Burg Altena, Germany

Mossel Bay is situated halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on a sun-washed peninsula embraced by the warm Indian Ocean. The Place where Cultures CONTINUE to meet... after more than 500 years!

Mossel Bay with the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex is considered to be the historical capital of the Garden Route. More than 500 years ago, fearless European navigators began their great voyages of trade and discovery to the East. Rounding the tip of Africa toward the heady aromas of wealth from the East, became the burning ambition of the early Portuguese explorers. First to achieve this impossible dream was Bartolomeu Dias. Blown around the tip of Africa in 1488, he eventually set foot on South African soil at the present day Mossel Bay. Many visits were concluded with successful trade between Europeans and the indigenous Khoi-Khoi group on the shores of Mossel Bay. Today Mossel Bay is STILL known as the place where Cultures meet.

The BARTOLOMEU DIAS MUSEUM COMPLEX, consisting of four different Museums, seven National Monuments and extensive indigenous gardens, receives over 250 000 visitors per year. A visit to the Museum Complex is a fascinating and colourful journey through the past.


The MARITIME MUSEUM is dedicated to the visonary empire-builders who first shone the light of discovery upon this southern part of the Dark Continent. A full-scale replica of Dias' ship is the main exhibit inside the Martime Museum. This 'Caravel' was built in Portugal and set sail for Mossel Bay to arrive 500 years after Bartolomeu Dias at the "Dias '88 Commemoration". Visitors may now board the 130 ton ship and explore the intricate wooden decks inside the Maritime Museum.
The SHELL MUSEUM AND AQUARIUM boasts the largest Shell Museum in Africa and the aquatic tanks are home to various fish species and molluscs of the area. A unique 'touch-tank' enables the visitor to make closer contact with our water-loving friends.
The CULTURE MUSEUM contains the key to the early history of the town and depicts the rich heritage of Mossel Bay and its people. The GRANARY displays the glorious fauna which gives the Garden Route its name and lets one take a glimpse at the magnificence of the mountain passes and wagon trails of the area. The old POST OFFICE TREE which is over 500 years old and is widely known as the first 'Post Office' in Southern Africa, may also be seen on the Museum grounds. Other attractions include the Munrohoek Cottages, Freshwater Spring and the site of the first place of Christian worship in Southern Africa, which was built by Joao da Nova in 1501.

*Audio Guided Tours
*Multilingual Satour personal guides for exclusive Museum/Town tours (by prior arrangement)
*Coffee Bar and Curio Shop inside Maritime Museum
*Annual Dias Commemoration in the first week of February

* Complementing the town and its features, are a wide variety of accommodation facilities and dining options to suit the needs of any discerning visitor. More things to do in Mossel Bay include: Northfacing beaches, Game Drives, St Blaize Hiking Trail and Cave, Pleasure boat rides around seal island, Sunset Cruises, Mullers touch farm, Shark Cage Diving, Boat-based Whale watching, Bunjy-Jumping, Snorkeling, Bird Farm, Khoi-Village, Marine World Aquarium, Goods Shed Indoor Flea Market, Steam Train Yard, Barnyard Theater, Fishing, Shopping - and day visits to the Cango Caves, Ostrich Farms, Crocodile Farms, Cheetah-Land, Knysna... AND MUCH MORE!

Hours of Museums making up the Complex:

Mon - Fri 09:00 to 16:45
Sat, Sun & Public holidays 09:00 to 16:00

(Same as Maritime Museum)

Mon - Fri 09:00 to 16:45
Saturdays 09:00 to 13:00

Mon - Fri 08:15 to 16:45

24Hr access

Did you know?...
* the first meeting between Europeans and the indigenous people of southern Africa took place in Mossel Bay in 1488?

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