Planning a Garden Route itinerary might be overwhelming and not easy since there are so many things to do and places to visit, but staying in Plettenberg Bay for a few days is a must! So, if you’re wondering where to start, you’re in the right place! This guide will deliver the most amazing things to do in Plettenberg Bay!

The Garden Route in South Africa is one of the most famous roads in the world. It is packed with fantastic landscapes and adventure activities, stretching almost 300 km between Mossel Bay and Storms River. Plettenberg Bay, or Plett, is the perfect base for exploring this fantastic coastal area. From spectacular scenery to wildlife sanctuaries, an award-winning wine route, and whale migration sightseeing, Plett has it all!

However, with so much to do in the area, it’s hard to decide where to go, but I chose the best things to do in Plettenberg Bay to help you plan your trip!

Disclosure. *This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link.*

No Time to Read Now? Pin It for Later!

amazing things to do in Plettenberg Bay        Plettenberg Bay, best things to do

Quick Tips for Planning Your Visit

How to get to Plettenberg Bay

The first option is to rent a car and drive the world-famous Garden Route. Start in Cape Town and follow the N2 route. If you wish to move straight to Plett, it will take almost 6 hours for the 521 km. However, I recommend a few stops on the route before you reach Plett!

If you’re short on time, the second option is to fly to Port Elizabeth or George, closer to Plett. There are airport car rental services, so hop on a car and drive to Plett. From Port Elizabeth, it will take two and a half hours for the 230 km in a rented car, and from George, one hour and 30 minutes for the 100 km drive in a rented car. 

Moving around by bus or Uber is also possible, but since most places are outside the city, the easiest way is to rent a car and discover the sites on your own terms!

Best time to visit Plettenberg Bay

Being an all-year-round destination, it doesn’t matter when you decide to visit since you’ll have plenty of things to do in Plettenberg Bay!

Remember, though, that December to February is peak season, so expect more people, packed beaches, high accommodation prices, and gorgeous weather! 

September to December is an excellent time for hiking, whale watching and game driving! However, you do have to pack some warmer clothes!

Where to stay in Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay is a lovely coastal town, home to gorgeous beaches, delicious restaurants and charming homestays! It’s a bit of a playground for the fancy and rich but has something for every budget, so you don’t have to worry about this aspect. We stayed in a lovely boutique hotel and felt spoiled every single day!

Secure your travel insurance

We never leave home without travel insurance designed to cover our expenses if something goes wrong. If you’re still on the lookout for travel insurance for your trip to South Africa, I highly recommend HEYMONDO, a trusted insurance provider for leisure and business trips, backpackers, long-term travelers, and digital nomads. Their travel insurance protects against theft, flight delays, injury, illness, cancellations, and much more.

Get an eSIM before the trip

Because phones have become our most important devices, it’s necessary to have a data connection as soon as you step foot in a different country. Your home data plan might only work if you paid for a much more expensive package, finding wifi connections in airports or train stations might be tricky, and seeking a local store to buy a SIM card might be exhausting. Forget all of that!

You just purchase an e-SIM, install it on your phone, and activate the plan when you’re ready to use it. Getting out of the plane and instantly connecting to data was a game changer for me. I didn’t have to waste time standing in line to get a local SIM card or finding a wifi connection to book a taxi to reach my hotel.

If you ask me, getting an e-SIM is a quintessential part of traveling. There is no physical installation and no long-term commitments. And the best part is that you can always top up or purchase a new plan through the app. Pretty convenient, right? You can get an e-sim card with AIRALO

happy elephant walking freely in Knysna Elephant Sanctuary

The Best Things to Do in Plettenberg Bay – 4-Day Summary

Our Garden Route itinerary meant moving places pretty much every single day. Waking up early, visiting sites, driving along the route, and stopping for a coffee might sound perfect, but it can also get exhausting in the long term. So, we were happy when we reached Plett and slowed down for a few days.

I even compiled a four-day itinerary in Plett to help you better plan your days. This will give you a better idea of how to organize your stay.

Day One: Hike the Robberg Nature Reserve, indulge in a specialty coffee, and relax at one of the gorgeous beaches.

Day Two: Whale-watching boat tour. Get up close to wildlife at Tenikwa Sanctuary and Birds of Eden Sanctuary.

Day Three. Discover the Tsitsikamma National Park. Go on a kayak trip on Storms River and check your stability on the Suspension Bridge. Take the Wine Route and sip a glass of South African wine.

