WORDS: KIT HEATHCOCK IMAGES: SUPPLIED, SHUTTERSTOCK
The bustling town of Plettenberg Bay’s setting on the Garden Route between Knysna and the Tsitsikamma National Park, offers beautiful beaches an indigenous forest, lagoon and river – nature in all its glory.
Beneath the glamorous patina of millionaires’ beach villas, yachts and polo at Kurland, lies the everyday small-town vibe of a close-knit community, which appreciates the slower pace of life here, and is active in volunteer organisations such as the Keep Plett Clean campaign, Plett Watch, Muddy Pooches and PAWS.
More and more young families are moving to the area to bring their children up close to nature. “It’s such a beautiful area from the perspective of the outdoors – we’re close to several beaches where we can safely walk our dogs, forests to walk in, and it’s lovely for the children,” says Bronwyn Harrison, Nature Wild kindergarten.
“We love the beauty, the holiday atmosphere, the people and outdoor activities that are available, and love December when the town is full to capacity and vibrant,” says resident Alison Bryant.
The six weeks of the December school holidays are the only time of the year when every house glows with lights and laughter, all the holiday homes opened up for summer. “Plettonians call it ‘crazy time’ when visitors from all over South Africa, especially Joburg and Cape Town, spend their summer holiday with us,” say Sandra and Peter Bippus of Safari Guesthouse. The rest of the summer season is busy with international visitors exploring the Garden Route, who mostly stay in the hotels, guesthouses and Airbnbs, tourism forming a large part of the local economy.
As one of South Africa’s most sought-after coastal destinations, Plettenberg Bay has a wide variety of stunning property. At the top end of the market, much in demand as dream second homes for both South African and foreign ‘swallows’ investors, are luxury contemporary villas with pools and ocean views, or historic beach houses in the old town, spectacular holiday apartments and forest hideaways.
Weekenders love that Plett has its own airport with direct flights from Joburg and Cape Town. New upmarket gated estates cater to the growing number of families and retirees moving here permanently.
More affordable properties can be found away from the prime beachfront real estate, and outside town, where nature lovers find spacious plots and smallholdings in idyllic forest and mountain settings such as The Crags and Harkerville.
Plettenberg Bay Primary School and Wittedrift High School both have a long history of providing excellent public education in both English and Afrikaans to the Plettenberg Bay community. Greenwood Bay College is a new private school born from the merging of two independent schools, offering Caps in primary school and Cambridge International curriculum in high school. The Raphaeli Waldorf School, as the only Waldorf school on the Garden Route, attracts many families to the area.
One of Plett’s claims to fame is its mild climate averaging 300 days of sunshine a year, and warm Indian Ocean lapping wide sandy blue flag beaches, so that an outdoor lifestyle comes naturally.
Stand-up paddling on the Poortjies lagoon, cruising with a picnic up the Keurbooms River, fishing, waterskiing, surfing, canoeing down the river at Nature’s Valley to the lagoon, are just a few of the water activities to enjoy.
On land, hikes around the trails on the Robberg peninsula, forest hikes around Harkerville, horse-riding, beach walks and runs, mountain-biking on forest trails, and kloofing are woven into the fabric of everyday life for locals.
“It’s a great place for children to learn about the natural world,” says Bronwyn. “There’s a nature reserve full of indigenous trees near us at The Crags, we’re surrounded by animal sanctuaries, like Tenikwa wildlife rehabilitation centre and Lawnwood snake sanctuary, all very informative.”
More wildlife experiences include Birds of Eden, an enormous free-flight aviary enclosing 2,3ha of forest filled with bird life, and Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary.
Plettenberg Bay is the jewel of the Garden Route. It offers some of the most sought-after coastal property along with an excellent climate, making it highly desirable. There are plenty of restaurants throughout the town. Plett is also fast gaining a reputation as a wine region with the Plett Wine and Bubbly Route offering an endless choice of wine estates and tasting experiences. Properties on offer vary from apartments to luxury beach houses in both the sales and rental market. There are a number of exclusive estates to choose from.
Kevin Engelsman, principal 044 533 0311 | email@example.com
Pam Golding Properties | 044 382 5574
The Plett and Knysna Garden Route area is perceived to be the Côte d’Azur of SA, offering a sought-after lifestyle for young families and retirees. Greenwood Bay Private School has increased hugely in attendance, as families focus on a safer and healthier lifestyle away from the city. All this is impacting on the dynamics of real estate. Since 2017, Plett is proving to be one of SA’s most resilient investment markets as it has everything – natural beauty, closeness to forests, mountains, the ocean, beaches, rivers and lakes, the availability of numerous sporting, recreational, leisure and cultural activities, a caring community, numerous excellent educational facilities, tourism attractions, and hospitality facilities.
Ling Dobson, franchisee, principal & Elite Gold Club Agent MPRE 083 252 2112 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sotheby’s International Realty Plettenberg Bay | 044 533 2529
Plettenberg Bay is renowned for its endless white beaches, beautiful lagoon and river mouth, whale watching, nature reserve, pansy shells and adventure activities. It’s the only place you can view great white sharks from land. It has developed into a beautiful, modern town with all amenities that combines buzzing activity with a peaceful environment, lazy beach days and many action activities like diving, hiking and bungee jumping. Plett has an exceptional climate with 300 days of sunshine a year and mild water temperatures (14°C to 23°C). All of this has led to a high degree of semigration and increased local purchasing. This, in turn, causes Plett to continuously outperform most other areas.
Hein Pretorius, owner/broker 083 701 3159 | email@example.com
- Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary
- Birds of Eden
- Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary
- Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre
- Knysna Elephant Park
- Radical Raptors
- Ocean Adventures for Whale-watching boat trips
- Fat Fish: upmarket seafood restaurant
- Simons Bar at Emily Moon: great pizzas and cocktails
- Zinzi in Harkerville: excellent food and garden setting
- The Table Restaurant: vibey with excellent food, always consistent
- Off the Hoek: great burgers
- Surf Cafe: local haunt for nachos and burgers
- The Grand Cafe on Lookout Beach: tables on the beach
- Enrico’s, Keurboomstrand: seafood, pizzas and pasta
- The Lookout Deck: fish and chips, burgers and wonderful views
- Guided sea kayak trips
- SUP on the Poortjies Lagoon
- Bungee jumping off the Bloukrans bridge
- Golf at Goose Valley Golf Estate
- Adventure Land waterslides and play park
- Wine tasting along the Plett Wine and Bubbly Route
- Robberg Nature Reserve