Stilbaai, also known as the Bay of the Sleeping Beauty, is a beautiful seaside village which forms part of the Garden Route. The town lies 26km from the N2 main road between Mossel Bay and Riversdale, and is a convenient stopover between Cape Town and Knysna. Stilbaai has a rather small population, but sees tens of thousands of holidaymakers over the summer vacation. It is situated along the banks of the Goukou River where it meets the Indian Ocean on the Southern Cape coastline.
The beaches in Stilbaai are clean and easily accessible. The best spots for swimming are located at the mouth of the river and near the fish traps. Stilbaai offers a coastline with sandy beaches and a river that is navigable for 15km which is ideal for water sports, such as water-skiing, boating, diving, rock angling, deep-sea fishing and kite-surfing.
If you enjoy outdoor activities, the clean unpolluted air of Stilbaai will amaze you. A wide range of amenities exist for sporting activities, including a nine-hole golf course with provides panoramic views, bowling greens that are well kept, tennis and netball courts, rugby fields and squash courts. The town also has several hiking and mountain bike trails.
Stilbaai sees a large number of whales between July and October. A wide variety of antelope, tortoises and owls are seen regularly in town. The area also offers remarkable bird life.
Things to do in Stilbaai:
- Inverroche Distillery: a family owned, artisan distillery. Inverroche is the first gin distillery in South Africa, and the only one that focuses exclusively on making gin from traditional fynbos.
- The old fish traps: Stilbaai locals used these to catch fish. These traps are no more than stonewalls constructed between the high water and low-water marks. When the tide gets low, the fish are trapped in the pools and are easily caught.
- Blombos Cave: an archaeological site located in Blombosfontein Nature Reserve. The cave contains Middle Stone Age deposits currently dated at between c. 100,000 and 70,000 years before present (BP), and a Late Stone Age sequence. The Blombos Museum of Archaeology is dedicated to presenting to the public the stone age history of the area.
- Tuin op die Brak: a unique fynbos park featuring the calcareous limestone fynbos specific to this particular region.
- Visit one of the three blue flag beaches.
Things to do around Stilbaai:
- Albertinia (45 min drive): visit the Aloe Factory.
- Mossel Bay (1,5 hour drive): explore their historical tourist attractions such as the Maritime Museum and The Old Post Tree.
- Heidelberg (1,5 hour drive): enjoy a one or two day hiking trip to Grootvadersbosch, a beautiful indigenous forest.
- Witsand (1,5 hour drive): for the best whale watching in South Africa.
- George (2 hour drive): visit the Railway Museum.
- Oudtshoorn (2,5 hour drive via Riversdale, Garcia pass and Ladysmith): visit the Cango Caves, ostrich farms or Swartberg pass.
- Robertson (2,5 hour drive): visit the world famous winelands.