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Plettenberg Bay is one of the beautiful stops on the famous Garden Route in South Africa.  It is renowned for its endless, white beaches, beautiful lagoon and river mouth, whale watching, nature reserve, pansy shells and night life. This is what makes it a popular vacation resort for locals and foreigners alike.

"Plettenberg Bay is tranquil and charming, hospitable and rather special"

Plettenberg Bay (known locally as 'Plett') is characterised by sweeping, unspoilt golden beaches, a dramatic rocky peninsula called Robberg Peninsula which is famous for its Cape Fur Seal population lagoons and estuaries, towering indigenous forests and unpolluted rivers and sea.

Plett is the jewel of The Garden Route.  Originally christened "Bahia Formosa" (beautiful bay) by early Portuguese explorers, it has developed into a beautiful, modern town that combines buzzing activity with a peaceful environment, lazy beach days with new malls for shopping, sleeping under a palm tree with action activities like diving, hiking and bungee jumping (if you absolutely must!).

With its exceptional climate, and beautiful view sites over the Indian Ocean, Plettenberg Bay is perfect for exploring, watching or just lazing. There are also a few clubs and pubs for evening entertainment, but in summer parties often take place on or near the beach. Life in South Africa tends to be very outdoors orientated and fairly laid-back.

There are shopping malls (even a Woolworths – the South African equivalent to Marks & Spencer), Internet Cafes, restaurants and bars and clubs. You will have everything you need there.

Lazing on the Beach
Plettenberg Bay is perfect for lazy days on the beach. The scenery is stunning, the weather is hot, the sea is warm enough to swim in and the waves perfect for body boarding. There can be some dangerous rip tides, but there are lifeguards on the beach.

A lovely way to spend the day is to lie on the beach or find a spot higher up the dunes where you can watch the dolphins when they come close to the shore to jump the breakers - an incredible sight.

In Plettenberg Bay, the temperature is influenced by the warm Agulhas current meeting the temperate Benguela current. The result? A mild climate of 300 days of sunshine and mild water temperatures between 14 and 23 degrees Celsius.

The list of activities you can do in Plettenberg Bay is almost endless. Many activities involve outdoor sights and sports because the beautiful weather and stunning surroundings makes these pastimes a very natural leisure activity. Things you can do include:

  • Canoeing: If you are keen on canoeing, you can hire a canoe from the Angling Club (Tel 044-5359740) or from the Aventura Resort (Tel 044-5359309) and canoe up the Keurbooms River Nature Reserve.

  • The Keurbooms River Nature Reserve is situated 5 km from Plett, in the direction of Port Elizabeth. This nature reserve stretches up the river for about 5-6km. To experience the beauty of the reserve you can either take a ferry trip which lasts 2½ hours, or you can hire a boat with engine from the Angling Club and travel up the river by yourselves. There are a number of picnic spots next to the river with little beaches where you can spent your whole day swimming, tanning, fishing etc.

  • Diving - There are excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities, with two diving companies that can take you out on a diving trip amd they can also advise you on where to snorkel. There is also a snorkeling route at the Tsitsikamma National Park.

  • Abseiling - can be done at Storms River.

  • Sea Kayaking or river kayaking, where you can observe sea birds, dolphins, seals up close from your kayak!

  • Bungee Jumping - The highest commercial bungi jump in the world is at Bloukrans River Bridge. The height is 216 metres with a 7 second free fall! The adventure company Face Adrenalin will make sure you have an experience of a lifetime! Booking is essential.

  • Blackwater Tubing - Storms River Adventures (042-281 1836) will take you tubing down the Storms River. The trip starts at 8h30 and finishes back at the Center at 14h00. The cost includes wetsuits, helmets, tubes, a trained guide and lunch.

  • Fishing and Angling: Good rock angling sites include Nature's Valley, Keurbooms, Lookout Rocks, Beacon Island and Robberg Beach. Rock anglers can expect to catch Galjoen, Elf, Roman or Steenbras. Deep Sea anglers may expect Tuna, Leervis, Hake and Calamari (seasonal).

  • Horse Riding - There are two companies near Plettenberg Bay who provide horse trails in the forest. (Unfortunately no horse riding allowed on beaches)

  • Golf - three courses available.

  • Monkeyland is unique as a primate sanctuary. It is home to many varied species of monkey from several continents which were captive bred prior to their release at Monkeyland. Situated 16 km east of Plett, it offers safaris conducted by game rangers. This is the world’s only multi species, free roaming primate sanctuary. Go to http://www.monkeyland.co.za to read more about Monkeyland.

