Category Archives: Activities

Autumn in the Plett Winelands

A gentle sea breeze stirs the vines, coloured green, yellow and burnt orange, as we stroll through the vineyards to a comfortable patio laden with tasting glasses and tapas. The afternoon sun slants golden across the wine estate, time to sit back and relax – we’re in the Plett Winelands.

Autumn is a beautiful time to visit the winelands of Plettenberg Bay, not too hot and not too cold; beautiful sunny days and so many wines to taste! Take a Plett Wine Tour, a mountain bike ride or a carriage ride through the winelands as you explore a region that is best known for its bubbly, ocean views and incredible restaurants. The first vines of this Wine of Origin region were first planted by Bramon Wine Estate in 2001, and the area has grown into a popular wine region with a climate that is conducive to cooler-climate wines such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir varieties. Incredibly, all wine farms open to the public are within a 45km radius, making it a very nice weekend trip to Plett. 

Why not try the following wine estates:  

Garden Route Walking Festival 2017

“What a brilliant idea!” This was our first thought last year when we heard about the first Garden Route Walking Festival.  Those of us who live in the area know the almost unlimited options for hikers, birders, walkers and nature lovers that the Plettenberg Bay area has to offer, so a festival dedicated to getting out and exploring is so perfectly suited to our area. 

This year’s Garden Route Walking Festival is sponsored by Hi-Tec and includes 52 different walks over four days covering an area from Mossel Bay to Tsitsikamma. That’s 52 different walks: forest, beach, mountain, coastal Fynbos and everything in between – you can hike Robberg, explore Salt River or scale Peak Formosa, there are almost too many options! And that, alone, is a reason to cast your travel-planning eyes on Plett – there are literally too many choices, something for everyone. 

The creative minds behind the Garden Route Walking Festival have come up with some very unique walks too, so when we say “something for everyone”, we mean just that. There’s a yoga walk, a sketch walk and a mindfulness walk. Kids will love the underwater walk, “inner magic” children’s walk and the fancy dress sundowners walk. Walk from Nature’s Valley to Keurboomsstrand, sample the best coffee in Plett with a coffee walk or bravely take on the naked in nature walk. Do you see? Something for everyone. 

We’re looking for to this Easter Weekend and the Garden Route Walking Festival, so check out there full schedule here

If you’re looking for a multi-day slackpacking tour of the area, we recommend that you check out the new Plett Trail

Day Trip: Knysna

Plettenberg Bay is just a short 30-minute drive from the lagoon town of Knysna, making it an ideal day-trip for those staying in Plett and wanting to explore the surrounding towns of the Garden Route.

Despite their close proximity, Plett and Knysna couldn’t be more different: where Plettenberg Bay offers sandy beaches, ocean views and is dominated by the Fynbos covered Robberg Peninsula, Knynsa is sheltered from the ocean by two dramatic headlands – the Knysna Heads – steeped in indigenous forest and dominated by the large and sheltered lagoon. We could wax lyrical about how much we love Plett, but this blog is about Knysna, so we’re going to give you a little slice of what to expect when you visit this fun, friendly little town…

 

When we drive into Knynsa, it always reminds us of set from the “Pirates of Caribbean” – windswept headlands sheltering a beautiful lagoon, dramatic cliffs overlooking the Paquita shipwreck and ships (well, yachts actually) moored in the sheltered waters. There’s something mysterious about Knynsa, the forests, the lagoon and the history.  You can do a scuba dive on the Paquita wreck, but only on the turn of the tide, due to extremely strong currents in the mouth of the estuary. There is also a lovely little restaurant, East Head Café, which is great for lunch or tea on your day trip.  

Mitchell’s Brewery

The second largest brewery in South Africa, was founded in 1983 by Rex Mitchell and has grown to be a most popular stop for tourists.  Find out more.

Hikes in the Knysna Forest

Knysna has forest walks and hikes for every fitness level, and, again, you’re swept away into a fantasy worthy of JR Tolkien complete with giant Yellowwood trees, forest ferns and bubbling streams. Popular walks include Krisjan-se-nek, Jubilee Creek, Milkwood Museum and tea garden and Drupkelders. You can find out more about these hikes here

Eating out in Knysna 

If you’ve heard of the Knysna Oyster Festival, you’ll know that Knysna is synonymous with these scrumptious little shellfish. But you don’t need a festival to enjoy Knysna Oysters; many of the local, lagoon-side restaurants serve both wild and cultivated oysters so you can sit back, order a bottle of wine and slurp oysters with a bit of lemon, black pepper and Tabasco to your heart’s content.

