Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Choo Tjoe to Mossel Bay

If i suddenly dissapear for a couple of posts, don't worry. I seem to be loosing bandwidth somewhere and have a feeling that somebody is tapping in from somewhere. I'm hoping the problem will be sorted out soon. Anyway, on with the tour.

One of the most popular tourist attractions on the Garden Route is the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe steam train. Its usual route between George and Knysna was damaged very badly a couple of years ago and its furure was very bleak. Some bright spark then suggested that they run the other way from George and end up in Mossel Bay about 50km away. The trip takes about two or so hours and passes through a very scenic area, over a couple of rivers and along the coastline.
Mossel Bay is situated exactly halfway between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town and is along with George the other big town on the Garden Route. The town is a very important commercial centre for the surrounding area. The name Mossel Bay came from some of the first European explorers to come into the bay. The found a cave near the point of the bay full of mussle shells and called it Mossel Bay. The modern thinking on the reasons for the shells was that they were part of a Khoisan midden (junk heap) in the cave.

Mossel Bay is situated inthe only fully north facing bay on the South African coastline. It has the second most temperate climate in the world after Hawaii (Port Elizabeth is apparently fourth on that list) and has some beautiful beaches. Now this is not to scare anybody off from swimming there, but the ocean outside the bay is also one of the best areas in South Africa (after Gans Bay and False Bay) to do cage diving to watch the Great White Sharks.

The thing that Mossel Bay is most famous for is the fact that this is the spot where Bartholomew Dias became the first (known) European explorer to set foot in SA in 1488. In 1988 a replica of his Caraval was built in Portugal for the 500th anniversary of the event and was sailed to Mossel Bay. The replica is the centre peace of the Diaz Museum complex on the beachfront.


  1. I have trouble posting comments here unless I am logged on first. And I keep forgetting to log on first, so I hope this comment posts.

    I am convinced that you live in the most beautiful country in the world! I have never seen such exquisite scenery.

    You know, my mother saved a ticket from a train that went along that route, and I will bet it is the same train. I still have the ticket somewhere.


    I hope it is okay, I have saved a copy of the Wilderness Beach photograph. It is breathtaking!

    P.S. Blogger would not let me post a comment, so I had to leave, sign in and come back.

  2. Your coastline is so beautiful, these shots are gorgeous, and Steve is blown away by the steam train, ( hope you get your connection prob sorted :-) )

  3. Cool shots! You have some history going on there, Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Surely Table Bay and St Helena Bay are equally as north-facing as Mossel Bay?