THINGS TO DO IN STILBAAI
Stilbaai has several stunning beaches with a total length of approximately 10km (Skulpiesbaai, Lappiesbaai and Preekstoelbeach). All beaches in Stilbaai have been awarded the status of a Blue Flag. Unspoilt sandy stretches are irresistible for visitors wanting to soak up the sun with a good book, and little ones that are dying to spend hours building sandcastles or throwing a Frisbee.
The sea water is relatively warm, thanks to its being the Indian Ocean; making it ideal for swimming, surfing, kite-surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, hydro foiling and snorkelling. In the river, being a safe area to swim in, children can splash away happily while moms and dads soak up the sun in the soft sand.
Strolling along the beach is a favourite amongst visitors and locals alike. The whales make their appearance along this part of the coast every year between July and December. People watch from the coast as these southern rights and humpbacks blast water into the air, slap their flukes on the surface, and peep out inquisitively.
Calling all anglers… this is a great area to cast your line and if the season is right you may be able to hook Blacktail, Cape Stump, Kob and many more. Bring the family down, whether it is just for the day or a cheeky weekend break, there is something for everyone at Stilbaai Beach.
The clean unpolluted air of Stilbaai is most conducive to the outdoor sporting enthusiast. A wide range of amenities exist, including a nine-hole golf course which provides panoramic views to the keen golfer from virtually every tee; well developed and popular bowling greens; tennis and netball courts; rugby fields; and more.
A highlight is the Noordkapper Hiking trail which follows the coastline From Stilbaai (Bosbokduin is a good place to start from) to Jongensfontein, one of the two villages just outside Stilbaai the other is Melkhoutfontein).
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.
Geelkrans Hiking Trail - this hike usually takes around three hours and is eight kilometres long, the Geelkrans Nature Reserve showcases this part of the South African coastline perfectly.
GO SURFING IN STILL BAY
Still Bay is famous as a surfing destination. The rocky Morris Point Cape above the Still Bay harbour is a the preferred spot for advanced surfers. On most of days the waves roll into the bay in high water-tunnels and then slowly wash out to shore. Some days dolphins and seals will join you in surfing the waves.
Even more spectacular is the rough coast of Jongensfontein, where only the pros ride the waves. Amateurs will prefer the softer breakers of Lappiesbaai.
SEE THE PALLINGAT EELS
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 Anquilla 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. They are pampered and cherished by the staff of the Tourism Bureau and are hand-fed daily on chicken livers which is open for viewing by the public.
At the scenic confluence of the Goukou River and the vast Indian Ocean, a real gem lies in wait. Inverroche is an independent distillery that takes full advantage of the natural abundance of the southern coastline of South Africa to create world-class gins and rums that are truly something very special. Visitors taking the tour and sampling the delicious spirits produced here will, no doubt, find out about the lengths to which Inverroche goes to ensure that their produce is as responsibly made as it is delicious. Some ingredients (such as grapes and fresh fruit) are sourced further afield (e.g. from the Karoo and Eden districts, as well as from Mauritius, Madagascar and India) to ensure suitability and top-notch quality.
ANGLO-BOER WAR MEMORIAL
The Anglo-Boer War was a devastating one; one that took the lives of many Europeans and African soldiers and their families. But, it remains an integral part of the South African identity, and a key feature of its history books. To a large extent, it influenced the present-day society, which is a colourful array of languages, cultures and colours; making South Africa one of the most delightfully diverse nations in the world.
The Anglo-Boer War Memorial in Stilbaai was erected next to the road in 2001 to commemorate 100 years since a significant battle.
On 12 September 1901, Jan Theron (a Boer commander) led his troops to meet the District Mounted Troops and the Riversdale Town Guards (under the command of Lieutenant Smalberger). This was to be the southernmost Anglo-Boer battle ever to have taken place in South Africa.
BLOMBOS MUSEUM OF ARCHAEOLOGY
The Blombos Museum of Archaeology is named after the Blombos Cave nearby. In this cave, researchers found a number of stone tools and other artefacts, which are now proud parts of the museum’s display. One of the most important pieces of the exhibition is a piece of ochre that has clear and deliberate geometric markings on it, which have been inscribed by human beings in a discernible pattern.
Carbon dating estimates it to be more than 75 000 years old, which has led many to believe that it is the oldest piece of art in existence. There were also many little freshwater shells found at the same age layer in the caves, each of which had a tiny handmade hole in them so that they could be strung together and worn as jewellery. This is dubbed the world’s oldest necklace, and it can be found in the intriguing little Blombos Museum.
This museum is situated in the de Jagerhuis-opstal, Palinggat. It is of massive value to the local residents of Hessequa, as well as to the archaeological and anthropological value of this part of the Western Cape.