Sailing in Knysna

This is possibly the best view of Knysna that you’re likely to get. On calm days, you can charter a yacht out to sea and get a look at those dramatic heads and coastal cliffs and on rougher days, you can enjoy a relaxed sail around the lagoon, sneaking up on the privately owned West Head for a closer look – either way, it’s a day very well spent.  Find out more.

Do you have a favourite Knysna pastime? We’d love to hear about it in our comments below.

Day Trip: Storms River in Tsitsikamma National Park

Tsitiskamma National Park and Storms River Mouth, less than an hour’s drive from us in Plettenberg Bay, must be one of the most beautiful places in the world: ocean, mountains, indigenous forest, Fynbos and blue sky.

We often recommend that our guests at Amakaya Backpackers take a day trip through to Tsitsikamma for the natural beauty and amazing scenery, and, if they choose, a day packed full of every imaginable adventure: hiking, bungy jumping, zip-lining, snorkelling, swimming, Segway, kayaking and more…

The jewel in Tsitsikamma’s crown, for us, would have to be the Storms River Mouth. A beautiful stretch of coastline, with towering cliffs and accessible where the gorge feeds into the ocean – the mouth. A place where thundering waves crash into a rocky shoreline that merges with a wall of indigenous forest. The river mouth is often calm and clear – ideal for snorkelling, swimming and scuba diving – but, as its name suggests is prone to some stormy and dramatic days. If you’d prefer to stay above the water, Untouched Adventures offers an unforgettable kayak and lilo adventure up into the magnificent gorge, where you’ll paddle amongst the ancient cliffs and waterways. Take a look at the video below if this seems like something you might enjoy, highly recommended!

https://youtu.be/KxagaT2Zsjw 

Photographers, birders, trail runners and hikers are spoilt for choice in Tsitsikamma, with a variety of trails to take in the views, fauna and flora of the region. Some species to look out for:

Dolphins and whales: Common Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, Southern Right and Humpback whales are most common. 

African Black Oystercaster:  Several pairs of South Africa’s most threatened bird species nest along the park’s coastline.

Knysna Turraco: Turraco, for the beautiful scarlet colour of its wings, this shy bird is also known as the Knysna Loerie.

Cape Clawless Otter: You’ll be very lucky to spot one of these adorable and elusive animals, although they do hunt crabs along the coastline, often in the early morning.

Blue Duiker: You may encounter this miniature antelope along a forest trail.

Hiking Trails in Tsitsikamma:

The Lourie Trail (1km – 1 hour)
If you’re pressed for time, then take the Lourie Trail, relatively easy and passing through both Fynbos and coastal forest, emerging onto a plateau at the awesome Agulhas lookout point.

Blue Duiker Trail (3,7km – 2 hours)
Take a breath and head into the heart of the forest where the true giants of the Tsitsikamma forest, the Outeniqua Yellowwood, will leave you speechless. The trail ends where the famous Otter Trail begins.

Waterfall Trail (6km – 3 hours)
Find out if you have what it takes to do the famous Otter Trail, by hiking the first 3km of rugged coastline to the magnificent waterfall, which plunges into a deep pool, before flowing on to the sea. If you’re planning on hiking the Waterfall Trail, we suggest that you give yourself plenty of time, it’s fairly strenuous and caution is recommended at high tide, but well worth the effort!

Important Information:

  • There is a restaurant and curio shop at the river mouth, so you can buy water and snacks, or relax and enjoy the views.
  • Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen
  • Day Visitors Times: 7am – 10pm
  • Day Visitor Costs:

SA Citizens: R49 per adult per day │R24 per child per day

SADC Nationals: R98 per adult per day │R49 per child per day

 

Plett Summer highlights

Summer is the time of year when Plett is just full of action: music, polo, beaches full of people, watersports, sporting events and so much more. An enormous amount of fun is packed into a single month in our coastal town. We’ve distilled some of the highlights of this Plett Summer into one blog post for those of you who aren’t able to be here during our high season – but before we begin, remember that (a) Plett Summer goes on well into March will spectacular weather and plenty to do and (b) the rest of the year is just as entertaining with our winelands, animal encounters, restaurants, adventure activities and festivals to keep you coming back well after the summer season has ended. 

