Hartenbos is a small holiday resort town between George and Mossel Bay in the Western Cape. It is one of the largest self-catering establishments on the Garden Route, and is very popular among visitors from Limpopo to the Cape. With several Blue Flag beaches, a beachfront waterpark, fantastic leisure activities, and opportunities for whale, dolphin and seal watching, Hartenbos is the perfect summer retreat for couples, families, and retirees.
To say thank you for his selfless work helping shipwrecked sailors, the Dutch East India Company awarded the Hartenbos farm to local farmer, Esaias Meyer. He called the farm “Hart en Bosch" (deer and bush). It was later bought by the ATKV - Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging (Afrikaans Language and Culture Organisation) and turned into a holiday resort for its members during the apartheid years. Today, Hartenbos is one of the most attractive summer holiday destinations along the Garden Route.
Most of Hartenbos’ charm lies in its fantastic weather. The Mossel Bay area boasts the second most moderate climate to Hawaii. It receives around 334mm of rain annually, with rainfall occurring throughout the year. It experiences the lowest rainfall in June and the highest in October, with average midday temperatures ranging from 18.6° in July to 26.6° in January.
The resort is a fantastic summer holiday spot. It has 5km of Blue Flag beaches, a river with paddle boats, and the beachfront Hartenbos Waterpark with swimming pools and supertubes. During peak season, the Hartenbos beachfront is lined with kiosks selling everything from seafood to clothing. The beaches are accessible by ramps, so there is no reason Hartenbos shouldn’t be enjoyed by everyone.
Outdoor sports are a popular pastime in Hartenbos. Visitors can look forward to fishing, boating, diving, snorkelling, swimming, hiking, abseiling, and paragliding. The ATKV holiday resort has recreational facilities like a heated pool, mini golf course, tennis courts, and bowling greens. Quad bike safaris through the fynbos valleys can be enjoyed at Nyaru Game Lodge, just 14km away.
Whale, dolphin, and seal watching are very popular, especially during the months from May to November. The river mouth is a breeding ground for seabirds which makes it a wonderful playground for twitchers.
Hartenbos has plenty to see and do all year round. There are flea markets, conference facilities, sports clubs, and shopping centres, including the nearby Mosselbaai Mall which is one of the largest shopping centres on the Garden Route. There is also an open-air stadium that holds Afrikaans cultural festivals.
History lovers will enjoy exploring Hartenbos Museum, one of the oldest museums in Mossel Bay. The museum features antiquities portraying the lifestyle of the Voortekker pioneers during the mid-1800s. Visitors can look forward to seeing the commemoration hall, 1938 Symbolic Ox Wagon, and an exhibit of a typical traditional store.
There are plenty of activities and attractions to keep you busy in Hartenbos. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, or a family holiday, Hartenbos offers the perfect escape!