Ever popular Stillbaai on the Garden Route offering visitors a multitude of activities whether it’s on land, at sea or on the river
The little seaside village of Stilbaai or Still Bay lies just off the N2 between Mossel Bay and Riversdale on an estuary where the Goukou River meets the Indian Ocean. Essentially a retirement village and holiday resort, the town has grown in popularity, due mainly to her tranquil and inviting setting away from the madding crowd.
Stilbaai enjoys a pollution-free, safe and peaceful setting with long stretches of white sandy beach, a temperate climate and a river navigable for some 15 km. The town lies along and around the banks of the Goukou River, with a magnificent estuary and safe and beautiful beaches on either side of the river mouth. One of these, Lappiesbaai beach, has been awarded Blue Flag status and is the only beach to claim this mark of distinction between Hermanus and Jeffreys Bay.
The village is thus very attractive to visitors seeking safe bathing, angling, wind surfing, kite surfing, sailing, canoeing and other pleasures on the water. Stilbaai has a rich marine life in the river estuary and a remarkably large variety of bird life attracted to the abundance of indigenous fauna and flora – Still Bay has no fewer than three Nature Reserves – Pauline Bohnen, Rein’s and Geelkrans and is on the flower route.
A highlight of a visit to Stilbaai is the Noordkapper Hiking trail which follows the coastline to Jongensfontein, one of the two villages (the other is Melkhoutfontein) just outside Stilbaai, home to the descendants of the original fishermen of the area still involved in fishing and the building industry today.
Other hikes include:
- West Bank Route – an excellent trail for bird watching and fairly easy
- Pauline Bohnen Route – an average hike with views of the ocean and dune fynbos
- Lappiesbaai Beach Route, easy to tackle at low tide and great for whale watching in season.
Another ‘must do’, whilst in Stilbaai, is the Soete Inval botanical garden in Melkhoutfontein. This is a first-of-its-kind in a re-developed township cultivated by the descendants of the Khoi-Khoi – traditionally outstanding gardeners. The garden has fynbos species from around the province and viewing in August/September is richly rewarding.
Stilbaai has a unique area on the shore made from limestone with a large number of natural springs, which first attracted the Strandlopers (beach walkers) who set up their rock and stone fish traps here. Strandlopers are thought to be outcasts of the Khoi community who survived by living off the sea and eating certain root vegetables and their fish traps are in evidence in Stilbaai today.
To crown it all, Stilbaai is on the migratory whale route, which boasts the highest gathering of whales in the world between July and October every year. A particularly good vantage point lies on a hill above the harbour. The village also has a unique species of eels, which are fed by hand.