Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape
Did you know?
Plettenberg Bay was originally called Bahia Formosa, or beautiful bay, by Portuguese explorers.
Plettenberg Bay is a major attraction on the Garden Route. Its location on the Indian Ocean coast makes it one of the top visitor destinations in South Africa. Prepare to explore miles of sweeping, unspoilt golden beaches, a dramatic rocky peninsula, intriguing lagoons and estuaries, towering indigenous forests and unpolluted rivers and sea.
From Keurboomstrand to the Robberg Peninsula there are 15 kilometers of beaches interrupted only by a river mouth and Plett's iconic island.
Understandably, with these abundant natural resources, there's plenty to do in the charming seaside town. Popular Plettenberg Bay activities include exploring the bay by boat, fishing, canoeing its waterways, dolphin and seal spotting, and – in season – taking a whale watching excursion, when southern right whales come into the bay to calve.
The nearby rural hamlet of Wittedrift is a bird- and nature-lover's haven, while further afield, 20km from Plettenberg Bay, the Cruise the Crags route is ideal for wildlife viewing and browsing for arts and crafts. Another 10km along in Bitou you'll come upon Nature's Valley, a pristine indigenous forest fringed with unspoilt coastal bush.
At the base of the soaring Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains lies Storms River. Here teeming birdlife, Cape flora, wetlands and lagoons and ancient trees are a real find for nature lovers, while adrenalin-seekers will delight in the world’s highest bungee jump and zipline tours.
Plett is also renowned as an adventure destination, with dozens of heart-stopping experiences to be found. Whether it's a canopy tour through the stunning Tsitsikamma forest, some 30m up or skydiving from the blue, each offers an exhilarating way to take in the bay and coastline from the air.
The town also boasts a number of wilderness experiences, including several walks and hikes through the forest, indigenous fynbos, gorges and mountains.
Game drives and horseback safaris may be enjoyed in the Plett Game Reserve, which boasts four of the Big Five. For a personal wildlife encounter, visit the Tenikwa Widlife Centre and take a once-in-a-lifetime walk with resident cheetah.
Plettenberg Bay is also home to a thriving arts community. Visit the nearby Simunye Community Centre for a fantastic selection of locally produced arts and crafts, including wood, metal and beadwork. You can also do the Cruise the Crags route, which includes a number of artists' workshops and farm stalls.
Take a break from the action with a relaxing stroll on the beach, a round of golf at any of the prized courses in the area or a visit to Plett's own wine estate.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Plettenberg Bay Tourism
Tel: +27 (0)44 533 4065
Fax:+27 (0)44 533 4066
How to get here
Fly direct from any major South African city to George airport and then take the N2 highway east to Plettenberg Bay. If you’re driving, from Cape Town and Durban take the N2 highway to Plettenberg Bay and from Johannesburg, the N1 to Colesburg, N9 to George and N2 to Plettenberg Bay.
Best time to visit
Plettenberg Bay is an all-year-round destination. Visit from May to November for whale watching, and in July for the famous Knysna Oyster Festival at nearby Knysna.
Around the area
Knysna Heads cruise, Secret Elephants' Forest Experience in the Knysna Forest, beer tasting and tour at Knysna’s Mitchell’s Brewery, the Dolphin Trail at Tsitsikamma, the Brenton Blue Butterfly Reserve at Brenton-on-Sea.
Tours to do
Whale watching and dolphin spotting; cheetah walk at Tenikwa Wildlife Centre; Old Nick Village for art and crafts; Cruise the Crags craft route; Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail hike; adventure activities including bungy jumping at the Bloukrans River bridge; water tours including boat cruises, sea kayaking and canoeing around Plett.
The Plett Festival in September; Festival Lights and Carnival (switching on of the Christmas lights, street parade and carnival) in mid-December; Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge at the end of December; annual New Year’s Eve party on central beach on 31 December.