Plettenberg Bay, A True Paradise

Plettenberg bay has a rich history dating as far back as 1488 and has been a favorite holiday destination for many decades.

Visit Plett to experience what generations of tourists have loved about the area.

Plettenberg Bay is the Jewel in the crown of South Africa’s Western Cape. It was originally called Bahia Formosa or “beautiful bay” and that was back in the 1400’s. Once you have spent a little time in Plettenberg Bay you will see exactly why this magnificent stretch of coastline has been a sought after holiday destination for many decades.

The bay was first explored by European sailors in the late 15th and early 16th centuries who sought refuge from a storm. Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias is believed to have sailed past the bay during his voyage around the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, unlucky for him, he did not stop for a visit.

Today Plettenberg Bay is fondly referred to as “Plett” by locals and visitors alike. It has magnificent beaches, incredible natural forests, rivers and more recently has become home to some very fine vineyards producing award winning wines due to the areas climate being close to a mediterranean climate ideal for some wine varieties.

Plettenberg Bay was originally inhabited by the Khoisan people, is now a busy, cosmopolitan town frequented by visitors from all over the World, offering holiday experiences that are unmatched in South Africa and many of the World’s favourite holiday destinations. Plettenberg Bay boasts fine hotels, lodges and guesthouses and sees an influx of holiday makers during the summer months and school holidays. Local and International tourists alike are drawn to the many experiences that are uniquely “Plett” experiences like whale watching close to shore, adventure seekers seeking sightings of the elusive Knysna Elephants, Bungee jumping at Storms River bridge and a host of natural trails to explore. The beaches and nature reserves in the area are well known for their almost unbelievable beauty. Take a look at some of the other interesting and exhilarating activities to do in and around Plettenberg Bay.

Historically, Plettenberg Bay’s strategic location along the southern coast of Africa made it important for maritime trade and exploration. The Portuguese were the first European whalers and traders to put down anchor in the Bay and today, remnants of this maritime heritage can be found in historic landmarks around Plett such as the Old Rectory, The Van Plettenberg Beacon placed there more than 300 years ago, and The Old Timber shed constructed in 1786.

Plettenberg Bay boasts some of the most pristine and unspoiled beaches in South Africa, most notably Robberg beach which is a long stretch of beach from the Beacon Island Hotel to the Robberg Nature Reserve. It’s a popular destination for whale watching, especially from July to December when Southern Right Whales visit the area. Visitors often go on boat tours to witness the incredible sight of humpback whales breaching in the bay waters during winter months. Plett is also home to a thriving population of seals, which can often be spotted basking on rocks or swimming in the ocean.

Plettenberg bay is a haven for marine life, with opportunities for diving and snorkelling to explore the shipwreck, reefs and encounter a variety of fish species and if you are very lucky a species of Seahorse which is endemic to the area, making its home in the rivers and estuaries along the Bitou River and Keurbooms River. Plettenberg Bay has become a first-choice destination for people who enjoy keeping fit and playing outdoor sports and those who like to relax and enjoy a bit of time in the sun with their families. Cycling and hiking the many routes in Plett’s natural splendour is a real delight for nature lovers. There are always plenty of child-friendly activities and attractions to keep busy kids occupied.

On offer at the beach, you will find activities such as surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving, and kayaking.

Plettenberg Bay and it’s two rivers are surrounded by indigenous forests that boast an array of indigenous flora and fauna providing ample opportunities for hiking and birdwatching. Some 350 bird species have been recorded in the Plettenberg Game Reserve alone. Plett is also home to the world’s largest free-flight aviary, Birds of Eden, housing a diverse array of bird species in a natural habitat.

The nearby Knysna Heads, towering sandstone cliffs at the entrance to the Knysna Lagoon, are a must-see attraction. Robberg Nature Reserve, a peninsula jutting out into the Indian Ocean, offers some of the most incredible hiking trails littered with old archaeological sites for those interested in Plett’s extended history. Nelson Bay Cave, an archaeological site situated on the Robberg Peninsula bears evidence of human occupation dating back as far as 125,000 years and is affiliated with the Cradle of Human Culture. The nearby Tsitsikamma National Park is also known for its dramatic coastline, incredible forests, and for the famous Storms River Mouth. (The World’s Highest Bungee Jump is located nearby too)

bitou river emily moon
bitou river emily moon

Plettenberg Bay has a mild Mediterranean climate, making it an ideal year-round destination. The bay is known for its spectacular sunsets, which can be enjoyed from various vantage points along the coastline. The locals are often seen enjoying a glass of wine, toasting the magnificent sunsets that are quite magnificent and never get too old, even for the locals.

When speaking of ‘Cuisine’ – Plett has something for everyone. The annual wine Festival showcases the region’s finest wines and food. Plett is full of restaurants serving fresh seafood and other local delicacies. The notable restaurant at Emily Moon River Lodge is a favourite culinary joy for those who manage to get a table. Book as early as you can to ensure you are not disappointed. 

Plettenberg Bay is a hotspot for eco-tourism, with numerous responsible tourism initiatives in place to protect the environment. (Plett Environmental Forum and World Cetacean Alliance). Plettenberg Bay’s Whale Heritage Area lies within two Marine Protected Areas which form part of the broader Garden Route National Park and Garden Route Biosphere Reserve. The latter was recognised by UNESCO as South Africa’s 9th Biosphere Reserve in 2017, a testament to its ecological importance.

Plettenberg Bay also falls within the proposed Tsitsikamma – Robberg Ecologically and biologically significant Area, thanks to its critical role in harbouring essential inshore reefs, vulnerable and delicate species, and a wealth of top predators such as sharks, and marine mammals.

With such a diverse array of natural wonders, it comes as no surprise that Plettenberg Bay is a hub of activity for ecotourism and marine research and boasts many walking and hiking trails in pristine natural surroundings.

Plettenberg Bay plays an important role within the larger ecosystem, boasting a breathtaking blend of pristine beaches, winding rivers, serene lagoons, ancient indigenous forests, and the vast expanse of the sea. The Marine Protected Area serves as a crucial feeding and nursery ground for a wide variety of resident and migratory whales, dolphins, and porpoises, with the Southern right whale being one of the most notable and representative inhabitants, often providing breathtaking shows to visiting whale watchers.

Plettenberg Bay is a paradise for golfers, with several world-class golf courses in the area. See more about Pletts Golf courses. Plett has one of the prettiest and most challenging golf courses along the Garden Route at Plettenberg Country Club, rated 50th in the Country. 

There is so much to do and see in the area and Emily Moon River Lodge is just the hotel to ensure that your experience is memorable. Our staff are ready and waiting to help you experience all there is to Love about Plettenberg Bay.

Emily Moon River Lodge Luxurious rooms, all with uininterrupted views of the Bitou River.