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Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex

Western Cape, South Africa

Mail a card from the Post Office Tree − it’ll be stamped with a special commemorative frank from the world’s oldest post office.
The campus of the Dias Museum Complex includes:

  • The Maritime Museum – which houses a replica of the lateen-rigged caravel of the type in which Dias became the first European to round the Southern tip of Africa, and land on South African soil.
  • The Post Office Tree – first used as a post box in 1500.
  • A Braille Trail (that features fynbos plants), and a tranquil field garden around the spring where Dias collected water for his ships. The garden also features a small Malay graveyard.
  • The Shell Museum – largest collection of shells in Africa.
  • The Granary – a replica on the original foundations of the town’s first commercial building. It houses revolving exhibitions, a lecture hall, and a live specimen display of fynbos currently in flower.
  • The Munroe’s Hoek Cottages – replicas of fishermen’s cottages that once stood on this site; now used by the SACP4 Project (South African Coast Palaeoclimate, Palaeoenvironment, Palaeoecology, Palaeoanthropology), whose studies of the Pinnacle Point Caves have revealed the earliest evidence for modern human behaviour. (See ‘Point of Human Origins Experience’ on opposite page)


The beautifully restored dressed stone buildings of the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex are typical of the architecture for which the Old Quarter of this historic harbour town have become famous. For more information, collect a copy of the map and guide ‘Explore historical Mossel Bay on foot’ from Mossel Bay Tourism (diagonally across the car park from the entrance to the Museum Complex) − or download it from


1 Market Street, Mossel Bay

Opening & Closing Times:

9am-4.45pm (Mon-Fri); Weekends [&] public holidays 9am-3.45pm.