Stilbaai Region Info

The Stilbaai, Melkhoutfontein, Jongensfontein area offers a variety of activities and attractions to visitors and holiday makers. It falls within the Hessequa municipal area along the Garden Route in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Hessequa is an indigenous Khoikhoi name which means ‘People of the Trees’, evidence that the area must have been a forest once.

The region used to be the dwelling place of the ancient Khoikhoi people who left behind many interesting artefacts and sites dating from the Middle Stone Age which today tell us their story. Present-day residents feel strong about preserving the indigenous fynbos and wildlife as far as possible even within the boundaries of the towns. In fact, at night time bush buck and steenbok families freely feed in the gardens and green areas around town.

Popular Activities Around Stilbaai

Safe Blue Flag Beaches

Stilbaai is blessed with long stretches of white beaches where people can take long strolls without being blocked by rocks. The town boasts four beautiful clean and safe beaches with Blue Flag Status. These beaches are popular for swimming and sunbathing while the kiddies build creative sandcastles. Some people prefer to just sit on the beach and read, lulled by the constant song of the sea. Other more energetic ones like to play some kind of ball game involving an ever growing and shrinking group as by-passers join or leave at will.

Water Sports

The Goukou River meets the Indian Ocean right in the centre of the bay after which Stilbaai is named. The estuary, together with the bay bring about a wide spread of water thus creating the ultimate seaside playground for water-sports fans. Here they engage in windsurfing, body boarding, swimming, kite surfing and stand up paddling. Some like to explore the world under the water snorkelling or scuba diving, while other more daring rowers do some sea kayaking. Surfers love surfing the waves at Morris Point, a widely known and popular surfing spot along the Western Cape coast.

Goukou River Activities

Still Bay is situated on the eastern and western banks of the Goukou River estuary flowing into the Indian Ocean. Activities in and on the river depend upon the tide as well as the wind conditions. Boating, canoeing, kayaking and water skiing are more enjoyable during high tide because the river is deeper making getting stuck on sandbanks less of a problem. The river is a popular place for children to play and swim. Popular activities  are paddling, stand-up paddling and fishing from the riverbanks and small boats. During the December holidays various boats and canoes are available for hire at the bridge.

Activities for Nature Lovers

The indigenous fynbos, flora and fauna of the area is worth exploring, either on foot, by bike or by means of a game drive. With the wide variety of bird species, this area is a paradise for bird watchers. Take your binoculars and go hiking on one of the many hiking trails in the area, like the Geelkrans Hiking Trail or the Noorkapper Hiking Trail. Or take your bike out for a ride on a mountain biking trail. Do some whale watching during winter and spring. Take a gentle late afternoon stroll down the West Bank Hiking Trail along the Goukou River.

Club sports

For those more inclined to participate in ‘dry’ sports, there is a nine hole golf course in Stilbaai and Jongensfontein, both welcoming guests at their club. The bowling green offers a stunning view of the ocean and guests are also welcome to visit their club. Likewise there are various other clubs for sports such as Tennis, Jukskei, Pistol shooting, Bridge as well as Chess, to name but a few. Of course there is also the Stilbaai Angling Club which annually hosts the very popular Galjoen Derby around August.

Popular Attractions Around Stilbaai

Feeding the Eels

An unusual, but popular attraction is hand-feeding chicken livers to the tame freshwater eels in the Palinggat rock fountain. Watch this daily ritual (and even help feed them) at the Stilbaai Tourism Bureau housed in the Palinggat Homestead. 10 – 15 eels have been living there for 125 years, moving out to mate in the ocean and returning to the very same fountain after breeding.


This unique fynbos park is a botanical garden which contains plants indigenous to the Hessequa area of the Western Cape. It is located on the eastern side of the Goukou River next to Main Road East. The garden is wheelchair friendly for the enjoyment of disabled persons and also sports a route for blind visitors called the ‘Smell-and-Touch’ route.

Tasting Local Products

There are a number of olive farms, such as Kleinbergskloof producing various olive products which you can taste and buy at their farms. Then there is Inverroche, a popular gin distillery offering gin tasting for adventurous gin lovers. Likewise there is the well-known Kasselshoop cheese-making farm also offering tasting opportunities to interested people.

Ancient Heritage Sites

Stilbaai and surrounding area boast a number of truly ancient heritage sites. The artefacts from the Blombos caves (not open for the public) dates back to the Middle Stone Age. Various artefacts, such as stone tools, stone points can be seen in the Blombos Museum of Archaeology housed in the Stilbaai Tourism Bureau. Archaeologists also excavated fresh water ‘tic’ shells with little handmade holes which were strung together and used as necklaces dating from 75 000 years ago.

Furthermore you can still see the cleverly engineered ancient rock pool fish traps built by the Khoisan up to 3 000 years ago. These traps are still maintained by enthusiasts to make it possible for present-day people to see and marvel at the cleverly engineered traps built by people of yesteryear.

Shellfish, as well as a various fynbos plants formed a large part of these ancient people’s diet. After eating the nutritious inner parts of the shellfish, they discarded the empty shells which they could not utilise in some way or another.  The result of which can be seen today in the form of numerous shell middens found at various locations along the coast, one of which can be perused close by the Still Bay harbour.

Businesses & Services in Still Bay

Shops, Restaurants & Banks

Stilbaai has a wide variety of shops such as grocery stores, gift shops, clothing stores as well as bookshops. Also hardware stores, furniture stores, fishing shops, sport shops and butcheries.

There are many coffee shops and restaurants in and around town and also a number of real estate agencies. During the holiday season there are flea markets in Still Bay and Jongensfontein as well as fresh fruit and vegetable roadside stalls.

Stilbaai has an ABSA, Nedbank and FNB branch as well as various strategically positioned ATMs. There is a petrol station in town and another some 10-12 km out of town on the route to Riversdale.

Various Essential Services

Among the residents of Still  are a large number of professional people and tradesmen to meet just about any need you might experience such as lawyers, beauticians and hair dressers. Also plumbers, electricians, builders, as well as painters, carpenters, auto mechanics, transporters, shuttle services, panel beaters, etc.

All emergency services are also covered such as medical doctors, dentists, physiotherapists, psychologists, pharmacies, vets and even an undertaker.

There is a highly functional and on the ball SA Police Station in town, quick to respond and very effective in their investigations. Likewise there is the NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) station at the harbour with its extremely efficient and skilled team of volunteers.

Various churches are spread over Stilbaai, Jongensfontein and Melkhoutfontein offering church services on Sundays as well as religious days.

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