Mossel Bay, South Africa

The view of Pinnacle Point and St Blaize lighthouse in Mossel Bay, South Africa.

Introduction to Mossel Bay

The beautiful Mossel Bay was originally claimed, in 1488, by the Spanish explorer Bartholomew Dias.

There’s a full-size reproduction of his ship in the local Maritime Museum. However, it was a Dutch navigator who named it Mossel Bay after the plentiful supply of mussels found here. With a rich history, it’s hardly surprising that there are several important museums here. Apart from the Maritime Museum, there are others devoted to the wild flowers of the area, to seashells and to local cultural history. The town itself has lots of interest, including the 800-year-old milkwood tree outside the Post Office: following a tradition established in 1500, letters are posted here in a seaman’s boot! More active visitors have a choice of water-sports or to relax – there are over 24km of white-sand beaches.

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MOSSEL BAY - INFORMATION

Mossel Bay is a harbour town of approximately 130,000 people on the Southern Cape, or Garden Route of South Africa. It is an important tourism and farming region of the Western Cape Province.

Mossel Bay is a harbour town of approximately 130,000 people on the Southern Cape, or Garden Route of South Africa. It is an important tourism and farming region of the Western Cape Province. Mossel Bay lies 400 kilometres east of the country’s seat of parliament, Cape Town and 400 km west of Port Elizabeth, the largest city in the Eastern Cape Province. The older parts of the town occupy the north-facing side of the Cape St Blaize Peninsula, whilst the newer suburbs straddle the Peninsula and have spread eastwards along the sandy shore of the Bay. The warm waters of the Indian Ocean to the south, and the protective barrier of the Outeniqua Mountains to the north, act together to create almost idyllic weather patterns that, combined with kilometre after kilometre of sandy beaches, have given Mossel Bay the reputation for having the finest weather in South Africa.

The official currency of Mossel Bay is the South African Rand.


TOUR A - OYSTERS IN KNYSNA

Located in the Garden Route of South Africa, Knysna is beautifully surrounded by lush forests, clear lakes and beautiful beaches. It has been voted South Africa's favourite holiday town thanks to its wide selection of restaurants, fun activities and welcoming accommodation.

Price£48.00 - 52
DurationApprox. 4.75 hours
LimitationLimited to 80
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Snack includedSnack included
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

Located in the Garden Route of South Africa, Knysna is beautifully surrounded by lush forests, clear lakes and beautiful beaches. It has been voted South Africa's favourite holiday town thanks to its wide selection of restaurants, fun activities and welcoming accommodation.

 

Departing from the quayside we travel in an easterly direction towards George on the beautiful coastal road heading for the Wilderness. The elephants, sadly, are gone, but they say Leopards still glide silently through the deep shadows of the dense forest. The Wilderness National Park protects a RAMSAR site (wetlands of international importance), providing a safe home for as many as 250 different bird species.

 

Leaving the National Park behind us we continue with our scenic drive past forested mountains and golden beaches to Knysna. Lying on the banks of an enormous estuary, alongside South Africa’s most famous indigenous forests, Knysna is a town of supreme beauty. It is host to the Knysna Heads, Featherbed Nature Reserve and the Pezula golf course.

 

We shall travel to the Knysna heads for a brief orientation of Knysna town, before making a panoramic photo stop and heading to a local renowned restaurant for a glass of sparkling wine and oyster tasting.

 

Our return journey to Mossel Bay will be via an orientation tour of the town, ending off at the quayside.

 

TOUR NOTES: Comfortable clothing, binoculars and a sun hat are recommended for this tour. There is very limited walking involved, therefore it is considered suitable for guests with limited mobility.

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Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: Comfortable clothing, binoculars and a sun hat are recommended for this tour. There is very limited walking involved, therefore it is considered suitable for guests with limited mobility.


TOUR B - WONDERS OF OUDTSHOORN

  • Enjoy panoramic views of the famous Garden Route
  • Learn about ostrich farming and the different stages of development
  • Indulge yourself in a spot of ostrich racing!
Price£45.00 - £55.00
DurationApprox. 5 hours
LimitationLimited to 80
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included

The town of Oudtshoorn is in the Klein Karoo region between the Swartberg and Outeniqua mountains and is the ostrich capital of the world. Ostriches are found in large numbers and the region produces the best feathers, leather products and ostrich meat in the world; however the world’s biggest bird is just one of the many attractions in this area of exceptional contrasts and natural beauty.