To start you off, here’s a roundup of Plett Summer from our local tourism office, Plett Tourism: 

 

Plett Summer concerts: 

Get Lucky Summer – we’re very lucky to have South African sensations GoodLuck making Plettenberg Bay their home base for the summer.

Shows at The Barnyard – the original Barnyard is something of a legend and, hosting some of SA’s top musicians, is an excellent evening out for music and a picnic show. 

The Meadows Plettenberg – a new summer venue in Plett, the Meadows is fresh from the Plett Ragers and is hosting a slew of hot summer acts including the national We Love Summer series, Jeremy Loops and Goldfish for New Year’s Eve. 

Just some of our day time highlights throughout the Plett Summer

Plett Polo matches – daily polo matches at fields around Plett mean that the action never stops, there is even an SA/England international match on 29 December at Kurland Estate. 

Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge – the annual Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge, in aid of children with disabilities, is a favourite on the Plett Summer calendar. With a fun run/walk, MTB race, kayaking, kids event and the title ocean swim, there is something for everyone. 

Photo: Sirius Media

ClemenGold Hobie Regatta – another favourite, the regatta action happens mostly on the water, so find a good vantage point to watch the agile hobies battle it out. 

Ocean Sailing Charters – take a more relaxed sail across the bay with Ocean Sailing Charters where you can fish, swim, snorkel, eat, drink and take in the salty sea air and gently rolling swells…bliss. 

Plett Wine Tours

Sip and savour all the tastes of the Plett Winelands, learning a bit about each Plett wine farm as you are transferred around the vineyards by Plett Wine Tours. Grab a group of friends and make an unforgettable day trip of it. 

What is your favourite Plett Summer moment? If you’ve been with us over the summer season in the past, what would you most like to return for? 

How to make the most of Plett Summer

Summer in Plettenberg Bay can be a frantic time, visitors from all over the world, and all over South Africa make the holiday pilgrimage to our little seaside town for sun, sand, winelands and relaxation only to find that the rest of the country has followed suit. As Plett is a small village, with limited parking, restaurants and shops, this can make for some frustrated holiday-makers, so we’ve put together some simple tips to ensure that you get the rest and relaxation that you deserve on your summer holiday. 

There’s endless space, if you know where to look…

Plettenberg Bay can feel a bit crowded at this time of year – Central Beach is action-packed, restaurants are buzzing and shopping centres can be as stress-inducing as the big city. But take a walk around Robberg, head out to Salt River or stroll along Keurbooms Beach and you’ll get that sense of freedom, space and relaxation that you’ve been looking for. 

Take a wine tour

If you’ve spent the year struck in traffic and carting kids around, a tour of the Plett Winelands is just what you need. Sit back and relax as you’re driven from estate to estate, tasting MCC bubblies, rose and more while learning more about South Africa’s newest Wine of Origin region. 

Do your shopping early

There is every reason not to shop during the peak hours of the day. For starters, you want to make the most of your summer days lazing at the pool, zip-lining through the forest or enjoying the beach, not queuing in the grocery store. Secondly, getting to the shops early in the morning or later in the afternoon means you’ll have less of that queuing to do!

 

Don’t miss the fun, check out the holiday gig guide

From the Plett polo schedule to musical performances to the best recommendations for your summer holiday, the Plett Summer guide has it all. Click the image below to read the magazine online. 

Book at your favourite restaurant 

Restaurants book up quickly at this time of year, so book early to avoid disappointment. 

Keep it cool…at the polo

The polo season is a Plett Summer staple and, with polo on every day over the holidays, you don’t have an excuse not to enjoy the action and elegance of a polo match. You can choose to book a box with snacks and bubbly or pack a picnic and enjoy the match from the picnic area. 

 

Enjoy our beaches – we have five international Blue Flags! 

With five International Blue Flag beaches and one Blue Flag Boat Operator, our beaches and oceans are our greatest assets. We hope you enjoy spending time on our beaches and in our oceans. Please do be safe on our oceans: don’t drink and swim, only swim when there is a lifeguard on duty and watch this video on what to do if you’re caught in a rip current. 

