20 faces of Plett

If you want to get wet, have an adrenaline rush, learn about local culture and history, chill in nature or around a table of fine food – Plettenberg Bay has a long menu of memorable experiences to choose from. Just pack your sense of adventure and head down the N2 to enjoy this jewel of the Garden Route. By Kay West

1. Bungy jumping off Bloukrans Bridge

If throwing yourself safely off a bridge sounds like fun, Bloukrans offers that – and it’s not far from Plett. While no real fitness is needed to bungy jump, steely nerves and a strong heart are. Face Adrenalin has a flawless safety record, so you are in good hands with them too. www.faceadrenalin.com

Bungee jumping plett

 

2. Jump out of a plane

It’s absolutely possible to fly, even if you don’t have wings. You can do a tandem skydive and enjoy a bird’s eye view of Plett, jumping safely from a plane. As you near terra firma at high speed – attached to your fellow skydiver – a sharp yank to a cord will have you drifting gently towards a safe landing back on earth. www.skydiveplett.com

Skydive Plett

 

3. Ziplining in The Crags

Swim or hike along the river while enjoying magnificent scenery as you go. Then top it off with an adrenaline-fueled zipline experience over a 30 metre high waterfall. You’ll be wide-eyed but safe doing all of this with AfriCanyon. www.africanyon.com

 

4. Glide over Plett

If gliding is more your speed, that’s also an option. Glide gently over the bay and enjoy the aerial views on offer. With professionals in charge, even nervous flyers will have a great flight.  www.gardenroutegliding.co.za

 

5. Dive with seals

You can get up close and personal with Cape fur seals at Robberg Nature Reserve. About 6 000 seals live in this Marine Protected Area, and these curious creatures will welcome your company.  www.offshoreadventures.co.za

 

6. Be a road warrior

Ever wanted to race a quad bike? You can rip up the road along farm tracks and through a forest at Southern Comfort Farm. All you need is the love for speed. www.schranch.co.za

 

7. Tour Plett’s history

South African author and editor, Mike Kantey, will personally guide you through the history of Plettenberg Bay. The tour begins at Nelson Bay Cave (Wagenaar’s Cave), to explore this Stone Age site from over 125 000 years ago. Then you’ll see a Portuguese shipwreck from the 17th Century and visit a Boundary Stone of the Dutch East India Company from the late 18th Century, where Governor Baron von Plettenberg commissioned the Timber Shed, now a proclaimed National Monument. Across the road is the Old Rectory Hotel which remained virtually intact from the days of the Dutch East India Company and is now fully renovated. It served as lodgings for the DEIC employees, became English barracks and then a rectory for the Anglican church. The story ends with the Beacon Isle Hotel, home to a 19th Century navigational beacon and relics from the early whaling industry.  Contact Mike Kantey on 072 628 5131.

 

8. See land art sculptures

In 2011, the stonemasons from the Griqua community of Kranshoek, in collaboration with land artist Simon Max Bannister, erected three stone elephants. The land art piece is in celebration of the Robberg Coastal Corridor connecting the Garden Route National Park to the Robberg Nature Reserve, allowing for free movement of all species between these two protected areas. Called Aartmoeders, the land art piece is an easy walk from the village centre.  Then in 2013 the second land art piece, Calling the Herd, was erected by Strijdom van der Merwe to celebrate the Keurbooms Corridor, which connects the Garden of Eden section of the Garden Route National Park to the Tsitsikamma section. Travel along the R340 towards Wittedrift and Avontuur for 28km to the crossroads at Diepwalle.

land art plett

 

9. Visit Old Nick Village and do a Mungo Mill Tour

The Gansevallei farmhouse, originally built in 1880, has always been a trading space – first as Gansvlei Algemene Handelaar and now as Old Nick. After the sensitive renovation of the original trading store and outbuildings, farmhouse and stables, artists, craftsmen and designers ply their trade at Old Nick Village. Visiting is a trip down memory lane.

Mungo Mill stands proudly as one of the few working textile mills still in operation today. Open to the public, the mill showcases weaving production from pre-industrial revolution to present day. After a tour of the mill, visit the Mungo shop where you can buy products created right there. Find Old Nick Village and Mungo Mill on the N2, 1km from the Engen entrance to Plett on the PE side. Open daily.  Tel 044 533 1395.

Mungo_Mill

 

10. Trail run Robberg

This magnificent reserve and its dramatic scenery is the ultimate trail running destination. Rugged terrain and sea views, shy wildlife and intricate coastal flora will accompany you as you go. www.capenature.co.za

Robberg-Trail-Running

 

11. Celebrate the art of food and cooking

With its vintage, rustic atmosphere, Die Plaas is a unique restaurant in New Horizon. Here owner and chef John Ruiters celebrates the art of food and cooking as he remembers it from his childhood. If you pop in and join him it will be like being back in granny’s kitchen. Call John Ruiters on 076 790 9648 (by appointment only)..

 

12. Experience Kwanokuthula lifestyle

There’s never a dull moment in Kwano – from vibrant music to tasty street food and quirky places to chill or eat. Voorhuise Plett is an event and lifestyle venue with a focus on live entertainment served up with a side of local flavours. The entertainment line-up is an exciting mix of artists with a passion for street performance, live music and the visual arts. Call 084 748 1315.

Farmer’s Meat Tshisa Nyama is a traditional South African butchery, offering guests tshisa nyama-style braai – and it’s open daily.
Call 078 613 4159.

