South Africa is a large and diverse country with so much to see and do. It’s the type of place you can visit and revisit without ever retracing your steps. While the typical South African itinerary usually consists of a safari and a visit to Cape Town, a trip along the Garden Route should be the next inclusion, if your clients have the time. The Garden Route, a 186-mile stretch of coastal road that meanders along the southwest tip of South Africa, offers a completely unique set of adventures. Think whale watching from shore, swimming with seals, horseback riding, incredible hiking and more. And smack dab in the middle of this adventure playground, you will find a little seaside town that is perfectly situated to take it all in—Plettenberg Bay.
Plettenberg Bay, often called Plett by locals, is a seasonal coastal town that is quaint and sleepy in the wintertime, and fully comes to life in the summer. The area has a relatively temperate climate, so winter can be ideal for those that want to skip the crowds. But keep in mind that the ocean is definitely colder during that time. Summertime sees an influx of domestic and foreign tourists, many of whom have second homes in Plett or choose to homebase there while enjoying the local attractions.
The Garden Route is usually experienced as a roadtrip, either by flying into Port Elizabeth and driving towards Cape Town, or the reverse. From Port Elizabeth, Plettenberg Bay would be one of your client’s first stops, as it is only a scenic 2.5-hour drive from the airport.
A Gem of a Stay
Plettenberg Bay may be a small town, but that doesn’t mean the accommodations follow suit. Situated on a rocky headland in the center of the bay, The Plettenberg is a five-star boutique hotel that is a part of the Liz McGrath Collection. It offers some of the most stunning vistas you will ever see. With 35 elegantly appointed rooms that all boast ocean views, The Plettenberg is the place to stay when visiting Plettenberg Bay. From double rooms and suites, to the larger 2-bedroom Beach House and 3-bedroom Lookout Villa, this exclusive property can host parties of all sizes in utmost comfort and style. The hotel is also pet-friendly, so your clients AND their pets are welcomed.
Our family had the pleasure of experiencing a 2-night stay at the Beach House, and we knew from the moment we walked in that we should have stayed longer. The Beach House villa, along with the Lookout Villa, is located in the building just adjacent to the main hotel. Guests have access to all of the hotel amenities, while enjoying a private space with luxurious details that make it feel like home. The villa offers 1,600 sq. ft. of space, making it ideal for families, with a dining room, service kitchen and living room with Smart TV and fireplace for movie nights. A private pool and deck complete this lovely villa, with breathtaking views of the beach and surrounding mountains.
Every stay at The Plettenberg comes with complimentary breakfast at The Restaurant, the onsite eatery. Breakfast is a lovely buffet of cold dishes, with hot items available a la carte. Both the indoor dining area and the outdoor terrace offer mesmerizing views of the pool and the ocean beyond, making this an ideal place to watch the sunset as well. Make sure your clients reserve at least one dinner at The Restaurant. Between the delectable seafood dishes, the perfectly crafted cocktails and the views, they’re in for quite a treat. I highly recommend the beer-battered hand-caught hake or the karoo springbok loin. Delicious!
A visit to the Sandbar, a contemporary cocktail bar and lounge, is another great option for a sunset cocktail. They also offer an extensive list of award-winning South African wines. For me, however, the traditional gin and tonic with their pink floral gin hit the spot.
While staying at The Plettenberg, your clients can choose from a wide variety of activities to fill their days. They can visit a one of several national parks in the area, relax on the beach, shop in the local markets, and explore the surrounding mountains by foot, bike or horseback. This area is also known for cage diving with great white sharks, golfing, whale watching and numerous animal sanctuaries. The hotel has a concierge service on site that will gladly assist with any planning, reservations, or recommendations that your clients may need. For days when guests just want to kick-back and relax, a visit to the Fresh Wellness Spa would be ideal. They offer a variety of indulgent treatments that focus on incorporating indigenous ingredients and marine-infused body products. Although I wish we had had access to a fitness center during our stay, there is definitely no shortage of activities to keep guests busy and active.
The Plettenberg in South Africa is a Great Homebase When Exploring the Garden Route
All in all, The Plettenberg makes a great homebase from which to explore the Garden Route. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the best part of a stay at The Plettenberg is the staff. The service is impeccable, the staff is warm and caring, and they go the extra mile to make you feel welcomed. For example, they left colorful bath robes and gifts for the children and hors d’oeuvres and a bottle of wine as a greeting upon arrival for the adults. They often inquired about our daily plans, offering recommendations with local insight. They are the epitome of service with a smile. It is the amazing service that truly makes this boutique hotel a gem along the South African coast.
For more information, visit theplettenberghotel.com.
This story originally appeared in worldstompers.com, a family travel website created to inspire families with kids to expand their idea of adventures. You can follow the adventures of the Bazavilvazo family @worldstompers on Instagram and The Worldstompers on Facebook.