Plettenberg Bay (known locally as ‘Plett’ and originally named ‘Bahia Formosa’ (beautiful bay) by early Portuguese explorers), is 33 km east of Knysna and enjoys probably the best beaches along the Garden Route and is a very popular resort on the Garden Route. The wide bay of white sand is separated by forest from a backdrop of rugged mountains. It is an excellent centre for all manner of water sports (even the dolphins enjoy the surfing opportunities!) and there are excellent land-based whale-watching sites for the July to October season. Boat trips for close encounters with the whales depart from Central Beach, one of four main beaches in the Bay.
8km south-east of Plett’s town centre is one of the Garden Route’s most enjoyable walks – a 9km circuit of the rocky Robberg Peninsula (there are also shorter trails). The high cliff scenery of the Robberg Nature Reserve is spectacular and seals, dolphins and whales may be spotted along the wild coastline. This provides a complete contrast to the holiday bustle of Plett. Nearby Nelson Bay Cave was found to contain evidence of human habitation dating back more than 120 thousand years.
Attractions in the greater Plettenberg Bay area (known as Bitou) include ‘Birds of Eden’, the largest free-flight bird aviary in the world and the ‘Monkeyland’ primate sanctuary where international species saved from captivity roam in relative freedom and can be visited on ‘walking safaris’.