Mossel Bay is a small resort town at the foothills of the famous South African Garden Route. With 320 days of sunshine a year, it has the second mildest climate in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records, and an unhurried sense of hospitality and relaxation.
Cruise terminal: There is no cruise terminal in Mossel Bay, cruise ships dock in the small port or tender passengers ashore.
Shore excursions: Shore excursions in Mossel Bay are limited but rewarding for their quality.
Language: English primarily, but there are 11 official languages in South Africa
Staying safe: Mossel Bay is a safe and secure town that relies on tourism, crime isn’t a concern.
Currency: The South African rand
Mossel Bay is a sleepy, safe and chilled out town quite at odds with the bustling cosmopolitan ports of Cape Town and Durban.
Cruise tourists in Mossel Bay can enjoy walks along the beautiful beaches, horseback riding or whale and dolphin watching.
Like all other South African cruise ports, there are also game safaris on offer, where big game can be spotted from an open-top 4×4. A particularly popular shore excursion offered in Mossel Bay is a boat trip to Seal Island, populated by over 2,500 Cape fur seals and surrounded by Great White sharks.
In the town itself the Bartholomeu Dias Museum Complex is a popular attraction. It’s home to many of the surviving buildings from Mossel Bay’s history as an important re-watering stop for ships rounding the Cape during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Dias spring and the complex itself is named after Bartolomeu Dias, a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household. He sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, becoming the first European to reach the Indian Ocean from the Atlantic.
Also within the complex is the ‘post office tree’, the imposing milkwood served as a message drop off and pick up point for mariners rounding the Cape in the 16th and 17th centuries, its still used for this purpose by cruise passengers today.
The cruise terminal in Mossel Bay
There is no cruise terminal in Mossel Bay, small cruise ships berth within the itsy-bitsy Mossel Bay Harbour, but most anchor offshore and tender passengers to the harbour pier, from which the Bartolomeu Dias museum and the town centre are within easy walking distance.
Currency and language in Mossel Bay
The South African rand is the only currency in Mossel Bay, major currencies such as the US dollar, British pound and euro may be accepted by some street sellers, but its hit-and-miss. There are cash machines and exchange places in the town centre.
English is spoken by everyone, even though most Mossel Bay locals are of Xhosa, Afrikaans and Zulu descent.
Staying safe on a cruise to Mossel Bay
Mossel Bay is one of the safest places in South Africa, violent crime is extremely rare, the greatest danger is of inconvenience due to the occasional pick pocketer.
Is Mossel Bay good for shopping?
Mossel Bay is great for curio and handcrafts browsing as there are no Chinese-made tat, everything is purely of Mossel Bay origin. There is a craft shop next to the Tourism Info office, as well as a number of street sellers on the waterfront.
For ship buffs, the Model Shipyard in Ocean View Mall is a must visit, you can tour the factory and see how detailed ship models are produced. You can also, of course, buy one or two to take with you or have it shipped directly to your home by DHL.
Who cruises to Mossel Bay?
Just down the coast from South Africa’s cruise hub of Cape Town, midway between the Mother City and Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay is a popular cruise destination.
There are 20 cruise itineraries featuring Mossel Bay as a port call, most of them cruising from Cape Town as the embarkation port.