent upon the time of your visit. An ostrich egg is so hard, you can stand on one without breaking it: a popular photo opportunity. Guests have the opportunity of sitting with an ostrich. Or if you prefer, you can simply be a spectator and watch jockeys show their riding skills in an Ostrich Derby. Following your visit, it’s time to re-board your coach and travel back to the pier in Mossel Bay.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 1-hour of moderate walking that includes gravel and uneven surfaces. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not recommended for those with mobility concerns. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; binoculars; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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  • Highlights of Mossel Bay

    Discover the intriguing history of Mossel Bay by driving around the seafaring city and then exploring a museum complex dedicated to the first European to land in South Africa.

    Departing from the pier, you will begin an enlightening drive around Mossel Bay, a beach-blessed city in the shadow of the Outeniqua Mountains. A Dutch explorer named the bay in 1601 when he found a huge collection of mussel shells in a nearby cave. The area is still known for its mussels. In fact, seafood and water-based activities such as surfing are major draws.

    Driving around the charming streets of Mossel Bay, you will learn that South Africa’s first post office was established here centuries ago when sailors left letters in the cleft of a milkwood tree so that other sailors could deliver them on their journeys. Now a national monument, the 500-year-old tree stands near the Dias Museum complex. It is named for Portuguese navigator Bartholomeu Dias, the first European to set foot in South Africa while searching for a spice route to the Far East.

    During your time at the museum complex you may see the Maritime Museum, where a replica of Dias’ ship is on exhibit, as well as early maps and navigation instruments. The building was once a granary and sawmill. There is also an intriguing Shell Museum and aquarium there. Following your visit at the complex, you will rejoin your coach and transfer back to the pier.

    Please note: There is an approximately 1-hour easy walk through the grounds of the Dias Museum complex which can be arranged with the guide not to participate in. There are a few steps to negotiate and ramps are available for wheelchair guests. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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  • Knysna At Leisure

    Follow the breathtaking Garden Route to the town of Knysna, where you are free to explore the waterfront boutiques and galleries at your leisure.

    Departing from the pier, you will drive east along the magnificently scenic Garden Route, passing ancient forests, golden beaches and craggy peaks covered in a flowering scrub called fynbos. The landscape is stunningly beautiful, especially in the Wilderness Lakes region that leads into the town of Knysna (pronounced “nize-nuh”).

    Tucked between the Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean, Knysna is a natural paradise rimmed by forest. Its name is thought to mean “place of wood” in Khoisan, the language of the earliest inhabitants.

    Even so, the town is quite cosmopolitan and has retained much of its original charm, as you will discover during free time at the waterfront. There are plenty of shops and galleries to browse for high-end crafts and restaurants for dining. Because of Knysna’s proximity to several estuaries, rivers and the ocean, seafood is a favorite, especially dishes with oysters.

    The atmosphere at the waterfront couldn’t be more relaxing or inviting, and the streets are laid out in a simple grid so it’s easy to find your way around. The island you see just across the tidal lagoon is Thesens, which was named for a Norwegian timber merchant who settled here in 1869. Following your time in Knysna, you will rejoin your coach and return to the pier in Mossel Bay.

    Please note: Walking on this tour is mainly at the guests’ discretion during free time in Knysna. There are a few steps to negotiate and ramps are available for wheelchair guests. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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  • Botlierskop Private Game Reserve

    Drive deep into the African bush on a game drive at a private reserve, where you may spot free-roaming animals such as elephants, lions and giraffe.

    Departing from the pier, you will enjoy a leisurely drive inland to the beautiful Botlierskop Private Game Reserve and Safari Park, an area of immense bio-diversity. While the variety of plants and eco-systems attract more than 200 species of birds, the larger creatures such as elephants, lions and giraffe are the true attractions.

    Following a welcome drink at the reserve’s Visitors Center, you will board an open 4x4 vehicle and drive deep into the Botlierskop private game reserve. The animals roam freely, so there is no telling what you will see over the next two hours. But it is likely you will experience close encounters with a variety of indigenous creatures that may include white rhinos, mountain zebras, blue wildebeest, impalas and lions. Smaller animals such as honey badgers, porcupines, and rock hyrax are also in abundance.

    The vehicles used during your game drive are ideal for viewing, so you can be sure the experience will be inspiring. Afterwards, you will return to the Visitors Center where you will re-board your coach for the drive back to the pier in Mossel Bay.

    Please note: This tour is mostly seated. The roads in the game reserve are gravel and during the game drive you may experience inclines and bumpy conditions. The tour is not suitable for wheelchair guests and not recommended for those with mobility concerns, back or neck problems. Light colored casual clothing to include a windbreaker; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; binoculars; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Minimum age to participate is 6 years of age. In order to avoid disturbing the animals, during the game drive guests are not permitted to talk on their mobile phones, stand on the game vehicles or speak loudly. Smoking is strictly prohibited. Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed and the lions are housed in a separate enclosed area. The operator requires that all guests sign a waiver before being allowed to participate in the tour.

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