Price range, per nightmin R max R
*All distances listed are as the crow flies, and not actual travel distances.
The Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex is located on the very spot where Portuguese mariner Bartolomeu Dias, the first European to ever set foot on the southern shores of Africa, landed in 1488 to pave the way for a sea route around the horn of Africa. Dias discovered a fresh spring near to the shore and named it Aguada de São Bras, meaning watering place of Saint Blaize. This lovely sheltered bay is called Mossel Bay and is a regular stopover for visitors to the Garden Route which extends along this stretch of the southern coastline of South Africa. During the late 16th century and early 17th century, Mossel Bay was used as a refreshment station and where a ship captain once left a letter warning others of pending unrest in India. This ancient old postal tree still survives and the 5 buildings that make up the Bartolomeu Dias museum complex are concentrated around both the tree and the spring, and set amongst landscaped gardens.
Enter the Granary to obtain information regarding the museum complex and to view the various exhibits on display. The Maritime Museum holds a replica of Dias’ caravel, built in Portugal in 1987 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of his epic journey, along with various exhibits that include shipping logs, maps and ancient navigational tools.
The Shell Museum contains the largest collection of shells in South Africa and has an interesting touch tank. The museum is laid out in the shape of a snail’s shell.
Outside is a Braille Trail for the visually impaired to learn of the region’s flora. In the gardens are giant whale bones recovered from nearby beaches.
A few Malay graves were discovered in 1968, one of which is believed to be that of an Imam (Muslim leader), and used as a place of worship by local Muslims.
Grab a self-guided map from the Info Centre to enjoy the complex at your leisure and chill in the well laid out gardens where it’s believed some of the plants originated from Dias’ days. Before departing, post a letter in the shoe under the postal tree to receive a special commemorative franking on the letter.