Day Four. Game driving in a private reserve. Meet an Elephant at Knysna Elephant Sanctuary. Fancy dinner at the Fat Fish Restaurant.

Amazing Things to Do in Plettenberg Bay

 Things To Do In Plettenberg Bay – Day One

Hike the Robberg Nature Reserve

Start your first day in Plettenberg Bay with one of the best hikes in South Africa on the Robberg Peninsula, only 8km south of Plett. The Nature Reserve is a National Monument and World Heritage Site with more than 120 million years old rock formations!

The reserve is open from 7 am to 8 pm from November to April. Between May and October, the site is open from 8 am to 6 pm.

Believe it or not, Robberg Nature Reserve is a year-round destination. The landscape comes to life in the summer, and the scenery is simply mind-blowing during the winter!

Wear your most comfortable shoes and go on a circular hike to witness the beautiful landscapes. But prepare for the awful smell that comes from the resident seal colony!

girl hiking the Robberg Nature Reserve in Plettenberg Bay

Depending on your fitness level or time arrangements, there are three circular hiking trails you could choose from:

Gap Trail, 2.1 km long, a short 30-minute walk

Witsand Trail, 5.5 km long, a 2 hours stroll

Point Trail, 9.2 km long, takes almost 5 hours to complete. 

The Point trek was our favorite one and we are so glad we decided to wake up early and complete it. The trail is not hard, with ups and downs, so anyone can finish it!

One of the best days on our Garden Route itinerary involved hiking with picturesque views along the coast, spotting the breeding colony of Cape fur seals, climbing a sand dune, and admiring flora and fauna along the way.

It doesn’t matter which trail you choose; Robberg Nature Reserve is a must-visit for any nature lover and one of the best things to do in Plettenberg Bay!

Are you interested in swimming with seals? Check out this TOUR!

view over the sea colony on Robberg Nature Reserve

Spoil yourself with a specialty coffee

After the fantastic Robberg Peninsula hike, it is time to head into town. Find a cozy coffee shop, choose from a wide variety of coffee beans and think about all the things you’ve witnessed this morning! And you’re even allowed to treat yourself to something sweet! Doesn’t life feel good? 

inside a cosy coffee shop in Plettenberg Bay

Relax at one of the Plettenberg Bay beaches

There’s nothing better than a couple of hours of doing nothing and lying at the beach after trekking the Robberg Nature Reserve or doing other activities in the area. Luckily, there are a few gorgeous beaches to choose from in Plett.

You can spend the rest of the day at Robberg Beach, a 5 km stretch of golden sand. It’s not crowded at all, but it’s the best choice if you’re already in the area.

If you decide to head to town tough, Keurboomstrand Beach is the best choice to unwind. 

Central Beach is the most visited one and is also home to Plett Rage, one of the year’s biggest events! It might get crowded as local holidaymakers spend their free time here!

Lookout Beach is a familiar spot for surfers; watching them from a distance is also fun! 

Head to Singing Kettle Beach if you want to combine swimming with whale watching!

If you’re visiting in the winter months, don’t get discouraged. Taking a long walk on the beach and admiring the power of the ocean is still a great way to end a perfect day!

wonderful beach in Plettenberg Bay

 Things To Do In Plettenberg Bay – Day Two

Today is all about wildlife! First, embark on a 2-hour boat trip to spot the whales playing near the coast. Then, head to Tenikwa Sanctuary to walk with the cats and emerge in a world of color at the Birds of Eden Sanctuary.

Whale watching in Plettenberg Bay

I’m not sure about you, but I knew I wanted to join a whale-watching tour to see these amazing creatures up close during my time in South Africa! And Plett has plenty! From mid-May to February, whales are present in Plettenberg Bay. Then, from June to November, Southern Right and Humpback whales pass Plettenberg Bay to nurse and breed their youngsters! 

You can spot them from the shore or join a whale-watching tour and see how they play, flip their tails and stick their heads out of the water!

There are three boat tours daily, the first leaving at 9:30 a.m. and the last at 2:30 p.m. The two-hour boat trip will take you to some of the best spots along the coastline, and you’ll get as close as 50 m to a whale! What more could you wish for? 

I chose a whale-watching tour with great reviews and an excellent price for you. Feel free to check it out!

BOOK YOUR WHALE WATCHING TOUR HERE

whale watching boat tour

Get up close with wildlife at Tenikwa and Birds of Eden Sanctuaries

Plettenberg Bay is also known for its incredible wildlife sanctuaries. Some ethical sanctuaries worth mentioning are the Knysna Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland, Jukani, and Birds of Eden. Without a doubt, visiting an ethical wildlife sanctuary is one of the most exciting things to do in Plettenberg Bay! 

