Stilbaai is a charming seaside village that forms part of the famous “Garden Route” with its close neighbors Jongensfontein and Melkhoutfontein. It is situated along the banks of the Goukou River estuary where it meets the Indian Ocean on the Southern Cape coast of South Africa.
The town can be reached by road and lies 26 kilometers from the turnoff of the N2 main road between Mossel Bay and Riversdale. Stilbaai can also be reached by air or sea. The town is serviced by a national airport at George, 150 km to the east and the local airstrip for small aircraft as well as a fishing harbor.
FUN IN THE SUN
Stilbaai is the perfect holiday destination where, thanks to the shallow bay, the clean extensive sandy beaches, (of which “Lappiesbaai” has Blue Flag status during the Dec – Jan holiday season) the lagoon and the 15 kilometers long navigable Goukou river, every kind of water-related activity can be undertaken: swimming, sunbathing, surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing, angling, walking, sailing, canoeing, boating, and waterskiing.
Other sports e.g. golf, tennis, bowls, “jukskei”, squash, cycling, mountain biking, can also be done to one’s heart’s content.
All the necessary services such as medical and supply services which include three franchised grocery shops, many excellent restaurants, and take-away food outlets, clothing shops, beauty salons, gift shops, hairdressers, sports shops.
Despite the rapid development of the town, well-balanced commercial interests are maintained and the natural environment is fervently protected.
The permanent population of Stilbaai and the two adjacent villages, Jongensfontein and Melkhoutfontein, is approximately 7000.
Although the popularity of Stilbaai as one of the best tourist destinations on the Garden Route has been well established and is ever-increasing, it remains a pollution-free, safe and peaceful place to be.
Hessequa's Blue Flag Beaches for 2019/2020 are:
🌊 Lappiesbaai - for the 15th time
🌊 Preekstoel - for the 7th time
🌊 Stilbaai West - for the first time
🌊 Jongensfontein - for the first time
- Witsand - for the 10th time
- Gouritsmond - for the 3rd time
Visit the Stilbaai Tourism Bureau housed in the Palinggat Homestead in Stilbaai where you will see the only tame eels in South Africa fed in the fountain adjacent to the Tourism Bureau.
These freshwater eels belong to the Anguilla genus of the family Anquillidae. The eels in the Palinggat Fountain have been living here for the past 125 years. These eels move to a specific area in the ocean to mate and spawn. The larvae are carried to the mainland of Africa by ocean currents.
The environment at the Palinggat Fountain seems to be ideal for the eels. Nowhere else in the country are so many eels concentrated in one secluded environment and as tame as the "Palinggat" eels. To feed Stilbaai’s special ‘inhabitants’, the eels that have been living at the Palinggat Homestead in the freshwater pond is quite a unique activity when in Stilbaai.
They are pampered and cherished by the staff of the Tourism Bureau and are hand-fed daily on chicken livers which are open for viewing by the public (The eels are being fed every day at 11:00 (excluding Sundays) and visitors can join in the experience for a small fee.)
The Blombos Museum of Archaeology, a world-class asset to Hessequa and its people is located in Stilbaai in the historic de Jagerhuis-opstal, Palinggat.
This little specialized museum is dedicated to presenting to the public, the stone age history of the area and specifically, the findings at the Blombos cave and the work carried out by Professor Chris Henshilwood.
The displays include descriptive panels and stone tool artifacts of the earlier, middle and later stone age and artifacts from the Blombos cave itself,
The most significant find in the Blombos cave was a small piece of ochre inscribed deliberately by human hand with a cross-hatched pattern and an accurate replica is on display. This has been dated 75000 years before present and although the meaning of the inscription is not known, it is an example of modern abstract thought and this piece of ochre is believed to be the world’s oldest example of art.
Also on display is the world’s oldest necklace.
Little freshwater “Tic” shells were excavated in the Blombos cave also from the 75000-year layers. The remarkable fact here is that it has been shown that each shell has a handmade little hole and that these shells were strung together and worn as body adornment.
The original shells which were excavated from the Blombos the cave is considered as the world’s oldest necklace and a replica of the necklace are on display
An archaeological site located in Blombosfontein Nature Reserve, Still Bay, which contains Middle Stone Age artefacts, e.g. marine shell beads, engraved ochre and bone, stone and bone tools, faunal and human remains, the Still Bay bi-facial points and an ochre processing workshop.
Die Blombosgrot naby Stilbaai is ‘n argeologiese terrein wat Middel-Steentydperk-artefakte bevat soos seeskulpkraletjies, klip- en beenimplemente, stoflike oorskot van mense en diere, ‘n okerprosesseringswerksplek en die Stilbaai punte.
The Blombos Cave between Still Bay and Jongensfontein has been declared a provincial heritage site. It is not open for the public. Visit the Blombos Museum of Archaeology which is accommodated in the Still Bay Tourism Bureau for a full insight on the cave and the discoveries made.
At Blombos Cave nearby, 300km from Cape Town, researchers have found unquestionable proof of Homo sapiens – or “modern intelligent human beings” – living in the area around 120 000 to 50 000 years ago.
The excavations at the world-famous archeological Blombos Cave site, overlooking the sea, have yielded many important riches. These include delicately crafted stone and bone implements preceding comparable European artefacts by more than 80 000 years, and at least 8 000 pieces of ochre, used as colour pigment by early humans.
Researchers have found that successive colonies of hunter gatherers lived in the small cave, hunting, fishing and gathering seafood; that they painted their bodies; and that they created abstract symbols. The first known drawing was found here as well, a silcrete flake with a hatched cross pattern drawn on it with ochre.
Researchers have found that successive colonies of hunter gatherers lived in the small cave, hunting, fishing and gathering seafood; that they painted their bodies; and that they created abstract symbols.
While the cave itself is not open to the public, the Blombos Museum of Archaeology in Stilbaai presents its Stone Age history, stone tool artifacts, and examples of ancient rock art. There is also a replica of a piece of ochre inscribed with a pattern and believed to be 75 000 years old.
Stilbaai is on the migratory whale route that has the highest gathering of whales in the world every year in Stilbaai. The Southern Right Whales visit annually between June and November to bear their calves. Watch them playing around from Lappiesbaai beach or the whale look-out point above the harbour.
Southern Right Whales are usually approximately 15m long, weigh about 50 to 60 tons and live to about 100 years. They are characterized by their gentle slowness, the lack of a dorsal fin and rough patches of skin called callosities on their heads. These wart-like growths are covered with whale lice and, as each whale has a unique callosity pattern, are often used to identify individual whales.