Hotels in and around the Plettenberg Bay suburb
Plettenberg Bay is situated in the Western Cape, along the Garden Route. It is characterised by its luxurious homes, pristine beaches and world-class facilities, all nestled in an aura of complete relaxation and natural beauty. Plett, as it is fondly referred to, is only 210km from Port Elizabeth and 600km from Cape Town, making it a central point along the Garden Route and a convenient base for visitors to both the Eastern and Western Cape.
Plettenberg Bay is unique in many ways, not least of all for its variation in vegetation. Dense forests nestle between both mountains and sand dunes, while fynbos makes its regular appearance. This variety makes for the habitat of an even greater array of animals, birds and insects. The entire area between the Western Cape and Eastern Cape is known for its amazing coastline. This too is home to many fascinating species. In winter and spring of each year, whales (usually Southern Rights and Humpbacks) can be seen migrating to the warmer waters with their calves. They frolic and breach just metres from the shore as locals and holidaymakers delight in their giant antics. Schools of dolphins frequent these waters all year round, leaping out of the water and playing in the waves.
Plett combines this natural wealth with a luxurious seaside village feel; an ideal combination for local and international visitors. As such, it is well-equipped to handle foreign guests in its many guesthouses, lodges, hotels, restaurants and no less than 10 game farms or nature reserves in and around its borders.
Bartholomeu Dias arrived in the area now known as Plettenberg Bay in 1487, followed just short of 100 years later by another Portuguese explorer, Manuel da Perestrello. It was da Perestrello who named it Beautiful Bay (“Bahia Formosa”). When a ship sank just off this bay’s shores in 1630, 100 sailors were left to live here for 9 months, awaiting relief. These were the first Plett residents. They were eventually rescued and returned to their homeland. Over 100 years later, in 1763, hunters and farmers from Europe settled in the area to make a life for themselves and their families off the rich produce of this untouched land. The Governor of the Cape in the late 1700’s was called Baron Joachim van Plettenberg. He renamed it after himself in 1779. Its history as a whaling station is evident in many of the historical remains.
Plettenberg Bay is situated along the busy Garden Route. As such, it is optimally accessible to those travelling by car or bus. The roads are well maintained and signage is good.
There are several airports within the Eastern Cape, the most notable of which is in Port Elizabeth, as well as one in George. The Port Elizabeth Airport is recognised as an international one, but is limited in terms of destinations. Therefore, most travellers will arrive in Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town and drive or fly locally from there. Plett does not have its own airport.
It is advisable only to make use of professional taxi services, and not the minibus taxis.
The natural splendour of Plettenberg Bay and its surrounds make for the ideal destination for keen hikers, walkers and adventure travellers. The safe beaches are perfect for surfing, swimming, sailing, SCUBA diving, snorkelling and fishing. The many eateries, pubs and clubs ensure that busy days are rounded off by relaxing, fun nights out.
It is also the site of many nature reserves, sanctuaries and parks, offering young and old the opportunity to come into close contact with African wildlife. Birds of Eden boasts the world’s largest dome and a breath-taking forest. This dome has been designed to emulate authentic thunderstorms as well as rainy spells. The entire sanctuary was established in response to the need for a safe release facility for free-flight birds, rehabilitated birds and miniature monkeys. There is a waterfall that visitors are able to walk behind for a completely different perspective, as well as observation decks over the gorge for refuge during a ‘rainstorm’.
Monkeyland is conveniently situated next to Birds of Eden. This sanctuary is home to free-roaming primates, swinging in and exploring the dense, high-canopy forest as spectators are able to catch a glimpse into their fascinating lives and antics. Notably, the facility is not only acclaimed for the free-roaming approach, but also for the many species that they are able to nurture within such an environment. Monkey safaris are conducted by experienced game rangers who reveal secrets about these fascinating creatures and raise awareness of their plight in the face of development.
The Elephant Sanctuary allows guests to meet and interact with their 6 African Elephant residents. There are several interaction packages, each designed to allow the visitor an experience that they will never forget as well as ensuring that the elephants are comfortable at all times. Guests are able to touch, walk with, groom and ride these magnificent creatures while guides educate them regarding their feeding, mating and territory habits.
Plettenberg Bay boasts hot, sunny summers (December to March) and cool, comfortable winters (June to August). Summer highs reach an average of between 27 and 31 degrees Celsius, while winter days are about 17 to 20 degrees. Winter is the rainy season. Sunscreen and protective clothing are essential at all times.
Always apply insect repellent, particularly during summer, night time and when walking in the bush or mountains. Cover legs and ankles when walking or on hiking trails to prevent tick- and spider bites. Sleep under a mosquito net to prevent being bitten during the night. The Western Cape is, however, not a malaria-risk zone.
The water is treated and safe to drink in Plettenberg Bay. Should you visit one of the game reserves in the vicinity, enquire about the source of their water before consuming it.
Bring your prescriptions for spectacles and medication with you to South Africa so that you can restock at a local pharmacy without having to consult with a doctor or hospital during your stay. Ensure that your tetanus shots are up-to-date as some areas in and around the towns are fraught with litter, including broken glass, cans and metal.
When walking around the town of Plett, apply normal safety tips – do not accept help from strangers and keep a close watch on your personal belongings at all times. Leave the bulk of your money locked away at the hotel, taking only what you may need.
Do not go on long walks or hikes alone, and always ensure that you have a means of communicating with someone who can assist you should you get lost.
When visiting the beaches, be vigilant regarding the lifeguards’ instructions, and do not swim if intoxicated or straight after eating. Do not visit the beaches or swim after dark.