Plettenberg Bay, or Plett, as it is more familiarly known, is the most fashionable spot on the Garden Route and has been called the Riviera of Africa. It’s no exaggeration. With fabulous beaches stretching for miles, whole neighbourhoods of expensive summer homes hogging the best views, a couple of championship golf courses, and about a dozen world class polo fields, it’s definitely the playground of the rich.
But there’s more to Plett than glitz and glamour. It’s one of the best boat based whale and dolphin watching destinations in the world, the diving is good, the surfing is great, and the fabulous Harkerville mountain biking trails are about halfway between Plett and Knysna.
When the 15th Century Portuguese explorers first saw the place we now call Plett, they dubbed it Bahia Formosa – the beautiful bay – and it’s apt. The spectacular Robberg Peninsula, which defines the western edge of the bay, is a nature reserve where you can do walks ranging from a half hour to a day, look at seals, whales and dolphins from the cliff and visit a stone age cave with an informative site museum.
The Keurbooms and Bitou Rivers meet up near the national road to the east of the town and join up to form the beautiful Keurbooms Lagoon. There is great paddling on both rivers, particularly the bigger Keurbooms, which has a lovely overnight hut, accessible only by canoe, about 7km upstream.
Plett is absolutely stuffed with lovely guest houses, great restaurants, good hotels and wonderful little coffee shops. The many creative locals that have chosen to make their home in this little paradise create a constant supply of innovative crafts, foods and clothing that supply the numerous retail therapy venues.
Every place has its down side, though, and Plett’s is its popularity with school leavers. At the end of November, or beginning of December, they descend on the town in full breeding plumage, usually in Daddy’s second or third BMW, and make their presence known. But if you steer clear of the pubs and clubs you should manage to avoid them – and they only get to the beaches in late afternoon, immediately upon waking.
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