We hope you have a very happy Plett summer! 

How to picnic on Robberg

Robberg Peninsula in Plettenberg Bay is one of our most recommended of all activities to our guests and also a favourite spot for us to spend time, when we get a gap. It’s a wonderful place to visit for photographs across the bay to the Tsitsikamma Mountains, offers visitors three circular hikes and is just about the best picnic spot in the Plett area. 

Robberg is not only a nature reserve, covered in endemic Fynbos, but is also a national monument and World Heritage Site. The rocks on the peninsula date back 120 million years with evidence of middle and later Stone Age inhabitation found in a few of caves along the peninsula, including the Nelson Bay Cave. 

Our reasons for loving Robberg as a hiking and picnic spot includes:  

The birding opportunities,

The lovely peach sunsets from both the western and eastern sides of the peninsula,

The beautiful Witsand sanddune, which is one of only seven climbing-falling dunes on the Cape coastline

The Cape Fur Seal colony

…and this picnic deck looking out over the bay. 

picnic on Robberg

Convinced? Here are our tips for planning the perfect picnic on Robberg: 

Plett wine: grab some local wine or bubbly from one of the Plett wine estates (www.plettwinelands.co.za) 

plett-wine-tours-newstead

There isn’t water on the trails, so it’s best to bring your own water, why not get some Tsitsikamma Crystal, which is sourced and bottled in Tsitsikamma (you can see the mountains where this water is found from Robberg) 

Winter-Cover

Cape Nature manage the reserve and opening and closing hours are sunrise to sunset so they change with the seasons. Check before you head up here: Cape Nature

Tsitsikamma-sunrise

If you’re in Plett over a weekend, stop at the Harkerville Farmer’s Market for some fresh bread, artesanal cheese and organic goodies for your picnic. Or choose one of these options for a prepared feast: 

Le Fournil de Plett for fresh bread, French pastries and delicious sandwich options

The Table Restaurant for an easy, crispy pizza

Off the hook for a finger-licking Lebanese Tapas platter

Summer watersports in Plettenberg Bay

It’s that time of year in Plettenberg Bay when visitors arrive with bikinis and bodyboards, Plett locals dust off their beach towels, buckets and spades and beach umbrellas – it’s time for watersports, swimming in the sea and all the fun of summer in Plett!

Plett has recently been awarded a total of six International Blue Flag ratings for 2016. Five awards for our beautiful beaches: Lookout, Robberg 5, Keurbooms, The Dunes and Nature’s Valley; and seal swimming operators have been awarded Blue Flag Boat status. A Blue Flag is an international award given to beaches that meet excellence in the areas of safety, amenities, cleanliness and environmental standards. So this is a wonderful accolade for Plettenberg Bay!

We thought we’d introduce you to, or remind you of, some of the best watersports adventures to be enjoyed during the summer months:

Scuba Dive in Plett

Whether you’re a beginner or experienced diver, diving in Plettenberg Bay is a lot of fun. As the Southern Cape is situated along the mingling of the cold Atlantic current and the warm Indian Ocean current, the reefs of the area are covered in a fireworks display of soft corals, anemones and sponges. With shallow reefs ideal for beginners and the deeper reefs largely untouched with beautiful topography, photographers and naturalists will be thrilled with their scuba dives in the area.

Swim with the seals

If scuba diving is a bit beyond your comfort level, you can don a mask and fins and go swimming with the most graceful animals in the ocean – seals. The seal colony is located on beautiful Robberg and Blue Flag Boat, Offshore Adventures will take snorkelers and swimmers right near the colony for an amazing marine encounter. Remember to bring along a GoPro to capture all those exquisite underwater acrobatics!

Learn to Surf

surf-plett

Plett is a bay which means it’s an ideal place to learn to surf. And what a way to spend a summer? The best way to learn is to start with a few lessons and get the basics down under the watchful eye of a surf instructor and then… salty days, sun-kissed days of board riding await!

Ocean Kayaking

kayak-plett

There are few things more captivating than paddling out onto the bay on a calm, sunny day and watching the land disappear behind you. There are no sounds but the paddle slapping the water and the gulls crying overhead. And then a pod of dolphins cruises past for a look or a seal glides through the water beside you! The perfect way to spend a summer day!

