Mossel Bay was officially proclaimed a town in 1848 and in 1852 it became a Municipality. As a result of the new municipal dispensation introduced by the South African Government in December 2000 the Municipality of Mossel Bay was merged with those of the much smaller Friemersheim, Great Brak River and Herbertsdale to establish the present-day Municipality of Mossel Bay.
The municipal area, demarcation code WC043, is 2007 sq km in size and includes the towns and / or settlements of Mossel Bay, Boggoms Bay, Brandwag, Buisplaas, D'Almeida, Dana Bay, Glentana, Fraaiuitsig, Friemersheim, Great Brak River, Hartenbos, Herbertsdale, Hersham, KwaNonqaba, Little Brak River, Outeniqua Beach, Reebok, Ruiterbos, Southern Cross, Tergniet and Vleesbaai.
It is situated on the N2 approximately halfway between the coastal cities of Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. It is bordered by the Municipalities of George to the east, Langeberg to the west and Oudtshoorn to the north. Its western boundary is the Gouritz River and its northern boundary the Outeniqua mountains. To the east it stretches to the Maalgate River.
Its main economic activities are agriculture (aloes, cattle, dairy, ostriches, sheep, timber, vegetables and wine), fishing, light industry, petrochemicals and tourism.