The last time I visited the Viewing Deck, the view took my breath away—literally! A howling easterly wind was sweeping in across the sea and I was worried that the camera would be whipped from my hand as I tried to capture some of the grand vistas below.
Wind or no wind, this is surely the best viewing point in Plettenberg Bay. It is also the best place to take in the magnificent expanse of the bay and a number of its best known features. I would recommend a visit here as soon as you have checked into your accommodation.
It is not without good reason that the Viewing Deck is located on top of Signal Hill. A visual sweep takes in the unmistakable Robberg (Seal Mountain) Peninsula to your right as it juts a couple of miles out to sea. Linking the Peninsula to Beacon Island below is the long, sandy expanse of Robberg Beach. The homes of the wealthy next to the golden sands look out to sea. Beacon Island, once a whaling station, has now been permanently joined to the mainland, and the renowned iconic Beacon Isle Hotel, facing in all directions, also offers great views. The Piesang (Banana) River used to flow either side of the island, but its waters have now been diverted to meet the sea at Central Beach.
Just out to sea, the movement of bobbing fishing boats vie for your attention along with beach activities on the beach. Kayak trips as well as whale and dolphin-watching boat tours launch from the beach below. Beyond Lookout Rocks to the left, a large sweep of the bay opens up the coastline as it unfolds towards the plateau and Tsitsikama Mountains on the horizon. Keurboom Strand and Arch Rock (see my review about “Early Man Lived near a Wonder of Nature”) can be made out in the distance with the aid of a pair of binoculars.
Getting to the Viewing Deck is easy. From the well known statue of The Dolphins in the High Street, take the one-way road up the hill, away from the shopping areas. At the T-junction at the end turn left into San Gonzales. The road passes the police station on your left and ends up in a small unsurfaced parking area with a large wooden flagpole and satellite dish dominating the landscape. The viewing deck has been placed on the very edge of this steeply sloping hill.
Wind or no wind, take 10 minutes to get a good look at the bay and the lower parts of “Plett” at your feet. It will improve your perspective of a town especially blessed by Mother Nature.