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A lush forest borders white sands. Carpeted mountains roll their way around a secluded bay. Sparkling waters make a soothing crash as they break upon a pristine shore. And, the sun beams its pleasant warmth down on long-awaiting skin. It’s a scene that you’re transported to when you hold a conch shell to your ear. This is beach paradise. This is Plettenberg Bay.
Long South Africa’s best kept secret, Plettenberg Bay has become increasingly popular with tourists looking for a sun, sea and sand stop-off when tracing their way along the scenic Garden Route. And, if the amount of South African natives who regularly make the pilgrimage to this sun-worshipping mecca proves anything, it’s that “Plett” is the country’s coast at its very best. Want to live like a local? Beach-basking is pretty much a must. Or, for more restless souls, the Indian Ocean’s impressive waves will be enough to keep you occupied – this stretch of the coast is a haven for watersports-lovers. Venture even further out at sea, and you'll have the opportunity to spot a multitude of whales on a whale watching close encounter tour.
But this isn’t just a beach destination. The rich wilds of Plett’s enchanting inland forests will vie for your attention too, out across the Garden Route National Park. Tsitsikamma National Park, the largest remaining expanse of indigenous forest in the country, is always a winner. The various trails range from easy to challenging, leading you through a patchwork of fynbos and age-old trees, punctuated by pretty cascades and meandering rivers, amongst plenty of other natural wonders that are certain to get you snap-happy.
Pegged, the “garden of the Garden route”, Tsitsikamma really is a fairytale forest. But, like any good fairytale, it has its hurdles – the park’s renowned suspension bridges mean that it’s in true Indiana Jones style that you’ll make your way across the choppy waters of Storms River. Top tip: don’t look down. This isn’t a crossing for the faint hearted.
The town itself dots a hillside, which means that the views, like most places in South Africa, are a big selling point here. So, make lunch an alfresco affair and watch pretty Plett at play.
Plettenberg Bay is all about the natural splendour. Of course, beach saunters and forest hikes can be done at your leisure, but opt for another mode of transport and you’ll be given a whole new perspective on the endless beauty that Plett has to offer.
Want to tailor your holiday around your own interests? Simply add an experience pack to your trip. Have a look at our Itinerary Builder to see what else you could be doing!
With its rolling topography, ocean-battered coast and incredible array of flora and fauna, this route is undoubtedly amongst the crème de la crème of the world’s greatest road trips.Discover more
Whales are the main event here, and namely the southern right. But much like its lands, South Africa’s waters are teeming with wildlife, so you’re guaranteed some form of sighting whatever the weather.Discover more
Combining rugged coastal scenery with a lush forest and mile-upon-mile of unruly, fynbos carpeted land, Tsitsikamma is any nature-lovers dream.Discover more
A visit to this stunning stretch of coastline will be the vacation from your vacation. With something for everyone, Plett is pretty cool as far as beach destinations goes. Take a look at our blogs to find out more about this bay’s myriad highlights.
Thanks to fynbos, the Western Cape is the world’s smallest and richest floral kingdom in the world.
For the adventurous souls. The wine connoisseurs. The wildlife obsessed. And anyone who lives to grab life by the horns.
Travel and lifestyle bloggers, Dan and Niki – a.k.a. Wanderlust Us – spent two weeks exploring South Africa's incredible Garden Route.
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