The Jewel of the
Plett is a small and uniquely beautiful town. The terrain stretches from pristine beaches up into the majestic Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountain ranges.
Enjoy soaking up the sun with a good book on one of our world class beaches, meander through the many boutique shops and galleries in the centre of town, go wine tasting, relax in a spa, for the adventurous there is bungy jumping and ziplining as well as kayaking up the rivers. For the wildlife enthusiast visit one of the many wildlife resorts or sanctuaries.
The apartment will have pamphlets of places to see and visit as well as a map.
A little history
Long before Jan van Riebeeck landed at the Cape, Portuguese explorers chartered the bay in the 15th and 16th centuries, the first being Bartolomeu Dias in 1487. Ninety years later Manuel de Perestrelo aptly called it Bahia Formosa or the "Beautiful Bay". The first European inhabitants were 100 Portuguese sailors stranded here for 9 months when the São Gonçalo sank in the bay in 1630. The survivors built two small boats which they used to link with a passing vessel. A stone that they left behind on Beacon Island, known as the Van Plettenberg Stone, is now in the Cape Town museum. In 1763, the first European settlers in the Bay were stock farmers, hunters and frontiersmen from the Western Cape.
The bay housed a barracks for the Dutch East India Company in 1776. The Governor of the Cape, Baron Joachim van Plettenberg, renamed the town Plettenberg Bay in 1779. In 1869 the barracks was bought by St Peters Church and used as a rectory for the next 70 years. Today it is the privately owned Old Rectory hotel & spa.
Plettenberg Bay hosts one of the largest seagull breeding colonies along the South African coast at the mouth of the Keurbooms River, named after the indigenous keurboom tree. There are many pelagic birds in the area as well as the endangered African oystercatcher which live along the shores.
The Robberg Peninsula is home to a large Cape fur seal colony, seals can often be seen in the surf off Robberg Beach. Great white sharks, attracted by the seal colony, can also be spotted from the high ground of Robberg Peninsula. Southern right whales are a common sight in the bay during their breeding season from July to December. Bryde's whales frequent the bay throughout the year being the most sighted during the summer months. Humpback whales migrate past during July and December. Killer whales (orca) and sei whales are occasionally sighted. Whales can be viewed from various viewpoints in the town as well as from Robberg Peninsula. Plettenberg Bay also boasts three species of dolphins which visit the bay throughout the year, these being the bottlenosed dolphin, the common dolphin and the endangered humpback dolphin.
The bay falls within the Agulhas Bank ecoregion (bioregion), specifically within the Agulhas inshore ecozone. There has been a long history of sport fishing from the rocks, ski boats launched from Central Beach, or in Keurbooms estuary. The sea life activity both surface and sub-surface varies considerably as either deep water upwelling brings cold water into the Bay, or warm water eddies over from the Agulhas Indian Ocean current offshore.
A distinctive flower-shaped sea shell called a pansy shell is endemic to this part of the coast, and is used as the symbol representing the town. Looking for these shells on the beach at low tide is a popular activity amongst visitors and locals alike.