Summertime…and the living is easy


December holidays are here, so feel the pull of Plett! A quintet of dolphin sightings in one day, whales breaching in the bay, a room metres from the beach and the lullaby of the waves at night…

The Bungalow, Plett, as the name suggests, is ‘on the beach’ in Plettenberg Bay – one of the most sought after destinations for both the well-heeled and adventurous. Hobie Beach and the adjacent Central Beach are the best-rated locations in Plett and it feels as if you are in your private beach escape.

The five star guest house is part of the boutique collection of exclusive accommodations, privately owned by Cape Summer Villas – the other is Sky Villa Boutique Hotel, a luxurious eyrie on the cliff top with views from Robberg Point across to Keurbooms. Just because you’re unable to travel internationally does not mean you can’t enjoy exclusive destinations of international standard – whether it’s beach or bush.

The Bungalow counts itself as one of these. It has seven, sea and mountain facing, luxuriously furnished rooms with en suite bathrooms and first class amenities, ideal for a short or extended stay.

It is the perfect spot for basking in the summer sun on the lower and upper viewing decks, enjoying a sundowner or meal at the restaurant or reading a book under the shade of the indigenous Milkwood trees. There is also a tranquil, private area with a cosy fire boma on the rock cliff-face side of the establishment, perfect for intimate gatherings and entertaining. Omnipresent is the view and sound of the waves on Hobie and Central Beach…aptly named because it is just that, the epicentre of all Plett’s beaches. A perfect spot from which to explore and enjoy the myriad activities on offer.

A visit to this coastal town is not complete without a walk on the long stretch of Robberg Beach – you can do that without getting into your car. The backdrop is Robberg Nature Reserve and, for the more adventurous, a hike around Robberg Point is a magnificent experience.

Nor is it complete without a stop at Global Village – a rambling craft and clothing boutique in Piesang Valley. Sit in the Arboretum and listen to the birds while you enjoy an excellent cup of coffee or pizza. And of course shop. The Village is stocked with a wide range of clothes, bags, jewellery, unusual curios, crafts and gifts from all over the world.

Plett is a water lovers’ paradise and you are spoilt for choice with Robberg Beach, Look Out, the lagoon and the Keurboom and Bitou Rivers. It’s as if the water has learned the siren song from the mythical mermaids as you are seductively beckoned in to float, paddle, swim or sip champagne on a sunset cruise. There is no need to take your own craft – kayaks, Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Boards and power boats are for hire.

Or you can sign up for adventure into the sea in powerful ski-boats that transport you into the world of dolphins, whales, sea birds and the great expanse of the Indian Ocean.

For those whose adrenalin runs high, get up close and personal and swim with the Cape fur seals off Robberg Point with Offshore Adventures. This is truly an experience of a lifetime starting with a thrilling and adrenaline pumping boat ride to Robberg cliffs, then, equipped with a snorkel, mask and goggles, you are able to interact with one of the ocean’s most loved creatures.

A guided kayak down the Bitou River from Emily Moon with Bitou Kayaks is a treat. The Bitou River falls within the Cape Floristic Kingdom (a World Heritage Site) and is recognised as a high biodiversity priority in the region. It is 23 km long and feeds the Keurbooms’ Estuary, ranked as the 18th most important system in South Africa (in terms of conservation importance). It is, surprisingly, privately owned and the intermittent houses on each side of the river’s properties ownership stretches to the middle of the river. Even so, you are welcome to paddle up the river at your own pace and enjoy the birdlife. We are told that there are some pretty large fish that have been known to leap out of the water and eat baby weavers. One is uncertain but hopes this is merely a fisherman’s tale.

All this activity, of course, translates into a healthy appetite. And there is no shortage of excellent restaurants in Plett and a visit would not be complete without lunch at Enricos or dinner at 1989, arguably the ‘best cuisine’ in town.

Enrico is perched on the rocks at the end of Keurbooms’ Beach and not only has one of the most spectacular views across the bay, as far as Robberg, but is an unforgettable culinary experience. Fresh grilled calamari and other daily catches are served in an extremely convivial environment with excellent service.

1989, situated at the corner of Dolphin Circle is described as ‘the hottest new family owned restaurant in Plettenberg Bay.’ It offers a fresh, contemporary fusion menu, friendly, welcoming staff and a trendy vibe. Together with ambiance and superb service it’s not surprising you need to book.

Or you can choose to stay at The Bungalow and sip a cocktail on the deck while nibbling on some freshly made sushi or a pizza. It is also open to the public. As the sun drops gently over the ocean, a throng of birds flit in and out between the Milkwood trees. Imperceptibly the darting swallows have been replaced seamlessly and soundlessly by bats, sieving the insects from the soft night.

If the terns, swallows, bats, wagtails, weavers and sandpipers are not enough to satisfy your twitchers’ appetite, 23km from Plett is Birds of Eden – which is described as a world-class free-flying aviary.

Which it is…. Birds of Eden’s unique 2.3 hectare mesh dome (the world’s largest) spans over a gorge of indigenous forest and is up to 55 metres above ground level. Currently it is home to over 3 500 birds from more than 220 species, with the main focus being African birds. The array of striking, colourful birds is mesmerising as you walk along the boardwalk under a canopy of trees. It’s not unlikely that a Loerie will settle gently on the railing to feed or an exotic bird will flit past you into the foliage. There are flamingos (including Caribbean flamingos), kingfishers and a palette of brightly-coloured parrots – all thriving in their five- star accommodation.

There is so much to do in Plett and being out and about is a busy but happy day. Which is why returning to The Bungalow to shower, relax and unwind with a cocktail and perhaps be lucky enough to spot the dolphins on their sunset cruise across the bay, is as close to perfect as you can get.

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