Mossel Bay, located at the western-most end of the Garden Route, is known as the site of the 1488 landing of the Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Dias. From then on, many ships stopped here to get fresh water or barter with the Khoikhoi tribe. However, Mossel Bay remained pretty much a fishing and whaling backwater until its discovery as a holiday resort in the 1930s because of its beautiful beach. Today the town appears very much industrialized, mainly as the site of Mossgas. This large petroleum refinery was established by the South African government during the years of sanctions against apartheid when no oil could be bought from abroad. Before the discovery of offshore oilfields, Mossel Bay’s export depended on aloe juice for medicinal purposes and ochre for the manufacture of paints.
Mossel Bay has a few one-stop shopping malls offering a variety of boutiques, specialty and curio shops. At the Model Shipyard visitors can tour the factory and see how ship models are created. These hand made models can be purchased and shipped via DHL anywhere in the world.
The local currency is the rand.