3 Hiking Trails in the Robberg Nature Reserve Close to Plettenberg Bay

3 Hiking Trails in the Robberg Nature Reserve Close to Plettenberg Bay

South Africa
South Africa

When Is the Best Time

Robberg is a Nature and Marine Protected Area and a little gem along the Garden Route. We visited the Nature Reserve multiple times, and it was always different and outstanding. The scenic hiking trails inside the reserve provide a diverse landscape, sheer cliffs, an endless dune, and ocean life. Robberg is beautiful in all seasons, leaving you breathless at the end of the day. 

Robberg NR biggest beach of all
View from the "Eiland" or the Island to the most beautiful beach.

Robberg Nature Reserve is a short drive south of Plettenberg and a 6-hour, more than 500 km drive east of Cape Town.

The boardwalk in Robberg to Witsand and The Island Beach
The trail forks; straightforward is the Witsand circuit trail and right The Island Beach. 

There are three hiking trails of different lengths and difficulties. My favourite one is to the tip of the peninsula. This circular trail is 9.2 km long and takes roughly 4 hours because of the epic views and the fascinating coastline and nature.

A hiker on the rocky trail all rocks are covered with orange lichen
The tip of the peninsula is called "The Point" - the longest hiking trail.

It is such a picturesque park you can spend an entire day here without getting bored. The trail descends at the end of the peninsula, and you get close to the sea. This part is easier and safer to pass during low tide, the same for a narrow and exposed section of this trail (picture below in the trail description). Carry a picnic and have a break here. Tide times 

Candelabra flower in bloom in the sand next to the sea
Candelabra flowers are in bloom from February to April.

You may spot migrating whales from May to November along the coast. 

Weather

Two visitors are walking at the Island beach
The beautiful "Island" Beach.

Plettenberg Bay is a great destination throughout the year. Due to the location between the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans, Robberg experiences a mild climate; not too hot in summer and pleasant in winter. Summer highs are around 28°C, but nights are comfortable below 20°C.

The Island peninsula boardwalk
The boardwalk on the Island peninsula - at the end to the right is a bench.

The winter is the "coldest" and driest time, with day temperatures at around 22°C. Nights are chilly in the wintertime, below 10°C. In general, low rainfall in the Plettenberg area most precipitation in the hottest months, from November until March. Plettenberg is a sunny region with more than 300 hours of sunshine monthly in summer.

Parking

The parking at the entrance gate is overcrowded.
Shoulder parking during weekends.

Limited parking can be an issue during sunny weekends. If you plan to visit Robberg at the weekend, come either early or late in the day. Parking Location Google Maps

Opening Hours - Gate Times

The information hut at the entrance
Information about Robberg after the entrance gate.
  • 1. October until 30. April from 7 am to 8 pm
  • 1. May until 30. September from 8 am to 6 pm

Entrance Fee

A conservation fee of R50 for adults and R30 for children is requested. The gate is not closed after opening hours so you can stay inside the reserve as long as you want.

Where to Stay

The only overnight hut with residents having a braii
The only accommodation inside Robberg - "The Fountain Shack."

No camping inside the reserve. There is one overnight hut, "The Fountain Shack" sometimes called Point Shack which can accommodate eight people. Book the hut far in advance; it is very popular with residents, especially at weekends and bank holidays.

Sleeping room of a guesthouse in Plett
Our room in Plett on our last visit.

We never got the hut booked in time, so we always stayed in one of the lovely guesthouses in Plettenberg Bay. It is just an eight km drive to the entrance of Robberg. Guesthouses Plettenberg Bay

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Location and Tips

Plettenberg Bay
South Africa
South Africa

Robberg Nature Reserve is a fantastic place not only for hikers. Already the first viewpoint at the entrance gate is mindblowing for me—Mother nature at its best. Have a picnic here and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. 

The picnic area on higher elevation above the sea
The picnic area at the entrance gate offers excellent views.

We have done the longest hike to "The Point" already many times, but we also came just here with our take-away dinner and enjoyed the fantastic scenery and breeze. Lots of residents meet up here in the evening during the weekends.

Hiking Map Robberg Nature Reserve
The 3 Hiking Trails in Robberg - Map in high resolution

Three different hikes lead through this stunning Nature Reserve, starting from the car park. The path is narrow and steep in some parts. Always have an eye for the ocean, and you may spot bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales and Cape fur seals. Boardwalks were installed to keep visitors out of the nesting kelp gulls. Please stay on the trail otherwise; you may disturb the birds or destroy a nest. Therefore, dogs are not allowed inside of the reserve to protect all wildlife like the blue duiker, the smallest antelope that occurs here

  1. The GAP
    The Gap where the trail forks in all directions
    This is the Gap where the circular trail leads back to the entrance.
    The shortest track is 2.1 km leading to the Gap. Already along this trail, you already spot and smell Cape fur seals. There is a huge colony which you can see from the clifftop.
  2. Witsand
    The Witsand huge dune where hikers are coming down.
    From here, the Witsand Trail leads back to the entrance.
    The second trail, the Witsand Circuit, continues until the Witsand Dune and the Island or "Die Eiland". Before Witsand, you already smell and hear the seals barking and hundreds of them are laying on the rocks. The Island offers breathtaking views; sit down on the bench and enjoy this magical place. Mother nature at its best. This trail is 5.5 km long, and it really shouldn't be missed. The Witsand trail does not include "Die Eiland", but it is worth a detour of roughly 500 meters.
  3. The Point
    The narrow path at the point where strong winds occur.
    The trail is narrow and exposed in sections.
    The longest track leads along the entire peninsula to "The Point". This 9.2 km trail is a little strenuous, gaining an elevation of almost 400 m. Walking clockwise is recommended that you don't bump into other hikers on the narrow path. Along the shore, you can spot a big Cape fur seal colony. From May/June until early November, you may also spot whales. If you do the hike in summer, don't forget your swimsuit for a bath at Tombolo Beach. I only recommend a dip close to the shore but not swimming due to strong currents.

Packing List

Two visitors on the boardwalk at the cave.
The Nelson Bay Cave to the right on the way back shortly before the GAP.
  • Wind jacket; the exposed trails experience lots of wind.
  • Plenty of water, especially in the summer. You can't buy anything in the reserve.
  • Also, carry a picnic, sandwich or snack and enjoy the awe-inspiring nature.
  • Bath clothes and a towel in summer. Check out the map; number 18 Island's Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches.
  • Sunscreen and a hut are essential. The African sun is intense, and there isn't any shelter provided.

More information and map

Comments

Umamisky

We did the 9.2km loop and it was worth the sweat. Start early in the morning and have some bottles of water with you.

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