  • Mountain Biking - The Harkerville Cycle Route is the most popular. Permits and maps for this trail are available at the "Garden of Eden" which is situated ±17 km from Plett. The trails range from easy to difficult. Guided biking trails are also available and also a mountain biking route at Storms River. Closer to Knysna is the Diepwalle Forest Cycle Route.

  • Hiking - There are many hikes and short walks, of which Robberg (home to the Cape Fur Seal) is by far the most popular walk. There are three trails to choose from: 45 min., 2 hours and the 9,2 km or 4½ hour walk. For information on guided walks, see www.robbergwalks.homestead.com.  Other walks include Kranshoek, Garden of Eden, Nature’s Valley, Wittedrift, Milkwood Trail, Tsitsikamma National Park trails etc. The most popular trail towards Tsitsikamma is the Otter Trail which is 44 km long and which lasts 5 days.

  • Elephant Park - The experience is somewhat of a closer kind than at Kruger or Addo – visitors are allowed to touch and feed the elephants, Harry, Sally and Duma. 

  • Scenic Flights & Gliding - Fun filled scenic flips and informative flights of the magnificent Plettenberg Bay coastline. Whale watching flights concentrates on a unique aerial encounter of these ocean giants.

  • Glider trips - The Plettenberg Bay Glider Club offers daily 30 minute intro glider trips over Plettenberg Bay departing from the Plett airport. They also offer glider training.

  • The Mampoer Distillery - To visit this distillery at Wittedrift is a unique experience. The owner, Jack Mudd, has recently won prizes at an annual agricultural show near Pretoria for his superior mampoer and witblits

  • Umthombo Theatre & Township Tours - The Umthombo Theatre Group was formed four years ago in Qolweni Township. The aim of the group was to raise funds for the community as to improve conditions in the townships, pay school fees etc.

  • Wild Waters Park - This is an adventure park especially for children. It has a supertube, mini-golf, jumping castle, kiosk, picnic spots and braai [barbeque] areas. Situated in the Piesang River Valley, it is next door to the Plettenberg Bay Health Center and swimming pool.

  • Forest Wagon Trails - Experience the romance of a bygone era with a leisurely 2-hour horse drawn carriage ride through the forests, once home of the Knysna Elephants, down to a private and unspoiled krantz on the rugged coastline.

  • Polo - Plett has become well-known as the “polo mecca” of South Africa. Exciting polo tournaments are being played at Bitou House and Kurland during Easter, December and January with polo practices throughout the year . The first international polo test match was held on 1 Jan 2003 between SA and England.

  • Buffalo Hills Game Farm - Go on a game drive to see rhino, leopard, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, kudu etc. and more than 150 species of birds in this unique Malaria-free game farm.

  • Harvest Market - Local producers sell direct to the public at this open air country meeting place - each Saturday 08h00 - 12h00

Plettenberg Bay was named after Governor Joachim von Plettenberg, who incorporated the bay under the administrative sovereignty of the Dutch-East India Trading Company in 1778. The Company used the place primarily as a shipping port for the hardwood timber that grew everywhere. Later on there was a whaling station built here, which was active until 1920.

Long before Van Riebeeck landed at the Cape, Portuguese explorers like Bartholomew Dias in 1487 charted the bay, followed 90 years later by Manuel da Perestrello, who aptly called it Bahia Formosa or the Bay Beautiful. The first white inhabitants were the 100 men stranded here for 9 months when the San Gonzales sank in 1630. In 1763 the first white settlers in the Bay were stock farmers, hunters and frontiersmen from the Western Cape.

Prehistoria Man: Archeological findings in Nelson's Bay Cave and Matjes River Cave indicate that Middle Stone Age man and then later by ancestors of the Khoisan inhabited these caves for over 100,000 years. The caves are still being excavated, but one can visit them and view the Khoisan (KhoiKhoin) tools, ornaments and food debris which have been discovered  there. One can also observe the geological changes over the past millions of years which affected prehistoric life.

To read more about the history of Plettenberg Bay, go to http://www.plettenbergbay.co.za/history/index.htm

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List of ALL PROJECTS in South Africa


List of ALL PROJECTS in South Africa

Close encounters - whale-watching!

Watching the dolphins play in the ocean is quite amazing, sometimes so close you can almost touch them

Peaceful Inlet leading down to the ocean - note the beautiful white sand

Volunteers with Monkey Atlas at Monkeyland

Wildlife Safaris & Adventure Tour Combos
4-Day Surf Safari and Wildlife Adventure
1-Day Adventure Activities in Cape Town
1-Week Wildlife Rehabilitation

1-Week Whales Sharks Dolphins
Cage Dive with Sharks

Photo Galleries

Knysna Diary
Wildlife Rehabilitation Diary
Wildlife Expedition News!

Travellers' Jim Morel with a Maribou Stork at a Sanctuary in Plettenberg Bay