There are two really awesome ways to send postcards from Mossel Bay!!!!
……. Yes, people do still send them!
The historic Post Office Tree is situated inside the Dias Museum complex. In 1500 the seafarer Pedro de Ataide, on his return journey from the east, left a letter of importance in a shoe or iron pot under or near a large tree. The letter was found ayear later by Joao da Nova, commander of the third East India fleet en route to India. In this way, the first Post Office in South Africa was founded.
The large Milkwood tree, now known as the Post Office Tree, has been declared a national monument. You can deposit your postcards or letters at the boot-shaped mailbox next to the tree. A special commemorative frank is used on all outgoing mail.
As a salute to the Post Office Tree, the Protea Hotel and Café Gannet, situated right next to the Dias Museum complex, erected a giant, bright red post box in its garden.
Visitors can post letters and postcards (that the Protea Hotel and Café Gannet supply free of charge) to loved ones, and they are also stamped with the special commemorative frank. It is a huge attraction and talking point for especially overseas visitors.
Few people can reach the slot in the 2.85 metre-high box, however, which explains the need for a ladder.
People participating in the hobby of postcrossing (sending postcards to themselves and each other from various destinations in the world) love sending – and receiving – postcards from Mossel Bay because of its unique history.
The main idea of postcrossing is that: if you send a postcard, you will receive one back from a random postcrosser from somewhere in the world.
The website postcrossing.com features a piece on Mossel Bay’s Post Office Tree and the particular blog has some 50 reactions from postcrossers interested in receiving postcards from here.
For more information on this fascinating hobby, go to https://www.facebook.com/postcrossing
The Post Office Tree is located inside the Dias Museum Complex. It is open to the public from Mondays to Fridays 09:00 – 16:45, and on weekends and public holidays from 09:00 – 15:45.