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Stilbaai or Still Bay Garden Route South Africa - Far from the madding crowd

Stilbaai – or Bay of Sleeping Beauty (due to its close proximity to the Sleeping Beauty Moun­tain) - is located on the Goukou River estuary, where it meets the Indian Ocean. This quaint and tranquil seaside village is situated between Mossel Bay and Riversdale, and is easily ac­cessible from the N2.

Photo: Miranda Panda‎

The village is surrounded by long stretches of white sandy beaches – which includes an in­ternational Blue Flag beach – and a river, navi­gable for fifteen kilometers. The small harbour is a wonderful attraction, where fresh fish can be bought directly from the working fishermen. Stilbaai also has an aircraft landing strip, suit­able for small aircraft. Stilbaai forms part of the migratory whale route that stretches between the Gouritz River Mouth and Witsand, where Southern Right Whales migrate to calve and frolic in the surf annually. These majestic creatures may be viewed be­tween mid-July and mid-November, each year.

Photo: Francois Fourie‎

The rocky Morris Point Cape above the Stilbaai harbour is a well-known surfing destination among the surfing fraternity, and preferred by more seasoned surfers. Always wanted to learn to surf? Attend one of the surf camps presented in Stilbaai during December and January holi­day season!. The coastal belt and natural environment pro­vides suitable shelter, food and nesting for a wide variety of migratory and indigenous bird species. More than 250 bird species have been spotted within a radius of twenty kilometers ad­jacent to Stilbaai. Species spotted include the African Fish Eagle, Brown Hooded King Fisher and Amethyst Sunbird.

 Photo: Tamara Breytenbach‎

The only tame eels in South Africa reside in a fountain adjacent to the Palinggat Homestead in Stilbaai – the home of the Stilbaai Tourism Bu­reau. These eels are hand fed at 11h00 each day and may be viewed by the public.

Stilbaai has a number of interesting archeologi­cal sites worth visiting, which include:
• Blombos Cave, well known for its archaeological discoveries made there in 1991 by Chris Hehilwood.

• Ancient Shell Middens along the coastline

• Ancient San Rock Paintings found throughout the region.

• Ancient fish traps, constructed around 3000 years ago by the Khoi-San – or Strandlopers – to capture fish at low tide.

Photo: Heidi Strydom‎

Stilbaai accommodation includes beach cottag­es, holiday flats, lodges, caravan parks, beach houses, dune houses, self-catering facilities and a backpackers’ lodge. There are a number of restaurants and coffee shops in the area, cater­ing to a variety of tastes. For those in search of a unique culinary expe­rience, Stilbaai is home to a progressive and unique distillery creating small batch gins, rums and liquors from rare, hand harvested wild Af­rican fynbos. The Inverroche distillery offers daily tours and tasting. Kasselshoop Cheese factory cultivates a range of handcrafted cheeses, and cheese and wine pairing tours are by ar­rangement.

In addition to experiencing Stilbaai’s idyllic set­ting, the following attractions and activities can be enjoyed by visitors:

• Angling • Antiques • Archaeology & archaeological tours • Art route • Arts and crafts • Bird watching • Blue Flag beaches • Boat cruises • Canoeing • Day trips • Golf • Guided walks • Hiking • Historical buildings • Horse trails • Kite surfing • Museums • Nature reserves • Plane flips • Sailing • Sight seeing • Surfing • Touch rugby • Tours • Whale watching