Built along a rocky peninsula, Mossel Bay, South Africa, has a number of Portuguese flags and names dotted around, thanks to the first Europeans to moor in the bay—Bartolomeu Dias in 1488, followed by Vasco da Gama 1497. The town was named by a Dutch trader, Cornelis de Houtman, who in 1595 found a pile of mussel shells in a cave below the present lighthouse.
The bay's safe anchorage and freshwater spring ensured that it became a regular stopping-off point for other seafarers, and today many of the local attractions relate to the sea and reflect the bay's importance to the early explorers. Don't miss the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex, where the displays in the Maritime Museum are arranged around a full-size replica of Bartolomeu Dias' caravel.
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