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World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > South Africa > Plettenberg Bay beaches

About Plettenberg Bay beaches

Overlooking a sweeping half-moon bay, Plettenberg Bay is a charming and modern town on South Africa’s famed Garden Route. Simply known as Plett by the locals, the centre of the town is perched high up on a rocky peninsular with great views of spacious beaches, tranquil lagoons and indigenous forests on the horizon.

Plettenberg is a prime location for hikers, mountain bikers, and horse riders, while watersport enthusiasts can also enjoy surfing, diving and canoeing. Dolphins and seals can also be spotted dodging surfers in the waves, and year-round boat trips are on offer to see whales – arrive between June and November and you’ll find southern right whales frolicking in the waters. There are three main sandy beaches to choose from, or hike in the Robberg Peninsular Nature Reserve or around the Keurbooms River Lagoon. Golf and polo are also popular activities enjoyed by both locals and guests.

Beach:

There are fine, wide beaches, many of which are good for swimming in the temperate Indian Ocean – but stick to the designated areas as currents can be strong. Central Beach is Plettenberg Bay’s busiest, with life guards on duty in season. Marine safaris and ocean kayaking tours are available for adventure seekers, and the small waves make for calm swimming perfect for families with younger children. Robberg Beach stretches between the Robberg Peninsular and Beacon Island and is ideal for long, solitary walks. Keurbooms Beach offers larger waves and beautiful villas scattered along its coastline.

Beyond the beach:

There are good walks with mesmerising ocean views in the Robberg Peninsular Nature Reserve. This nature reserve and national monument is a rugged and enticing place to view the interacting influences of land and sea. Canoeing, bird watching and forest walks are available in the Keurbooms River Nature Reserve, 8km (4 miles) east of Plettenberg Bay, or enjoy a two-and-a-half-hour boat ride through the pretty river gorge that is overhung with trees and plants.

Family fun:

Children can have plenty of seaside fun building sandcastles on the beach and paddling in the sea, while boat cruises to see seals, dolphins and whales will also appeal to the little ones. Just off Piesang Valley Road, Wild Waters Fun Park (www.wildwatersfunpark.co.za) has a swimming pool with waterslide, a playground, mini-golf, trampolines and a sand pit. Many hotels cater for families and provide extras such as children’s swimming pools or jungle gyms.

Exploring further:

There are several attractions within a short drive along the N2 highway. The Knysna Elephant Sanctuary (www.knysnaelephantpark.co.za) is 10km (6 miles) east of town, where visitors can walk with and touch elephants, while 16km (10 miles) to the west is Monkeyland (www.monkeyland.co.za), a netted spacious tract of forest that’s home to lemurs, apes and monkeys. Next door is a similar concept for birds at Birds of Eden (www.birdsofeden.co.za). Just beyond is Bloukrans Bridge, where adrenalin junkies can try the hair-raising 216m (708ft) bungee jump off the bridge or the 200m (658ft) flying fox across the Bloukrans Gorge (www.faceadrenalin.com).

Splashing out:

Five-star dining can be had at the Sand at Plettenberg Hotel (www.plettenberg.com) at Lookout Rocks where gourmet food is matched to fine wines. Dishes are superbly presented and drizzled in delicate oils, foams and sauces and the desserts are to die for. Don’t miss the hotel’s stylish cocktail bar with its cutting-edge white marble and leather interior.