Plettenburg Bay, or Plett as it is fondly known, is situated on South Africa’s famed Garden Route some 600 kms east of Cape Town and 210 kms west of Port Elizabeth. The town, comprising some 30,000 inhabitants, is one of the premier coastal holiday destinations in the country together with Cape Town and uMhlanga, and offers a great starting (or finishing) point to the world-renowned Garden Route.
It was originally founded by the Portuguese explorers in the 15th /16th century and was originally named Bahia Formosa meaning “beautiful bay”. A navigational beacon was erected on Beacon Island in 1771, replaced in 1881 and can still be seen to this day. The original timbershed erected by the Dutch East India Company in 1787 also remains and is preserved as a provincial heritage site.
The town is known as the whale watching capital of the world and Southern Right whales mate and calf in the area during the months of July through to November. Boat cruises are on offer enabling tourists to view these wonderful creatures within two or three hundred meters.
A whaling station was built on Beacon Island, where the famous Beacon Island hotel is now situated, in 1910 and closed in 1916.
The famed Beacon Island hotel was recently totally refurbished and the 200 rooms and suites offer unparalleled views of the bay with its superb swimming beaches and temperate climatic conditions. Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to enjoying the beaches on offer from Keurboomstrand to the Robberg Peninsula with over 15 kms of beach, also renowned for its boating and fishing. Further to the north is the famed Otter Trail situated in the Tsitsikamma National Park which is some 41 kms long and takes five days to walk. Also along this route is the world’s highest bungee jump situated on the bridge above the Bloukrans river some 216 meters below.
Plettenberg bay is surrounded by magnificent forests and mountains on the garden route which stretch some 200kms from George in the west to the Tsitsikamma forest in the north.
One of the more interesting towns along this route, Knysna, is situated 21kms west of Plettenberg Bay and is renowned for its Lagoon and famous Heads which enable small craft to gain access to the sea. Knysna is also famous for its Oyster festival which takes place in late June and early July. Knysna is a quaint town of some 50,000, and is within easy reach of Plett.
All in all the Plettenberg Bay area offers not just top class hotels, wonderful beaches and a great holiday experience, it is also an area which one can visit time and again and find new experiences and excitement for the entire family.