Stilbaai, also known as the Bay of Sleeping Beauty, is a town along the southern coast of South Africa about four hours by car from Cape Town. It is part of the Hessequa Local Municipality in the Western Cape Province. Alternate spellings of the town’s name include Stillbay, Stilbay and Stillbaai.
The town hosts a variety of B&B lodges and hosts surfing and swimming. During the peak of summer the warm waters at times become packed with blue bottles (a stinging sea creature also known as a Portuguese Man-of-War) when an easterly wind is blowing and the chance of being stung by one is high.
Stilbaai has a temperate climate and receives almost the same amount of rainfall in all four seasons, with peaks in autumn and spring. Temperature averages between 20° and 28° Celsius in the summer and between 12° and 20° Celsius in the winter. Rainfall is 639,2 mm per annum on average.
Stilbaai owns a large selection of nature reserves. To the east is Pauline Bohnen Nature Reserve, a large reserve with various hiking routes. The Skulpiesbaai Nature Reserve is situated near the harbour and reaches up to the “Noordkapperpunt” fishponds. The Geelkrants Nature Reserve is situated next to the “Pulpit”.
Stilbaai is host to a number of interesting archaeological sites, including ancient fish traps thought to have been built by early ancestors of the Khoi people of the Southern Cape, and a shell landfill that has been carbon dated to around 1000 BC.
Another archaeological site is situated in a group of caves at Blombos cave, about 12 kilometers from Stilbaai. Artifacts found at Blombos have been carbon dated to around 77,000 BP, making it the oldest known human settlement today.