Bay of the Sleeping Beauty

History of Stilbaai

Province: Western Cape
Garden Route
Coordinates: 34°22′06″S 21°24′40″E
Area:25.48 km2

Bay of Sleeping Beauty

Stilbaai or Still Bay on the banks of the Goukou River also known as the Bay of the Sleeping Beauty due to its close proximity to the landmark Sleeping Beauty Mountain. Established in 1894 it is part of the whale coast that stretches all the way from the Gourits river mouth to Witsand. Unspoiled beaches the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and natural springs have attracted people to holiday, relax, or retire in this quiet area for over two centuries.

Stilbaai boasts long stretches of sandy beaches including a beach with Blue flag status. The weather is mild and the river is navigable for 15 km. There is also a small fishing harbour and a landing strip for small aircraft.

Freshwater springs

The unique limestone area with its abundance of natural springs was an ideal habitat for ancient man. There is evidence here that humans have lived here for millennia.

Ancient fish traps

The fish traps found along the coast are living examples of ancient technology. These are ancient intertidal stonewall fish traps, most have been built during the past 300 years. They have been afforded National Monument status and were declared a Restricted Zone within the Stilbaai Marine Protected Area. Together with the shell middens found along the coast, as well as the Blombos cave, these are visible evidence of the Later Stone Age. The fish traps are visible at low tide. These traps are still being regularly maintained, extended, and utilized by a group of local enthusiasts.


The license plate prefix in Stilbaai is CCC and the postcode is 6674


see all listings in stilbaai

Things to see and do in Stilbaai:

  • Baardbos Private Game reserve
  • Mini golf (Put put) 750m from the main beach. 072 905 1238
  • Lappiesbaai Beach has blue flag status
  • There is a  flower display and a craft centre at Soete Inval Botanical Garden in Melkhoutfontein  Tel 028-754-2362.
  • The tourism office is at one of the town’s national monuments. The Palinggat homestead.  Jagersbosch is the other important historic building in Stilbaai. Tel 028-754-2602,
  •  At the tourism office, you can see the eels being fed, or you can feed them for a small fee. This takes place every day at 11h00  (closed on Sundays) Tel 028-754- 2602,
  • Soete Inval Botanical Garden in Melkhoutfontein. There is a  flower display from July to October A craft centre is also on the property. It is run by a previously disadvantaged community, Tel 028-754-2362.
  • See some ancient fish traps at the West Beach between the harbour and the river mouth
     visible from the Whale Lookout Point at low tide. 
  • The estuary and a bird hide serve for great bird-watching opportunities.
  • Pauline Bohnen Nature Reserve, Find several easy circular routes of 4 to 8 kms. Regulations are displayed at entrance points. Take care not to disturb or annoy the bees in the beehives in the Reserve.
    Janet Naude cell 072 448 0604/028 754 2602
  • The Goukou River is navigable for 15 kilometers. You can canoe, kayak, fish, or water ski.
  • Stilbaai Beach Run: 5 km run from West Beach. Saturday mornings @ 08:00   083 264 3071
  • Open Studio art route
  • There is a series of paintings “Hessequa Voices From The Past” by Kassie van Noordwyk at the Melkhoutfontein E-Centre, which tell the story of the indigenous Hessequa (Hessekwa) tribe. They have a QR-code function, which enables visitors to listen to recordings from locals, a testament to the authenticity of the Hessequa region. 


Useful Numbers in Stilbaai

  • Municipality – 028 713 7831
  • Police: 028 754 6100/ 6104/ 6109
  • Traffic department: Riversdale – 028 713 8000
  • Fire: House / Building Fires 084 014 1828
  • Veld fires 071 856 5719 – 028 713 1987 (office hours)
  • Water:084 014 1828
  • Electricity:084 014 1828
  • Ambulance: 10177- 076 401 7066
  • Post office;028 754 1115
  • Library:028 713 7839
  • Stillbaai sportsground and Melkhoutfontein sportsground : 028 713 8000
  • Closest hospital; Riversdal Hospital – Tel: (028) 713 2445
    Carewell Clinic – 082 616 0640 028 754 1040
  • Pharmacy;Arrie Nel Fynbos Pharmacy-028 754 1860
  • PCA:082 700 2491 / 082 722 2909
  • Schools:
  • Bertie Barnard Primary School-028 754 1042
  • Happy Faces Nursery  School: 028 754 2475
  • Melkhoutfontein Primere: Skool: 028 754 1681, 
  • Pikkewouters: 028 754 2173
  • Sunbeam Nursery School: 028 754 3398
  • Jagersbosch Community Care  Centre: 028 754 1934
  • Local radio station  063 569 9468
  • Tourism: 028 754 2602
  • NSRI (Stilbaai): 082 990 5978
  • Vet 028 754 1834
  • Museums ; Fonteinhuisie – By Appointment- 082 630 0230-083 7337828  Blombos museum – 028 754-3247



Local Listings