Mossel Bay is a harbour town of about 60,000 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 (which is also the capital city of the Western Cape Province), and 400 km west of Port Elizabeth, the largest city in the Eastern Cape Province.The town's economy relied heavily on farming, fishing and its commercial harbour (the smallest in the Transnet Port Authority's stable of South African commercial harbours), until the 1969 discovery of natural offshore gas fields led to the development of the gas-to-liquids refinery operated by PetroSA. Tourism is another driver of Mossel Bay's economy.Mossel Bay has been a beach holiday destination for South Africans for more than a century — a situation that received a particular boost after the Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuur Vereniging (ATKV) bought the farm Hartenbos in the 1930s, and began developing it as a holiday resort for its members.The major attractions were then, and (to a large extent) still are, the dry, warm and stable weather, and the Indian Ocean and its beaches.
Mossel Bay has a strong tourism economy. The summer holiday season (from about mid-December to mid-January) is the busiest time of the year, and, in December 2010, the Municipality estimated that the town provided accommodation for between 50,000 and 60,000 holidaymakers per night during this period.The Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex is the largest of the museums in Mossel Bay. Originally designed to celebrate the arrival of Bartolomeu Dias and his crew on 3 February 1488, and to protect the Post Office Tree, the Complex now offers a wider look at the history of Mossel Bay from environmental, archaeological, and cultural perspectives.Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse (34.186028°S 22.156152°E) was built 1864 to designs by the Colonial engineer, R. Robinson. The original light (on a masonry tower 20.5 metres in height) was stationary, but in 1897 a revolving, clock-work light, which required winding every three hours, was fitted. This was used until the late 1970s. The light is now fully automated.Mossel Bay is also home to the Mossel Bay Yacht and Boat Club.