Africanyon

africanyon-plett

If you take a short trip into the Crags on your summer holiday, you’ll find one of the most thrilling adventures of all – Africanyon Kloofing. Climb, abseil, swim, slide, zipline and jump your way through the canyon surrounded by the silent indigenous forest. It’s a most memorable adventure!

Please take note when swimming in the ocean: Plettenberg Bay is subject to rip currents and rough seas on occasion. Take a moment to study the diagram below to familiarise yourself with what to do if you are caught in a rip current.

Rip-Current-A4-Poster-page-0

 

 

Take a Plett Wine Tour

You may or may not have heard, but the Plett Winelands is one of South Africa’s newest Wine of Origin regions with some 18 producing estates and quite a few tasting rooms and restaurants popping up in the areas around Plettenberg Bay. First thing to know is that the Plett Winelands are broken up into two distinct regions: The Crags area and the Harkerville areas – each on one side of Plett, making it an ideal weekend break for wine-lovers.

plett-wine-tours-newstead

The Crags area – also known as the Redford Route – centres around the the farmland Redford Road and includes the wine estates of Newstead Lund Family Vineyards, Redford Lane Wines, Lodestone Wines and Kay & Monty Vineyards, with the iconic Bramon Wine Estate just across the N2. The Harkerville Route is a bit more spread out but well worth visiting Luka Wines; Plettenvale and Packwood offer visitors the most sublime sea views across the vineyards. A truly Plett wine experience!

The area is making quite name for itself in MCC (Methode Cap Classique) Bubbly circles with both national and international awards starting to pile up. The Plett Winelands region, with cool coastal breezes, has been compared to the Marlboro region of New Zealand.

plett-wine-tours-bramon

You can self-drive through the Plett Winelands, but we strongly urge looking at a Plett Wine Tour for the full experience. Plett Wine Tours offers tailor-made experiences to experienced wine connoisseurs, passionate wine-lovers and the occassional plonker. Plett Wine Tours is able to offer educational tours for the enthusiast with an interest in viticulture and the step-by-step process of creating wine to the lover of wine who enjoys a lazy affair of wine tastings, good friends and unparalleled scenic beauty. With the most marvelous and varied restaurants dotted amongst the vienyards, there is every opportunity to eat and drink your way through the tastes of the Plett Winelands.

plett-wine-tours

Wine estates can vary from between two and six wines to tastes and we recommend that you buy a bottle or two from each to take home as souvenirs or gifts. Click here if you would like to book a bespoke tour with Plett Wine Tours.

Plett Game Reserve – the Big 5

When you think of Plettenberg Bay – you may think of beaches, marine safaris, adventure sports, winelands but what probably won’t come to mind immediately is a game drive or safari.  Plett is certainly more popular for the Marine Big 5 than for the traditional African Big 5 but don’t let that deter you – the Plett Game Reserve spans 2000 hectares and is just a 15 minute drive from the town of Plettenberg Bay.

Game-Drive-Garden-Route

Visitors can enjoy a game drive across the plains of the Garden Route with sightings of Buffalo, Rhino, Hippo, Wildebeest, Zebra, Giraffe, Kudu, Eland and other antelope species amongst smaller game animals.  Birders will be pleased to know that over 100 species have been recorded at the game reserve. A delightful offering for more adventurous travellers is Plett Game Reserve’s horse safari – take a guided ride through the game reserve and experience the peace of being surrounded by nature in a spectacular setting. We highly recommend this.

Plett Game Reserve has been home to four of the big five for years now: lion, rhino, buffalo and leopard but recently become the permanent home of a herd of rescued elephants. After a time of rehabilitation at the Knysna Elephant Park, Mpho, Lundi, Kito and Ntombi;  Harry, Namib and Gambo, Tosha and baby Harry have been introduced to the Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve as free roaming elephants. Read more about their incredible journey here And thus, the Plett Game Reserve is now home to the Big Five on the Garden Route!

Plett-Game-Reserve-Elephants

A visit to the Plett Game Reserve is perfect for a romantic game drive, a family horseriding outing or for international tourists visiting the Garden Route and looking for an authentic African safari experience. We hope you’ll take the time to visit them the next time you stay at Amakaya Backpackers.

Amakaya Backpackers Special until 30 September 2016

Backpackers-Special-Plett