Where to Stay - South Africa

Plettenberg Bay Travel Guide (Western Cape)

Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay along the Garden Route

Plettenberg Bay is situated along the Garden Route and is hugely popular with visitors throughout the year but especially around the Christmas season. This area has become increasingly popular over the last few years with visitors being attracted by the miles of sweeping golden sandy beaches, rocky peninsula and wonderful climate. This area is quite upmarket with some nice bars where you can sip champagne and watch the sunset. During peak season such as the Christmas holidays accommodation is quite expensive so you may want to avod this time of year. If you are looking for slightly cheaper accommodation near Plett then head to Keurboomstrand or Keurbooms just 14km away and right on the coast.

Plettenberg Bay is home to a variety of schools of dolphins  including pods of endangered Bottle-nosed dolphins and the shy Humpback dolphins. The bay is also the only place in the world where scientists have seen the rare Tropical Beaked Whale and were even lucky enough to catch the event on film.

There are some fabulous spots here to look out across the vast Indian Ocean. There are three main beaches here - Robberg, Central and Lookout. Of these, Lookout is probably the most appealing but they are all excellent for swimming and perfect for families. With over 300 days of sunshine a year Plettenberg has been compared to Monaco by some with its setting and delightful cuisine on offer.

There really is something for everyone to do from Skydiving, Bungee Jumping, Mountain Biking, Canopy Tours to Whale Watching, Diving or perhaps just a gentle boat cruise. For the keen fisherman amongst you there is some excellent deep sea fishing to be had here. If you like playing golf then you will be spoilt for choice as this area has probably the most golf courses of all the areas in South Africa. Try the signature Goose Valley and Turtle Creek course in Plettenberg Bay, as well as the Country Club, offering golfers a unique experience.

SkyDive Plett operate from the small airport at Plettenberg Bay and offer tandem jumps with an experienced instructor. No previous skydiving experience is necessary and 10,000 feet tandem jumps start from R1800 per person landing back at the airport or from R2100 per person if you prefer to land on the beach. For bookings contact SkyDive Plett on Tel: (+27 (0)82 905 7440)

This is a great area for hiking and walking with so many trails to choose catering for all levels of experience and fitness. The day hikes in the area will take you through forest and fynbos, through wetlands and rivers along coastal escarpment, rocks and sandy beaches.

Just 12 kilometres outside of Plettenberg Bay is the Plett Game Reserve which holds the honour of being the biggest game reserve in the Southern Cape. Spreading out over an area of some 2200 hectares they have four of the Big 5 including Lion, Rhino and Buffalo. Day visitors are very welcome and we recommend the 2 hour Horse Safari a unique experience not to be missed. The horse safaris leave at 10h00 and 15h00 daily (weather permitting) and we advise booking in advance. Contact Tel: (+27 (0)44 535 0000 or +27 (0)84 792 8288). A 2 hour horse safari costs from R425.00 per person. If there is a group of four of you then why not try one of their canoe adventures? A trained guide will take you on a trip up the Keurbooms River with a break halfway along to enjoy a snack lunch and a chance for you to catch your breath. The Canoe Adventure costs from R490.00 per person.

Another good place to go horse-riding at Hogs Hollow Horse Trails situated close to the Barnyard Theatre just outside Plettenberg Bay. They offer 1, 2 and 3 hour horse trails through forest and countryside. Booking is essential. For more details check out our Hogs Hollow Horse Trails activity page.

Hikes/Walks in the area include:

•    Kranshoek Coastal and Forest Walks
•    Garden of Eden Forest Walk
•    Milkwood Scenic Trails
•    Hikers Paradise Trail
•    Natures Valley Network
•    Stinkhoutkloof Trail
•    Keurboom Grootbank
•    Storms River Mouth Trails
•    Diepwalle Jonkersberg
•    Harkerville Trail
•    Wittedrift Nature Trails
•    The Big Tree and Ratel Trail

Of course there are overnight hikes of which the most popular is the Otter Trail which is 44km long and takes 5 days to cover. This challenging trail starts at Storms River Mouth and takes you along the coast, across rivers and through forests with a rich variety of bird and animal life and breathtaking views over the ocean to Nature’s Valley Beach.  To take this walk you will need to book well in advance to ensure a place.

Another popular hike is the Tsitsikamma Trail.  It is 60km long and also takes 5 days to complete.  The trail starts at Natures Valley and guides you inland through fynbos and indigenous forest in the Tsitsikamma Mountains and ends at the Storms River Bridge. Once again booking in advance is imperative. 

Try the Perdekop Trail which starts at the Harkerville Forest Station. The 9km circular route is not difficult and takes you through a forest of Yellowwoods and giant tree ferns. Harkerville Forest is midway between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna.

Other things to do in Plettenberg:

  • Enjoy a sunset cruise on a 50 foot yacht which departs from Knysna Lagoon - contact Springtide Charters on +27 (0)44 470 6022.
  • Visit the Plettenberg Elephant Sanctuary where you can enjoy a close encounter with one of the six elephants that have been rescued here. Contact Tel: +27 (0)27 44 534 8145.
  • Birds of Eden has over 3,500 birds and is home to the largest dome in the World which spans across an indigenous forest. The whole family will enjoy a trip to Birds of Eden which also has its own canopy walk. Birds of Eden is located at The Crags about 18km east of Plettenberg Bay. Contact Tel: +27 (0)44 534 8906
  • Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre is very close to Birds of Eden and is open daily from 09h00. Go on one of their 90 minute guided tours and learn all about the life of cheetahs, servals, caracal and the African Wild Cat. A 90 minute tour will cost Adults: R185 and Children 6yrs to 12yrs R95. Under 6 years old go FREE. Contact Tel: +27 (0)44 534 8170

Places to eat in Plettenberg Bay
Lemon Grass - situated right on Lookout Beach with views that stretch all the way to the Tsitsikamma Mountain range. The restaurant is open from 12h00 serving delicious lunches from grilled line fish to cape malay curries. Stunning indoor and outdoor setting area. 
Contact Tel: +27 (0)44 533 5520

The Fat Fish - another restaurant with stunning views and indoor and outdoor eating located near the main beach. They serve delicious seafood tapas and it's a lovely place for afternoon cocktails. They are open 7 days a week from 11h30 till 22h00. You can bring your own for which there is a R40 corkage charge.
Contact Tel: +27 (0)44 533 4740