You know when someone asks if you could go anywhere in the world where would you go? I don’t ever have one answer because I want to go everywhere but Robberg would be in my top five every time. Robberg Nature Reserve is, in my opining the single most beautiful place in South Africa, no wonder it’s a Word Heritage Site and a national monument . It’s raw, it’s rough but most of all it’s so incredible beautiful you’ll never want to walk away.
You’ll find Robberg a few minutes drive outside of Plettenberg Bay, but even if you’re staying in the surrounding areas it’s well worth a day trip! I mean seriously, where else can you see one of the most beautiful places on this planet for only R40 for adults and R20 for children.
I’ve put a quick guide together to bring you up to speed on anything you would need to know before and during the hike.
P.S Thanks Mommy, Shani and Shayne for an awesome day exploring!
It’s Hard But It’s Not That Hard
You’d be kidding yourself if you think Robberg is a walk in the park…for starters there’s no park. Expect loads of steep inclines and declines, and having to traverse rocks on the beachfront. Towards the start of the walk there are well walked paths and even some new decking to make the hike relatively easy. As soon as you head round the point of the reserve your hike will take a different turn, there are only a few ropes secured to a couple rocks the rest is all up to you. When I did the hike there were only a handful of people who actually did the whole walk, most people seemed to get to the tip of the reserve and turn back.
While at points I was huffing and puffing I never felt like I couldn’t complete the hike, and even more impressively my mom who’s 60 with rheumatoid arthritis and had two huge camera’s strapped to her powered through and completed it like a champ!
East VS West
The peninsula has a western and eastern flank and they couldn’t be more different. The eastern flank is filled with incredible Fynbos and flora that doesn’t exist anywhere else outside of South Africa. You’ll find birds bouncing from bush to push and incredible lizards sunning themselves on the rocks. The turquoise sea below is also the home to an array of dolphins whales and a very VERY stinky seal colony, which of course attracts an impressive array of sharks to the area. During whale mating season all you need to do is hang out for a bit and chances are you’ll see a whale or two frolicking in the water below.
The western flank is filled with rock formations the size of buildings and mostly an incredible rusted orange colour, crashing waves and foamy seas and a rather large colony of Dassies (Rock Badgers) who you will find sunning their bellies and eyeing you out from the rocks. If you’re unfamiliar with Dassies, they may look cute but don’t get too close because they can get stroppy and they have teeth! The west side is definitely harder but it’s the most beautiful part of the hike ending on an incredibly beautiful white sand beach.
There are a few things to consider when packing for the hike and all are equally as important! The hike took us a total of just under 5 hours, you can definitely do it in less time but we stopped at leisure to take in the surrounds and take pictures. The most important thing to pack is water, and lots of it. I would say 2l should be enough to keep you hydrated, once you’re in the reserve there are no taps or fountains to quench your thirst so don’t forget.
Secondly I would pack a few snacks for energy, I like to hike with nuts or raisins, they’re light and give me that little extra burst without weighing me down. I did see a couple of people eating full picnics at the point before turning around to go back which seems like a really nice option too!
Lastly, the weather around Plett is its own monster, one hour it will be hot, the next windy and rainy, not to mention the difference from the temperature in the sun to in the shade on the rocky side of the hike. To counter this don’t forget to pack a jacket of sorts even if it’s light, you’re definitely going to need it.
I probably don’t need to say this but you’ll also need a good pair of sneakers, doing this hike in sandals is not an option!
Watch Out For Signs
As you go along the hike the path will lead you in the right direction, as soon as you round the point however there isn’t much of a path for a fair amount of the way and the only thing guiding you will be small square signs with seals painted on them. These signs are spread out and a few of them are faded due to exposure so just keep a constant eye out for them…and obviously don’t go to close to the ocean as freak waves do occur and the rocks don’t look too friendly!
Leave Nothing Behind
While the reserve is 99.9% spotless there are a few assholes (yes assholes) who might leave their cigarette butts or food wrappers on the floor instead of keeping it with them till the exit the reserve. Be mindful of littering in any form and if you see any litter pick it up and throw it away after you leave Robberg. The universe will pay you back I promise!
Stay A While
I only discovered this on my last hike in the reserve but you can actually stay there for a night or two in an incredible self catering little cottage on the western flank of the reserve. The Fountain Shack is nestled against a rock face and has all the makings of a fairytale in my opinion. The shack has basic cooking facilities and can host up to eight people in four double bunk beds in an open-plan room at a time, with only one group allowed at a time.
So if you’re visiting South Africa or you’re lucky enough to be a South African Robberg should definitely be one of the top things to do while you’re in the area. If you have any questions about the hike or what else to do on holiday leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to help!
For more information on the reserve and a map click here.