The drive to George will follow the coastal road up to the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains. En-route you will have the chance to enjoy the stunning panoramic views of the famous Garden Route coastline from the comfort of the coach.

Once you reach George, your journey ill continue inland, taking your away from the coast and up into the Outeniqua Mountains. Here the rugged coastal landscape transforms into the stakly beautiful Karoo, with its desrt like arid climate and breathtaking scenery. Cross the scenic Outenique Pass which was constructed between 1943 and 1951, replacing the Montagu Pass as the main route From George into the interior. It was named after the Hottentot tribe who formerly lived there.

Upon crossing the Outeniqua Mountains, you will reach Oudtshoorn, the principal town of the Little Karoo. The Klein Karoo is an oasis-like setting in a fertile valley coupled by the Swartberg and Outeniqua mountain ranges, and originated as a settlement along the Grobbelaars Rivers which meanders southwards from the Swartberg, providing fertile soil and water for irrigation. Crops such as Lucerne, tobacco, fruit, grapes and grains grow here in abundance.

Continue to a local ostrich farm for a tour. The ostrich farm is a working farm where guests will see large flocks of ostriches at different stages of development in the surrounding fields. The tour will explain every aspect of ostrich farming, from breeding to rearing. The tour starts in the breeding camp, with a nest of ostrich eggs, where the first stage of the ostrich life cycle is explained. You will get the opportunity to test the strength of the eggs by standing on them – a great photo opportunity! For the more adventurous amongst you, you will have the opportunity to sit on an ostrich and even try your hand at riding one! Your tour of the farm will end with an “Ostrich Derby” where local jockeys display their riding skills.

As you make your way back to Mossel Bay via the Robinson Pass, the sun-scorched plains of the Little Karoo disappear and the landscape gives way to the delightful shade and greenery of the lush Garden Route forests.

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Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking over some uneven terrain at the ostrich farm, including approximately 15 steps; therefore it is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. All participants must wear comfortable shoes and take adequate sun protection.


TOUR C - SEAL ISLAND & SEAFARERS HISTORY

  • Capture a glimpse of the Cape Fur Seal relaxing on Seal Island
  • Be intrigued with a visit to the Dias Museum
Price£40.00 - 50
DurationApprox. 3 hours
LimitationLimited to 60 per departure
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking

Seal Island in Mossel Bay is populated by over 2,500 Cape Fur Seals, why not join our catamaran tour to view these amazing animals and see what other marine life we may spot along the way!

Leaving your ship behind, a short walk will take you to your departure point. Your tour will take you around Seal Island where whales and dolphins are often spotted! A photo stop at Seal Island will be made as up to 4000 seals can be seen.

Returning to the jetty, continue your tour of Mossel Bay by coach, travelling to the Dias Museum. Bartolomeu Dias was the first European to set foot on South African soil at Mossel Bay. The museum grounds are situated on the very site where he came ashore and made contact with indigenous people. The Dias Museum complex encompasses a wealth of places of historical interest.

The most famous is the Old Post Office Tree. The complex consists of three buildings: the granary that serves as reception and info centre, the maritime museum and the Shell museum and aquarium.

After visiting the museum you will continue your sightseeing tour where a photo stop will be made at the Point at Mossel Bay. Your return drive will be via the town and back to the harbour of Mossel Bay.

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Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour is weather dependent and the itinerary may be changed or cancelled at late notice. The boat is boarded by gangway with steps; therefore it is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. Sun protection is strongly recommended. Please be aware that although wildlife is often seen it can never be guaranteed.


TOUR D - KNYSNA AT LEISURE

  • Discover the quaint town of Knysna
  • Explore independently and take home that all important souvenir
Price£35.00 - £45.00
DurationApproximately 4¼ hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

For the more independent traveller, this tour is perfect! With a transfer to and from Knysna and a short drive of the area, the rest of the time here is yours to explore.

Departing the quayside, you will begin your drive from Mossel Bay to Knysna passing through the Wilderness Lakes Area, South Africa’s own Lake District which stretches from Wilderness, past Swartvlei, the Wilderness National Park and Brenton-on-Sea. The quaint town of Knysna, which is located on a lagoon, the mouth of which is guarded by two promontories known as the Knysna Heads. The origins of the town name are probably from the Hottentot words Xthuys Xna, which mean place where the wood is. An entire industry sprang up around the beautiful yellowwood trees in the surrounding Tsitsikamma Forest, until South Africa’s national tree became an endangered species.

