Did you know?
Plettenberg Bay was originally named Bahia Formosa, meaning ‘beautiful bay’, by early Portuguese explorers.
By all accounts, Robberg 5 beach is Plettenberg Bay’s finest – and that’s saying something in a coastal resort famed for some 15 kilometres of unspoilt expanses of sand.
The pale stretches of this Blue Flag beach are located in Beachy Head Drive, south of Plettenberg Bay’s Beacon Isle Hotel, and link the town’s central beaches with the rocky headland of the Robberg Peninsula, a nature reserve.
This Garden Route beach is widely praised for its warm, calm waters and gentle waves great for swimming. Its striking views of the Robberg peninsula and soft sands have made it popular with recreational walkers. You will often see them combing the sands in search of a flower-shaped seashell, the pansy shell, which is endemic to this coastline and symbolic of Plettenberg Bay. For those who like to up the pace, the beach is also conducive to easy jogging.
Dolphins seem to enjoy Robberg 5 too, and can often be spotted frolicking in the waves. The beach is popular for shore-based whale spotting, particularly in the winter months when the southern right whales visit and break the night silence with the sound of their blowing. Seals, a thriving colony of which live in the Robberg Peninsula, can be seen hunting and playing in the surf off Robberg 5 Beach.
Robberg 5 has full-time lifeguards on duty during the peak season from 1 November – 31 April. Recently facilities were upgraded, including ablutions and support for the physically disabled. Interpretive signage provides details of the fauna and flora found in the area, and there are parking facilities nearby.
Homes with views or access to Robberg Beach fetch high prices and real estate in the area is considered to be among the most upmarket on the Garden Route. There are some enticing luxury accommodation options in the area, as well as some value-for-money bed and breakfast establishments.
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
George Airport is an hour’s drive from Plettenberg Bay, while the airport at Port Elizabeth is 2 hours' drive. There are regular flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town to both airports.
Best time to visit
Swimming is at its best between November and May.
Around the area
Head off to the Keurbooms River for some boating, take a hike at the Robberg Nature Reserve, visit the Garden of Eden (in-between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna), or take a helicopter flip over the town en route to the Harkerville market.
Tours to do
The Robberg Peninsula, 8km south of Plettenberg Bay, is both a nature reserve and a national monument. It offers a choice of 3 circular hiking routes of increasing difficulty and distance, taking 45 minutes to 4 hours.
Having your own car will be to your advantage – giving you the freedom to explore the Garden Route. There are, however, a number of luxury bus tour packages available along this scenic coastline.
What to pack
The usual beach paraphenalia. Remember the sunscreen during the heat of summer - the South African sun can be very harsh.
Where to stay
There is a range of accommodation in the area, but make sure you book long in advance if you are travelling to Plettenberg Bay during peak season. The Beacon Isle Hotel is a favourite with families.
What to eat
Seafood is an absolute must. The NSRI restaurant right on the beach offers fine seafood at value-for-money prices. The Look Out Deck is great for views (and superb calamari and prawns). You can also opt for a number of the local restaurants in town, including the well-known Cornutti's.
Plettenberg Bay is a sleepy coastal town for most of the year, except during holiday season (particularly Easter and Christmas) when things get a lot busier and there is a packed holiday programme of entertainment on offer.