Plettenberg Bay adventure

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I was delighted to be invited to travel to Plettenberg Bay with CemAir and enjoyed the experience of the pleasant flight with superb staff and the mezze platter of novel experiences.

By Rubin van Niekerk

Andre de beer who used to be a CemAir pilot we credit with the incredible photo he provided of a CemAir plane and a spectacular quote by Leonardo Da Vinci, “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth air with your eyes turned skyward. For there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

We started on a high note at Luka Vineyards a family-owned and operated boutique vineyard that indulged us with superb wines matched to a “Babette’s feast” lunch. Having travelled to Plett for years I was pleasantly surprised by all the new experiences which is a significant part of the charm of Plett where new enticing experiences always await travellers. Few cities could challenge this town in that respect, being in the heart of the most magnificent natural beauty offering unique experiences within a 30-minute driving radius. Experiencing everything from Birds of Eden, to whale watching in the right season, to forest walks like the Bactrac Into Nature at Fisante Hoek in the Knysna Forest and an endless list of incredible places make for memorable bucket list experiences. Immersed in the magic of the forest during a short, guided tour teaches you about the unique ecology and its importance as a legacy for future generations. Birds of Eden’s unique two-hectare dome spanning over a gorge of natural forest is the largest in the world and homes over 3500 birds from more than 220 species. Standing quietly in one spot may attract some inquisitive birds who seem to have no fear of humans as I found when new feathered friends welcomed me by sitting on my shoulders like a scene out of Avatar.

We stayed at the luxurious Plettenberg hotel, which is part of the Liz McGrath Collection, a family-owned hotel group that includes The Marine in Hermanus and The Cellars Hohenort in Cape Town. As members of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), they are part of an exclusive network of unique hotels globally.

Centrally situated in a perfect position it overlooks the ocean with direct access to Lookout Beach, one of the six Blue Flag beaches in the area. The Plettenberg’s Restaurant is known for its world-class cuisine, with Head Chef Kyle Macaskill and his team creating magic on a plate in a mesmerising seaside setting.

Beautifully designed guest rooms, include 12 spacious suites with stunning views of the bay. The magnificent Premier Suite, Room 65, has unobstructed northern and eastern views of the bay with unforgettable sunrise views. Two private villas, offer seclusion and exclusivity for guests seeking a home-away-from-home experience. Amenities and activities include two swimming pools, a Fresh Wellness Spa, The Collection Boutique, and a Sandbar for signature cocktails and refreshments. VIP fur babies are welcomed which is a rarity in such world class hotels.

You must experience the Keurbooms Ferries cruise on a leisurely journey along the Keurbooms River, surrounded by beautiful scenery, including lush forests, mountains, and valleys. I learned a lot from our encyclopedic guide while he piloted the boat, about the archaeology, vegetation, and the incredible water quality on a relaxing cruise.

Alternatively, Offshore Adventures presents adrenaline infused boat adventures that launches from the beach to experience the soaking thrill of high-speed boating in the stunning scenery that requires a change of clothing afterwards.

Down to Earth is a restaurant with a view in a serene setting that serves delicious, healthy meals made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Nguni Restaurant used to be the old post office and this national monument is one of the oldest buildings in Plett which was an old farmhouse owned by Captain Robert Charles Harker probably built around 1850. He lived in the Old Rectory established during the reign of the Dutch East India Company which dated back about to 1777, making it the oldest building in Plett.

Old Nick Village is a unique shopping and entertainment destination located in Plettenberg Bay. The highlight of the visit was a tour of Mungo Mill, a working weaving mill that teaches you about the weaving process that produces beautiful, high-quality textiles.  

CemAir flies in directly from Johannesburg and Cape Town to Plett over the beautiful coastal Robberg Nature Reserve that homes a wide range of flora and fauna. We had an orientation and picnic lunch on Roberg before some of us departed home. I headed to The Sugarbaker’s spectacular guesthouse owned by Jas Jhol and Andre Meeuwis a ten-minute drive away. They are extremely gifted interior architects and being plant daddies, a lot of their design work is based on nature and plants for their discerning clients. Jas and Andre were fabulous hosts, whilst their Italian greyhounds were gorgeous and sweet like their owners.  Barrington’s is a vibey little brewery with a restaurant and a bar where you can order bar fare and samples of the beers brewed on site with comfortable accommodation. From there you could explore many things almost on your doorstep like it’s sibling restaurant, The Fat Fish, where stunning seafood is guaranteed.

Besides stunning beer, the wine list at Barrington’s is extensive, featuring a wide selection of local wines from the renowned South African vineyards. Their ocean fresh beer-battered fish and chips pairs well with a crisp lager. Plet was once again a wonderful experience and the people are always warm-hearted and laid back, which is why everybody always returns. Plettenberg Bay was named after the Dutch governor, Baron Joachim van Plettenberg who toured the region in 1778.

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