The harbour town of Mossel Bay on South Africa’s Garden Route is a happy mix of history, heritage and natural attractions centred on 60km (37mi) of sandy beaches, where you can swim, sail, surf, fish and walk year round. Adventurers can do shark cage dives, scuba dive, sky dive or take heli-flips. There’s also hiking, sandboarding, quad or mountain biking and horse riding. History buffs can visit the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Centre named for the Portuguese explorer who sailed around the southern tip of Africa in 1488.
A five-star beachfront hotel, this offers everything from standard rooms to superior suites, all in white with cool shades of grey. Laze in a lounger on a private deck or in a jacuzzi, bathe in the tidal pool, or join a wine tasting or art workshop.
Pinnacle clinched the title Best Golf Course in Africa at the 2020 World Golf Awards, and it’s easy to see why. The setting on a cliff top with 270-degree views of the sea is spectacular, and the design by Peter Matkovich has produced challenging holes. Stay in one of the three-storey lodges in the landscaped grounds with swimming pools, and dine in Pinnacle Restaurant, surrounded by the greens.
Set against a hillside above the beach in a quiet cul-de-sac, this has airy suites in subtle shades, overlooking the sea and the Outeniqua Mountains. Alida and Noel Hudson are attentive hosts, who will happily fill you in on local history over their leisurely breakfasts. Restaurants and shops are just down the road.
Built on the rocks below St Blaize Lighthouse, the Point has 49 rooms and suites in shades of sand and sea, all with great ocean views. Climb the steps of the lighthouse (open for visits April to October, and other times by appointment), and swim in the tidal pool. Then get pampered in the Nirvana Spa before tucking into a steak or a lamb curry in the Lighthouse Restaurant.
This quirky family-run hotel reflects the love, care and colourful tastes of the Clayphans, who named it for grandmother, Betty. Her love of fine China teacups and baking is reflected in the pretty china, cake stands and silver teapots used today by granddaughter Daisy, a passionate cook with a culinary arts degree. Breakfasts are legendary, and afternoon teas and three-course dinners are available on request.
Families are the focus of this resort, set on a rocky hillside. Choose between two- and three-bedroom open-plan comfortable apartments, all self-catering with well-equipped kitchens, and overlooking the sea. There’s a heated swimming pool, big playground, kids’ club, games arcade and bicycles for hire.
Standing three storeys above a pale deck with a heated pool and 180-degree sea views, this modern manor has suites named for South African lighthouses, decorated in blue-and-white checks, florals and faded kelims. Ask for the Cape Hangklip, with its beautifully carved wooden bed, pale wood floors and glass doors opening to a balcony and the view. There are restaurants nearby.
Built in 1846, the main building is one of the oldest in Mossel Bay. The hotel has become a landmark above Santos Bay and the harbour, part of the Dias Museum Complex. There are 38 rooms and suites, the presidential featuring exposed white roof trusses and furnished in misty greys. The Cafe Gannet seafood restaurant serves fresh, sustainable seafood, from pan-seared tuna steak dusted in Cajun spice with a sesame crust, to crumbed sole with a mussel and white-wine ragout with Asian greens.