In search of magic: Plettenberg Bay is more than beaches

Posted by Lorraine Kearney on 15 June 2022

Is there more to Plettenberg Bay than the beach? Although it does have some stunners on that front.

So, a challenge was laid down – a weekend in May, the low season, to find out. Plettenberg Bay is no longer the tiny two-horse hamlet your grandparents used to take you to; today it could lay a plausible claim to being among South Africa’s top draws.

It’s a bustling town, replete with restaurants, coffee shops, bars, shops. Something for everyone then.

In search of magic: Plettenberg Bay is more than beaches

Sky Villa Plettenberg Bay. Photo: Marzahn Botha

Plettenberg Bay

We rolled into town in the ever-reliable Ford Everest Sport, the 10-speed transmission and cruise control making for a smooth ride up the N2.

In search of magic: Plettenberg Bay is more than beaches

Picture: Lorraine Kearney

There are also front and rear park sensors and rear-view camera to help manoeuvre into a tight parking spot on the thumping Main Street.

Sky Villa on top of the hill

But before the city beat, a stop to check in at the five-star Sky Villa Boutique Hotel, which belongs to the Raw Africa Boutique Collection. The hotel is splendid, with artworks adorning the walls – and even its own gallery and hidden speak easy.

In search of magic: Plettenberg Bay is more than beaches

Sky Villa Plettenberg Bay. Photo: Travelbug Rose

The weather played its part too, warm enough for a lazy cocktail on a sun lounger and a swim in the inviting blue pool.

READ: 7 fun things to do in pretty Plettenberg Bay

Sky Villa does what it says on the box: it is at the top of a hill on Barons View Estate, with an uninterrupted 360-degree view of the Keurbooms River, Indian Ocean and the Tsitsikamma and Langkloof mountains.

Watching a red full moon rise over the sea was arguably the highlight of the weekend.

In search of magic: Plettenberg Bay is more than beaches

Robberg Gap Circuit. Photo: Lorraine Kearney

Gym, pool, bar and even snooker

There are just 14 luxury rooms, all with their own private terrace, as well as Villa One @ Sky, a standalone house with six en-suite air-conditioned rooms, lounge and kitchen. You need to book out the entire villa though.

Part of the parcel is a fully equipped gym, Sky/Zen pool with jets, bar, Sky Bar, fully stocked Wine Cellar and Snooker Room.

The restaurant serves up delicious, fresh food, featuring the hotel-grown herbs and vegetables.

The Bungalow

It’s just five minutes away from the town and Plettenberg Bay Beach, where an excellent lunch spot is Sky Villa’s sister property, The Bungalow. It is much more relaxed, with a surfer vibe, but no less luxurious. It is right on the beach, and the vegan sushi (there is fish too!) is sublime.

In search of magic: Plettenberg Bay is more than beaches

The Bungalow. Photo: Travelbug Rose

Ecuadorian chef Balvina Aitkins, who prefers to go by the name Bella, will whip up inspired vegan dishes at either establishment – but phone ahead or you may be disappointed.

In search of magic: Plettenberg Bay is more than beaches

Robberg in Plettenberg Bay.

Rates

Both Sky Villa and The Bungalow are from R2 900 for two sharing a night, including breakfast, during the low season. Rates go up at the end of September.

In search of magic: Plettenberg Bay is more than beaches

Robberg Witsand Circuit. Photo: Marzahn Botha

What to do

Start the morning with an invigorating hike through Robberg Nature Reserve, a Cape Nature masterpiece. It’s a national monument steeped in history, with prehistoric rocks and Stone Age artefacts.

Conservation fees are adults R50 and children R30 for the day. You can also overnight in the reserve – self-catering from R1 030. There is also an overnight conservation fee of R40 for adults and R20 for children.

It’s a good spot for whale watching; whale season is June to November, when southern right whales are breeding and calving.

And the hikes: the Gap Circuit is the easiest at 2.1km; the Witsand Circuit follows at 5.5km; and Point Circuit is a 9.2km trek only for the fit. Watch out for the seals, the gannets, cormorants and terns.

Plett is also making a name for itself as a wine destination – go for a tasting at any (or all) of the eight wineries open to visitors: Bramon Wine Estate; Newstead, home of Lund Family Wines; Kay and Monty Vineyards; Lodestone Wines; Luka; Plettenvale Wine Estate; Bitou Vineyards; and Packwood Wine Estate.

Refreshment

End the walk with a refreshing ice coffee or hot brew from the resident food truck in the parking lot.

If you want more, head to Barrington’s, the first craft brewery in the town.

In search of magic: Plettenberg Bay is more than beaches

Barringtons in Plettenberg Bay. Photo: Travelbug Rose

Don’t forget to order from the menu; it’s been a long morning and your body needs nourishment. The food is fresh and good – so fresh, in fact, that you walk through the herb and vegetable garden to get to your table.

Recommended: the light and tasty Czech Pilsener or the Ibhiya Ibuchu or Buchu Brew, which won a bronze at the Africa Beer Cup in May in the Specialty Beer category. It works best as a shandy with a slice of orange.

Robberg in Plettenberg Bay. Photo: Lorraine Kearney

Specials

Everyone loves a special, and the Raw Africa Boutique Collection has a few.

From 1 May to 31 August 2022, there are four packages for two adults sharing for two nights, including breakfast at either Sky Villa Boutique Hotel or The Bungalow:

Stay & Play includes a R500 Sky Villa food and beverage voucher and a round of golf (and golf cart) at the signature Gary Player designed course, for R5 000;

Perfect Date includes a bottle of Bramon Blanc de Blanc MCC on arrival, a R1 000 Sky Villa food and beverage voucher and a 60-minute Thai couple’s massage at Royal Thai for R5 200;

Taste of Plett includes a bottle of Bramon Blanc de Blanc MCC on arrival, a Nineteen89 Experience (R500 voucher), a Bramon Experience (R500 voucher) and a Golden Palm Experience (R500 voucher) for R4 900;

Plett Feel Good includes a bottle of Bramon Blanc de Blanc MCC on arrival and a ‘Walk with the Elephants’ or a ‘Tenikwa Private Tour’ for R4 800. Of course, all subject to availability, and as always, check the terms and conditions.

So yes, there is plenty more to do in Plett than lie on the beach, alluring as that is.

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