One of the most popular and beautiful features of Plettenberg Bay is the magnificent Robberg Peninsula, which juts out from the mainland in beautifully rugged drama. This peninsula’s natural, geological and scenic values are celebrated by hundreds of thousands of visitors every year as they explore this nature reserve, national monument and Marine Protected Area.
Robberg Nature Reserve has earned its title as being one of the best hiking hotspots in and around Plett and the Garden Route. There are three circular routes, which cater to very different fitness levels and needs. They all start and end at the car park, conveniently. Remember to take plenty of water and an energising snack, and to be aware of the tides, as waves splash against the rocks at high tide and make some areas less accessible.
The routes are:
- 2km – Walk to The Gap and back. This route showcases the views and has a few challenging, rocky spots and narrow walkways. Still, children older than about six years could tackle them.
- 4km – Walk to The Witsand sand dune and then down to the island before heading back. The island has a boardwalk stretching all the way around it, making it fun and easy to explore. This is also fine for families with little ones that can negotiate a few tricky spots.
- 11km – this is a challenging route that takes hikers to the point on a four-hour trek that is spectacularly beautiful.
From the elevated trails of Robberg, the blues and greens of the Indian Ocean can be savoured. Look down to see the lazy Cape fur seals soaking up the sun or swimming and splashing playfully in the water. On some occasions, you may even see a few of the mighty great white sharks as they stick to the waters closest to the rocky peninsula in search of their next meal. You may also spot turtles (loggerhead, green and hawksbill), dolphins (bottlenose and humpback), Cape clawless otters, the rare blue duikers, and a host of marine birds. Between June and December, hikers should look out for humpbacks, southern rights and killer whales and they peep out of the water or create spectacular displays with their lobtailing antics.
There are also a number of sites on Robberg that are especially valuable as archaeological hotspots. The rocks of Robberg are believed to date back some 130 million years and there are caves that scientists have used to research prehistoric grasses.
Keen water sportsmen and –women will love kayaking in the waters around the peninsula, while anglers can stand on the rocks or beaches for the ultimate catch.
There is a rustic wooden cabin available for hikers wanting to spend the night listening to the waves crash on the rocky outcrop.
The Robberg Nature Reserve is only a few minutes’ drive from the centre of Plett and easily accessible by car. After a day spent exploring the indigenous vegetation and drinking in the breath-taking views, head down to the pristine beaches or indulge in a hearty lunch at one of Plett’s many excellent restaurants.