Tenikwa Wildlife

Tenikwa Wildlife started as a rehabilitation place for injured birds in 2002, and today, it is one of the largest active wildlife rehabilitation centers in South Africa. This Sanctuary funds the rehabilitation of wildlife through guided tours and sponsors. 

What to expect? A guided walk among the cats is a great chance to learn, understand and appreciate the struggle to survive in the wild. The animals are well looked after, and the guides do a terrific job.

Remember, this is not a Zoo; the cats are here due to permanent injuries or saved from trafficking, so they will never be released in their natural habitat. The cats are free to roam in their large enclosures, and during the hot days, they prefer to tuck away, so don’t get frustrated if you don’t see one! 

Tenikwa Wildlife was such a great place to experience close encounters with the cats! Getting so close to the wildlife is a memory we will always cherish! As a side note, be silent, move slowly and constantly heed the guide’s recommendations!

a special lion male in Teniwka Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

leopard hidden in the bushes in Plettenberg Bay

Birds of Eden Sanctuary

A visit to Birds of Eden Sanctuary, a vast open-air birdcage, is one of the best things to do in Plettenberg Bay! Why is it worth visiting? It is one of the best sanctuaries in South Africa, with around 200 bird species flying in a spacious closed aviary about 3 hectares large and up to 60 m high.

You’ll have so much fun walking through the Sanctuary and spotting birds in a beautiful jungle landscape with rivers, waterfalls, flowers, lakes and bridges! The wooden walkway takes you down to the root level of amazing tall trees before returning to a plateau almost at the level of the tree tops and the dome ceiling!

We spent a few hours there but could’ve easily stayed all day.

Not sure which one to visit? Check out those guided TOURS.

lovely yellow bird at Birds of Eden

nest bird in Eden of Birds in Plettenberg Bay

 Things To Do In Plettenberg Bay – Day Three

Discover Tsitsikamma National Park

On day three, it’s time to be active again, so drive to Tsitsikamma National Park, only one hour from Plett. This National Park is known for scenic hiking routes and waterfalls. You can choose the Blue Duiker Trail, the Waterfall Trail, the Fynbos Trail, or the Dolphin Trail. 

The famous Otter Trail, which follows the Eastern Cape coastline from Storms River Mouth to Nature Valley, takes five days to complete. However, you can still get a glimpse of it by hiking the first 6 km and having a coffee break at the waterfall. You’ll love the scenery along the way.

view from above over Tsitsikamma National Park

If you’re not in the mood for hiking, head to the Storms River Suspension bridge, a 30-minute leisure walk from the parking lot, and explore the area briefly before joining a gorgeous boat tour. It is called Spirit of Tsitsikamma and it’s the perfect way to unwind and enjoy the landscape! 

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you’ll be thrilled to find out that Tsitsikamma National Park is home to the highest commercial bungee jump in the world. You can try it at the 216-meter-high Bloukrans Bridge, above the Bloukrans River. 

view over the Suspension Bridge in Tsitsikamma National Park

Among many activities in Tsitsikamma National Park, we really enjoyed kayaking the Storms River. We took a two-and-a-half-hour kayak tour in the Storms River Gorge and had the opportunity to explore deep caves, indigenous forests, and bottomless pools! To keep the dose of adrenaline high, we even jumped off the gorge cliffs! And trust me, if I did it, you could do it either!

a group of people preparing for a kayak trip in Tsitsikamma National Park

Take the Wine Route in Plettenberg Bay

The Plett Wine Route stretches from the Garden of Eden to the Crags and is the newest and smallest wine region of South Africa. So if you missed the Stellenbosh Wine Route or want to experience a wine farm again, now is your chance! There are 18 wine farms in the area, of which three process and bottle their own wines. You can find Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc varieties. 

Book a tour at Bramon Restaurants Wine Estate, the first estate to produce wine in Plett. Besides sampling the wine, you can have a picnic, go on a cycling trail, or on a horse-drawn carriage tour.

goregous setup at a winery in Plettenberg Bat

 Things To Do In Plettenberg Bay – Day Four

Encounter wildlife at Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve

While Kruger and Addo National Parks gain the most attraction, I highly suggest finding a smaller park and booking a 2-hour guided game drive.

Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve is located a short 20-minute drive from town and joining a guided tour will give you a different perspective on wildlife.

