Lappiesbaai in the scenic town of Stilbaai along the Garden Route is a relaxed beach hideaway that is also known as ‘The Bay of Rags’. This Blue flag destination is renowned for mild weather and a range of recreational facilities. The birdlife and fishing in the area are excellent and Lappiesbaai is a family-orientated beach destination.

Did you know?

A famous archaeological site 12km from Stilbaai is the Blombos cave, which has yielded a piece of decorated ochre some 75 000 years old.

Lappiesbaai takes its name from an unlikely source – the practice of hanging washing out to dry on the bushes of its dunes (lappie in Afrikaans means 'cloth').

Stilbaai, another Afrikaans name, translates as Still Bay, but the tranquil town is often referred to as the ‘Bay of Sleeping Beauty’ after one of the peaks in the nearby Langeberg mountains that resembles a sleeping woman.

This beach, which has Blue Flag status in the high season in December and January, lies between Mossel Bay and Riversdale on the edge of the warm Indian Ocean where the Goukou River flows into the sea.

Mild weather, tranquil surroundings and good whale watching have contributed to its ever-increasing popularity, particularly over the December and Easter holiday periods. However busy it does get, Stilbaai always has an air of peace and calm.

On this Stilbaai beach there is a cosy restaurant that begs for long, lazy sunny afternoons eating local fare and doing a whole lot of nothing. Swimming is a highlight and fishing from the beach and rocks is excellent.

A special beach-friendly wheelchair is available to allow visitors with physical challenges to enter the sea in safety. For nature-lovers, the bird life is pretty prolific in the region.

The Stilbaai area offers good quality accommodation of various types, from farm accommodation to caravan parks to guesthouses. Fishing and scuba-diving are some of the water sports available.

Stilbaai Tourism Bureau, located in a National Monument called the Palinggat Homestead, accommodates a historical exhibition. In a fountain in the garden are tame freshwater eels that are fed daily at 11am. These tame eels have apparently lived in the fountain for 125 years.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Stilbaai Tourism
Tel: +27 (0)28 754 2602
Fax: +27 (0)28 754 2549

How to get here

Stilbaai is situated off the N2 highway, between Riversdale and Albertinia. Turn south at the Stilbaai signpost and 26km later you will be in Stilbaai. The road journey will take three hours from Cape Town, four hours from Port Elizabeth and an hour from Mossel Bay. The nearest airport is in George.

Best time to visit

Stilbaai revels in a moderate climate with fresh unpolluted air thanks to a gentle breeze blowing from the placid ocean. This area receives rain almost equally in all seasons with peaks in autumn and spring. Temperatures range from 20 °C and 28 ºC in summer and between 12 ºC and 20 ºC in winter.

Tours to do

There are many options for day trips from Stilbaai on the Garden Route and the Klein Karoo interior. Attractions include the Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn, the Meiringspoort and Swartberg Passes, the Mossel Bay Maritime Museum, the Railway Museum in George, Botlierskop, a game farm near Great Brak River and the Reins Nature Reserve, on the way to Gourits River mouth.

Get around

Hire a car and explore the Garden Route. Alternatively there are a number of bus tour packages that operate along the Garden Route.

Length of stay

Spend a week or two exploring the Garden Route. Stop off at the towns of Sedgefield, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.

Where to stay

Book yourself in to one of the many self-catering guesthouses in the area.

What to eat

Seafood is always a good bet when visiting the Garden Route coastline. Why not try out a fish braai for the first time when visiting the region?

Related articles