South Africa, Garden Route I – Mossel Bay
On this long route, you will find places where you can swim, admire the beautiful lagoons, walk through the beautiful floodplain forests or enjoy the panoramic views of the mountain passes where you can try bungee jumping into one of the deep gorges. Animal lovers will surely appreciate the opportunity to see one of the ostrich farms, ride on elephants, observe cheetahs or whales.
Another popular destinations along the Garden Route include some cities like Knysna or Plettenberg Bay. Nevertheless, at the very beginning - in Mossel Bay - you may be able to delay because there is an interesting museum complex dedicated to the Portuguese mariner Diaz, the way we start today.
Bartolomeo Diaz is known for sailing with his caravelas from Lisbon southward along the African coast in the second half of the 15th century, becoming the first European to cross the Cape of Good Hope. The local museum complex was built to commemorate the 500th anniversary of his landing in Mossel Bay.
The heart of the complex consists of a granary where the information center, reception and also representatives of local flora are located. From there, you can reach the other museums through the so-called ethnobotanic garden. The Maritime Museum is located in the buildings of a former mill and sawmill. The main thing you see is a replica of the Diaz caravel mentioned above. It was a small sailboat, which the Portuguese and Spanish used in particular for their discovery cruises.
The advantage of this ship was its high speed and ability to cross the wind. Ships of this type were also used, for example, by Christopher Columbus, Vasco de Gamma and Henry Mooreplan.
Another local museum is dedicated to sea shells. Its collection collects shells collected all over the world. In addition, in local aquariums, you will see molluscs in their natural habitat. Opposite this museum grows the Post Office Tree (sideroxylon inerme). This tree stands next to the spring, from which the sailors fill the water for their voyages at sea.
Text: Maxim Kucer
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