Then there’s also Kasi Lifestyle Tshisa Nyama, which is as township authentic as it gets. Here, young restaurateurs are making artisanal wood-oven baked pizzas, traditional braai and many classic and quirky South African side dishes. It’s a colourful hangout that’s open daily from 12 noon in Mbekweni Street. Call 078 787 6984.

If you want to sip a beer with the locals, the N2 Lounge at the entrance to Kwano has a friendly bartender and cocktails too – and is open daily from 3pm. Call 076 745 0816.

Skhulu’z Lounge (Schoolboy’s Tavern) is one of Plett’s oldest running music cafés, currently featuring local DJs spinning some fine South African jazz and house music.

The Lounge is in the hub of Kwano in Sishuba Street and is both a dance club and bar that’s also open daily from 3pm. Call 079 045 7605.

 

13. Shop at the markets

The Wednesday Market at Old Nick is all about locally grown produce and homemade offerings. The atmosphere is always vibrant and friendly and there’s plenty to taste and buy. At the Saturday Harkerville Market, there’s everything from fresh produce to mouth-watering breakfasts and other treats. It’s also a community gathering place to catch up on local news. For ready-made freshly-prepared fruit and vegetable juices, as well as health bowls and vegan breakfasts, head to SA Juiced in the main street of Plett. Also in the main street is Clare’s Deli, selling free-range produce and ready meals as well as a lip smacking variety of cakes, pastries and breads. Vegans can head directly to Bocca Dolce, where just about everything served is also grown right there on the farm. Sweet and savoury, everything served is delicious.

 

14. Trawl the farm stalls

A little off the beaten track, Nature’s Way Farmstall, in The Crags, is about farm-style bakes washed down with freshly brewed coffee topped up with fresh farm milk. Bring along a bottle and fill up with fresh milk from the on-site dairy. Shop for delectable preserves, organic fare, salami and locally produced cheese. There’s also a farmyard for children to pet the animals.  At Thyme and Again, fresh homemade meals are served, accompanied by delicious sweet treats. Try the chickpea fudge, lemon meringue or milk tart. There’s a kiddies’ castle too, to keep the young ones entertained.

Farmstalls Plett

15. Puts up Keurbooms River

Take a lazy boat trip up the river, then go ashore and enjoy a sundowner and a dip in the river. The Keurbooms Lagoon can be enjoyed if you are camping at the Keurbooms Lagoon Caravan Park, or you can walk from either Lookout Beach or Poortjies Beach.

Paddle up the keurbooms

 

16. Picnic in paradise

Robberg Nature Reserve is a Plett icon with inspiring views and breathtaking scenery. Pack a picnic, lace up your walking shoes and head off to the peninsula. There are braai and picnic facilities as well as areas to just sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings.

 

17. Walk Dunes Beach

With golden sand for kilometres and no crowds insight, this beach is ideal to stretch your legs for a long walk to the mouth of the lagoon at Lookout Beach or Keurbooms Strand. Remember to take along sunscreen and water for the day.

 

18. Visit the Plett Winelands

It’s South Africa’s smallest Wine of Origin region and grape-growing community, but The Plett Winelands are already wildly popular for both their wines and bubbly. Meander through 16 wine farms in and around Plett, tasting as you go – from Harkerville to the Crags and many in between. www.plettwinelands.com

Plett-Winelands-Picnic-Kay & Monty Vineyards

 

19. Go wild

Wildlife is plentiful around Plettenberg Bay too, all cared for in sanctuaries and reserves. At Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary in the Crags, are cats of many origins and sizes – from lions and cheetah to leopard, tiger, jaguar and puma. Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary offers tours of different snake pits and exhibits, along with viewing monitor lizards and crocodiles. Renowned Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary is the world’s first free-roaming multi-species primate sanctuary. From Asian gibbons to Madagascan lemurs, more than 700 primates live at the sanctuary and none of them are in cages. Similarly, Birds of Eden is a world-class, free-flight aviary. It’s home to about 3 500 birds from 220 species – some exotic and some local. At the Elephant Sanctuary, you can walk with elephants and feed them while learning about the lives of these intelligent pachyderms. Fair Trade Tourism-certified Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre is a non-profit organisation that offers an opportunity to see indigenous wild cats, birds and other creatures, while Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve is home to the Big Five which may be seen on a two-hour game drive. If you enjoy walking, Giraffe View Safari Camp offers bush walks – as well as survival training, team building, orienteering and bushcraft courses. Close to Harkerville, Radical Raptors is where you can see flying displays by a variety of birds of prey. These birds are not able to survive in the wild, but live free at this rehabilitation centre.

Go Wild - leopard at Tenikwa

 

20. Visit Kranshoek Griqua Museum and Monument

Descendants of the Khoisan, the Griqua people have called Plettenberg Bay home since 1927 and they settled in Kranshoek in 1939. A museum in the centre of the Kranshoek village narrates the history of the Griqua in the area, and is located adjacent to the Griqua National Monument. The museum at 236 Monument Street is open daily from 8am to 4pm and admission is free. Call Elsbeth Cloete on 044 533 9338.

 

 

Plettenberg Bay is so much more than a beautiful coastal town on the Garden Route. Here there is literally something to enchant everybody, whether you like it adrenaline-fueled or calm, enjoy markets or farm stalls, wildlife or the quiet life. There’s much more to enjoy and experience in Plett than meets the eye.

 

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