Approximately 90 minutes of time at leisure in Knysna will allow you to browse the shops and boutiques in town or stroll along the Quays waterfront.

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Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Please be aware that the amount of walking undertaken during this tour is at the guests’ own discretion; therefore it is suitable for guests with limited mobility and wheelchair users as long as they are able to board the transport unaided.


TOUR E - BOTLIERSKOP GAME RESERVE

  • Hunt for the 26 species that currently reside in this malaria free game reserve
  • Enjoy an exhilarating game drive upon a reserve that homes more than 1,800 animals
  • Don’t forget your camera!
Price£75.00 - £85.00
DurationApprox. 5.25 hours
LimitationLimited to 60
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking

Situated between the magnificent Outeniqua Mountains and unspoiled beaches of the Indian Ocean and in the heart of the Garden Route lies Botlierskop Private Game Reserve. This malaria free reserve is home to an abundance of animals including four of the big five and this is your destination for today!

Upon arrival we will be served welcome drinks before boarding your 4x4 open vehicles for an approximate two-and-a-half hour game drive.

Located in the Western Cape of South Africa, Botlierskop Private Game Reserve is blessed with a great diversity of habitat and wildlife. You will have an excellent opportunity to experience close encounters with rhinoceros, lions, buffalo, giraffe, rare black impala and much more during this exhilarating guided game drive. Great photo opportunities will a plenty, so a camera is a must!

Returning to the activity centre, you will reboard your coaches for the transfer back to Mossel Bay.

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Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour is not considered suitable for guests with walking difficulties or wheelchair users due to the large steps encountered to board the 4x4 vehicles. The terrain is very bumpy and not recommended for guests with back or neck problems or pregnant ladies. We recommend guests wear comfortable clothing, sunscreen and bring binoculars. Guests are not permitted to use mobile phones on or during the game drives. Guests are requested not to speak loudly or stand up on the game drive vehicles as this will disturb the animals. Smoking is not permitted during the game drives. Animal sightings are common, however they are not guaranteed. Botlierskop does not hold the rare leopard and is therefore not a big five reserve.


TOUR F - SHARK CAGE DIVING

  • Brace yourself as you come face to face to one of the world’s most feared animals
  • Observe the Great White Shark as it circles your cage
Activity Tour
Price£190.00 - £200.00
DurationApproximately 4-4½ hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Swimming time includedSwimming time included

For an unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience, join this unique tour that will give you the chance to observe the menacing, yet graceful great white shark!

Beginning with the short walk to the departure point you will arrive at the boat launch and begin your shark watching expedition. Following a safety briefing you will depart the quayside and take the approximate 20 – 25 minute ride to the anchor site. Here, a cage containing an expert and brave diver will be lowered into the water. After a scent trail is laid, the elusive great white shark will be enticed to come into view. This really is an experience not to be missed and not for the faint hearted!

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2018 AROUND AFRICA CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR FOR YOU? This tour involves a small amount of walking between the ship and departure point, however participants must be agile enough to climb over the edge of the boat and into the cage; therefore this tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. All diving equipment will be supplied including mask, wetsuit and booties. Disposable waterproof cameras will be available to purchase locally for 300Rand (correct at time of going to print). This tour is weather dependent and may be cancelled at short notice. The boat will not be exclusive to Fred Olsen guests. Please make sure that you come wearing your swimwear under your clothes and don’t forget a towel, sun protection, rubber soled shoes and all participants must have ether their passport or driving licence. A toilet will be available onboard the boat but this is for emergency use only. No diving experience is necessary as the cage sits approximately one metre (three feet) below the surface so participants will be required to hold their breath and return to the surface when needed although snorkels will be available to use. All participants must be 12 years and over in order to participate. It is possible to participate in this tour but not enter the cage (no reduction in price). Any cancellations from this tour after four days prior to the call will be charged full cancellation charges. Although common, shark sightings are never guaranteed. Time spent in the cage for each participant will be dependent on shark sightings.