On this game drive at the foothills of the Tsitsikamma mountains, you’ll spot elephants, rhinos, leopards, giraffes, hippos, crocodiles or zebras in their natural habitat.

giraffe crossing the road in Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve

Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve is home to three of Africa’s Big 5. Birdlife is also abundant, so definitely check this place while staying in Plettenberg Bay. Or stay overnight in luxury accommodation!

If you feel adventurous and don’t want to hear the engine noise, you can join a two-hour horse safari. The guide will take you to various areas where different animals can be glimpsed and give you some information about them.

BOOK YOUR 2 HOUR GUIDED TOUR HERE

family of rhino inside Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve

Meet an elephant at Knysna Elephant Sanctuary

After seeing wildlife in their natural habitat, now it’s time to meet a herd of elephants.

The Knysna Elephant Park was the first facility in South Africa to house and care for relocated animals, orphaned calves, and elephants rescued from culls. Some of the elephants become part of the resident herd, and others, depending on their personalities and needs, have moved onto other reserves in South Africa.

So head to Knysna Elephant Park, a short ten-minute drive from Plett and join one of their tours to discover more about this place. You’ll learn more about these incredible animals, feed and even touch them! So buy a bucket of food and be prepared for a humbling experience!

Hearing their life stories is fascinating and the encounter is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Walking free with these gentle giants is breathtaking and one of the best things to do in Plettenberg Bay.

Don’t leave without having a coffee and a dessert at the in-house cafeteria!

feeding a herd of Elephants at Knysna Elephant Sanctuary

Spoil yourself with a delicious dinner at the Fat Fish Restaurant, one of the best things to do in Plettenberg Bay

I’m not sure about you, but when it comes to food, I can talk about it for hours, and trying all kinds of dishes during my travels is something I treasure. Our Plett host recommended the Fat Fish restaurant, and what a find! We enjoyed this place so much that we ended up having dinner there every single evening! 

The Fat Fish is a favorite with locals and tourists alike, known for its high standards of quality seafood and knowledgeable staff. In addition, the restaurant offers views over the ocean and the gorgeous Beacon Isle Hotel. 

Book a table with sea views and enjoy some of their delicacies, like fresh fish and seafood, delicious sushi, or meat steaks accompanied by South African wine. Having dinner at the Fat Fish is one of the best things to do in Plettenberg Bay, I guarantee it! 

inside view of The Fat Fish restaurant in Plettenberg Bay

delicious dish at the Fat Fish restaurant

Amazing Things to Do in Plettenberg Bay for FREE

Whale watching from the coastline

If you truly want to spot those incredible animals but don’t want to join a tour, there is no need to worry. You can easily spot them from the Whale Tail Lookout Point. 

Leave the car at the designated area and head to the lookout point. There are a couple of benches where you can sit and enjoy a picnic! Look for the whales in the distance! Depending on the time of the year, don’t be surprised if you notice dolphins or even sharks. 

girl watching the ocean from the shore

Drive the Beachy Head Drive – the South African millionaire’s drive

If you’re into road trips and scenic views, you should hop in your car and drive along the Robberg Peninsula. You’ll come across some of the most lovely houses in Plett! Maybe it doesn’t sound like something you would typically do, but trust me, you will enjoy this drive!

Hike through Tsitsikamma National Park

Besides the famous trails in Tsitsikamma, you can complete some without reservation or hiring a guide. Tucked between the sea and the mountains, with the Storms River flowing in between, you will love taking a scenic trail! 

girl hiking in Tsitsikamma Naional Park

Hit the beaches

One of the best things to do in Plettenberg Bay is to spend time at the beach! The jaw-dropping sand beaches are something not to be missed, no matter which time you are choosing to visit. During summer, you can lay in the sun, watch surfers in the distance, and take SUP lessons. During winter, you can take long walks on the beach and enjoy the views! 

gorgeous view over the ocean at the beach in Plettenberg Bay

Interactive Map of the Things to Do in Plettenberg Bay

Underneath, you’ll find a customized map that includes all the locations mentioned in this article. Just open this article on your phone and click on the frame in the upper right corner of the map. The Google Maps app will open, and you can check all the details. I hope it helps!

South Africa Related Posts

THE BEST SELF-DRIVE SAFARI AT ADDO ELEPHANT PARK

ONE DAY IN JOHANNESBURG ITINERARY

10 EPIC DAY TRIPS FROM CAPE TOWN YOU CAN’T MISS

ONE DAY IN CAPE AGULHAS ITINERARY

Other things to do in Plettenberg Bay:

 
Share this...
Share on pinterest
Pinterest