Written by Global Villager on 09 Feb, 2007
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…Read More
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. Close
Written by Global Villager on 26 Oct, 2002
A diversion that takes in an impressive beach walk, a visit to a site inhabited by early man and views of spectacular coastal rock formations can be experienced a few kilometres away from Plett. The secret to a successful walk, is to go along this…Read More
A diversion that takes in an impressive beach walk, a visit to a site inhabited by early man and views of spectacular coastal rock formations can be experienced a few kilometres away from Plett.
The secret to a successful walk, is to go along this beach at low tide. Most local accommodation establishments or the Plett Info should be able to supply tide information.
The start of the beach walk is about 15 kilometres from Plett, off the N2 in the direction of Port Elizabeth. Following the N2 out of Plett, one crosses the Keurbooms River (the "Keurboom" is an indigenous tree bearing sweetly scented flowers in spring). Being a large river, by South African standards, one cannot miss this landmark, as it emerges through a gorge from the hills on your left. Shortly thereafter, before the road ascends to the plateau above, look out for the road sign to Keurboomstrand. Turn right and right again, as one follows the directions. The road reaches the sea and cuts inland for a few feet, behind seaside houses. Continue to the parking area located at the end of the road. A beach lies in front and a restaurant / tearoom in the one corner of the car park. Park your car here and let the walk begin!
The first part of your journey on foot follows a boardwalk which swings around the restaurant, leading onto a fairly long beach that eventually becomes a shelf of sand wedged between surging surf on one side and vegetation covered cliffs on the other. Houses can be seen in the earlier part of the walk clinging to the cliffs above. Gulls wheel overhead or huddle on the beach in front of you, only to move out of reach as you approach. Black Oystercatchers with their distinctive red beaks, may be seen in this area as well as the odd solitary cormorant sunning an outstretched wing. The sand is white and fine grained, crunching softly underfoot. An easy crossing of a rock outcrop leads onto an extension of the beach. At the end of this beach, it appears as if you can proceed no further. If you are walking at high tide this is in fact correct; you cannot proceed any further. Low tide however, reveals a passageway to your left, carved by nature out of the rock and just large enough to negotiate. You materialise on the other side, as if in another world. At your feet, trickles the Matjes River. Ahead, across the valley, lies the large Arch Rock, looking from this angle, just like a large chunk of rock dropped by a giant hand. To your left, the steep slopes lead up to the Matjes River Rock Shelter site, just below the vertical and overhanging cliffs.
To see the arch, cross the little stream and proceed to the left of this rock mass, so that it stands between you and the sea. A sandy and stony stretch leads to the mouth of the towering arch and through the narrow gap the waves bursts forth towards you and retreat only to gather strength before returning, creating booming crashing sounds as nature continues to carve its cathedral.
Leaving this hidden gem behind, retrace your steps to the cliffs, near where you first emerged onto this other worldly stage. A path zigzags up the slope through the thick undergrowth and finally emerges inside an open cave, which is sheltered from the direction of most of the prevailing weather. The massive shell midden is evidence that Stone Age man inhabited this rock shelter for thousands of years. Appreciation of the site is enhanced by an interpretative display.
Looking back, "early man" I wonder if you were impressed by this arch rock on your doorstep? I guess we shall never know. I know that it impresses me and gets me thinking about the miracles of nature and then I see your site "early man" and I wonder too about you and us. We have come a long way since those early days. Many things are better now than they were in your day, I am sure, but some things are probably not. You in your valley and we in our world, the passage of time separates us, yet I feel that in a way, a trip to your Matjes River Valley brings us together again.
Allow about 20 minutes each way between the car park and Matjes River and a further 30 to 45 minutes if visiting both of the attractions. Should the tide not be in your favour upon your return, there is a high level "escape route". On completion, you may like to stop at the restaurant / tearoom for a well deserved "cuppa" or a bite to eat. This excursion is slightly off the beaten track, but has enabled it to remain a special and relatively pristine experience for those who have the interest.
Written by EllieSF on 17 Jun, 2002
Grab your Safari clothes and hit the water. Actually, best to bring your costume (or bathing suit) for this safari. The experienced Ocean Safari Guides will take you far out in the bay introduce your to their friends. Some of their friends include the…Read More
Grab your Safari clothes and hit the water. Actually, best to bring your costume (or bathing suit) for this safari. The experienced Ocean Safari Guides will take you far out in the bay introduce your to their friends. Some of their friends include the seals and penguins lazing on the cliffs of the Roberg, or the dolphins that dazzle along side the boat. I saw close to 50 dolphins the morning I spent on the Ocean Safari. They all twirled and splashed for us. We got a chance to see the bottle nose dolphin, which I am told is a rarity. It is truly wonderful to see these animals in their natural environment and to be welcomed by them.
Contact Ocean Safari at +27 (0) 44 533 4963
The cruises last about 2 hours. Close
Written by Ajmak on 23 Aug, 2004
Plettenburg bay is a place just to relax and enjoy the sun, sun and more sun. Great place mainly for honeymooners and lovers. Take long walks on the coast of Plettenburg Bay. Enjoy lunch at the poolside at the Beacon Island Hotel, situated on the…Read More
Plettenburg bay is a place just to relax and enjoy the sun, sun and more sun. Great place mainly for honeymooners and lovers. Take long walks on the coast of Plettenburg Bay. Enjoy lunch at the poolside at the Beacon Island Hotel, situated on the coast of Plettenburg Bay where most of the activities take place. In the evening relax at the many restaurants in the town, late evening enjoy dancing all night long at the many nightclubs in the town. Getting to these places is walking distance, so no need to hire a car or even taking a taxi. Close