With the advent of my third-year just two weeks away, I was adamant to jam-pack my holiday with as much of the outdoors as I possibly could. With fynbos in mind, I was reluctant to hike the Robberg Trail, but upon persuasion from my parents, we set off for Plettenberg Bay.
At around 8:00 in the morning (having parked), we started the trail and followed it in a clockwise direction. Within minutes we reached the The Gap, which provided the opportunity to reflect on the proximity of the nature reserve to Plettenberg Bay.
From here on we could hear (and smell) the seals in the water below. A bit of walking revealed them lazing on the rocks or darting in and out of the water at the bottom of the escarpment. With their constant barking a filler to our ears, we made our way out to Witsand – a dune that leads down to the beach.
From here on it was a quick scramble up to a rock ledge that provided a beautiful panorama of the Tsitsikamma mountains. We could clearly see Formosa Peak in the distance (a definite on my bucket list) as well as the Grootrivier mouth. This provided beautiful perspective for both the Tsitsikamma and Otter trail.
The path from here lead to the tip of the peninsula where we stopped for coffee and sandwiches.
Feeling refreshed, we headed for the island. We walked along the coast; over boulders and rocks until we reached the other side of Witsand. This section of the trail brought back memories of the Hakerville Hiking Trail, with its stark rock faces and close proximity to the ocean.
The island was arguably the most scenic section of the entire day. The trail rose steeply to the top from where we could see more seals in the water below. Further, the island was home to many seagulls, fiercely and very vocally protecting their young.
From the island, it is a short walk back to the parking lot. This last section winds through heath (Ericas) and provided us with the opportunity to spot a Orange-breasted sunbird.
On reflection, the hiking trail has beautiful diversity – there is rugged coastline, sandy beach and an abundance of coastal vegetation. The reserve is well cared for, but one cannot help but feel a lack of isolation. If I can offer any advice, it would be to keep looking forward as you walk, lest you have to face the grotesque contrast that the housing of Plettenberg Bay provides.
Max elevation: 110 m
Min elevation: -4 m
Total climbing: 635 m
Total time: 03:25:43