TOUR G - MOSSEL BAY ORIENTATION

  • Admire the beach and harbour side city of Mossel Bay
  • Spend time exploring the Dias Museum
Price£45.00 - £55.00
DurationApproximately 2 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included

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

Departing from the pier, you will begin a 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 to the area.

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 after 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 to the museum, you will rejoin your coach and transfer back to the pier.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2018 AROUND AFRICA CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves approximately one hour of walking inside the museum complex with some uneven ground and steps to negotiate at the Dias Museum, however guests not able to manage these steps may remain on the transport or the ground floor.


TOUR H - KNYSNA PADDLE CRUISER

  • Enjoy orientation tours of both Mossel Bay and Knysna
  • Be intrigued by a cruise on Knysna River aboard the only South African paddle cruiser
  • Indulge in a three course buffet lunch
Boat Tour
Price£90.00 - £100.00
DurationApproximately 7 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Snack includedSnack included
Free time includedFree time included

If you are looking for something a little bit different then step aboard the Paddle Cruiser that will take you along the Knysna River whilst enjoying a buffet lunch.

Departing the quayside, a short orientation tour of Mossel Bay will be followed by the drive to Knysna. Travelling in an easterly direction to George and further along the beautiful coastal road via Wilderness to Knysna. En-route you will pass through the Wilderness Lakes Area, South Africa’s own Lake District which stretches from Wilderness, passed Swartvlei, the Wilderness National Park and Brenton-on-sea.

Lying on the banks of an enormous estuary, alongside South Africa’s most famous indigenous forests, Knysna is a town of supreme beauty. Upon arrival at Knysna, enjoy a short orientation tour followed by some time at leisure to explore your surroundings or do a little shopping.

Back onboard your coach you will transfer to the jetty where you embark the Paddle Cruiser on the Knysna Lagoon for a cruise to view Knysna Heads. The Knysna Heads is one of the most striking geological feature along the South African coastline. They flank a deep but potentially treacherous channel through which the sea pours in to flood the wide and breathtakingly pretty lagoon at the mouth of the Knysna River.

For a unique cruise and dining experience – with a modern and trendy twist – The Paddle Cruiser offers a lunch service onboard. This is the only paddle-driven vessel in South Africa and is a unique dining venue in Knysna. Enjoy a sumptuous three course buffet lunch whilst appreciating 360 degree views of the lagoon and its beautiful surroundings.

Upon your return to the jetty, you will reboard your coach for the journey back to Mossel Bay in the late afternoon.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2018 AROUND AFRICA CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of walking with five steps to negotiate in order to embark the paddle cruiser; therefore this tour is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. Please be aware that depending on numbers the paddle cruiser will not be exclusive to Fred Olsen guests and seating onboard will not be specifically reserved for your group. Your buffet lunch will include one drink (local beer, house wine or soft drink), any further drinks will be payable locally. This tour is weather dependent.


TOUR I - NKONZO CONSERVATION

  • Learn how work completed by Nkonzo is important to conservation issues, animal ethics and sustainability
  • Spend time asking questions you may have about the conservation issues at play in Southern Africa
Price£110.00 - £120.00
DurationApproximately 6 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

The conservation of wildlife in South Africa is a very important part of society and one that is close to many human’s hearts. Nkonzo Bush Academy is a popular and highly regarded destination for ethical research, conservation and ecotourism and this will be your destination for the day.

Founded on the dream of being different, the name Nkonzo comes from Lingala, a language in central Africa, meaning possibility or new beginnings. At Nkonzo they are creating experiences that not only focus on the ethical wellbeing of all animals, both human and not, but the future of the environment by making a positive impact on the conservation industry and the lives of African Wildlife.

After a short drive to Nkonzo, your day will consist of joining their team members on an observational research programme on white rhinos. This is not a typical game drive but is instead an opportunity to see the behind the scenes of the Wildlife Conservation Industry. The property is home to the big five and there may be a chance to view these during your stay but the priority of the day is to complete research on the white rhino.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2018 AROUND AFRICA CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves small amounts of walking over uneven ground; therefore it is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. Participants will need to be able to climb into a 4x4 touring vehicle unaided. The roads in the game reserve are gravel with inclines which can be bumpy; therefore not recommended for guests with back or neck problems. Wildlife sightings are never guaranteed and the conservation program is subject to wildlife sightings. Please be aware no animals are darted, injured or trapped during this tour. Toilet facilities are available to use before and after departure for the conservation drive.


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