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Hiking the Robberg Nature Reserve on the Garden Route

Are you planning to hike the Robberg nature reserve? You came to the right place.

The Robberg Nature Reserve hike is one of the best hikes in South Africa.

It’s a beautiful hike that brings you along a green peninsula with beautiful views of the Atlantic coast. You might even have the chance to see fur seals, dolphins, and even whales.

So put on your hiking shoes and let’s go.

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Robberg Nature Reserve hike

Before we start our Robberg hike we take a quick glance at the map.

The Robberg Nature Reserve is a narrow peninsula and the Robberg hiking trail follows the coastline. It will be really hard to get lost here.

There are 3 Robberg hiking trails indicated on the map.

The longest hiking trail is 11 km and leaves on the left (on the side of Plettenberg Bay) and then follows the coastline until you come back to the parking lot.

The other 2 hikes are alternatives that shorten the first hike by crossing the peninsula somewhere along the way.

We opt for the complete trajectory. The plan indicates that the hike is not suitable for young children and is quite strenuous but as experienced hikers, this does not scare us off.

The first part of the Robberg hike is flat and fully laid out. We are rewarded with some nice views on Plett.

Before we know it we are at a junction where you can descend down to a mini beach and head back to the parking, the smallest of the 3 hikes.
We continue our walk along the coastline.

The path meanders further between the fynbos and a few times we see how a salamander quickly hides when he sees us coming. Half an hour later the fur seals announce themselves.

We do not see them yet but we can already follow their conversation and their smell betrays their presence.

A few minutes later we finally see the fur seals. They are sunbathing on the warm rocks on the side of the water.

The spots in the sun are scarce which causes hefty competition and loud barking. It is nice to see.

While we are amusedly following the intense competition below, we can also see how a few tourist boats quickly pass along the rocks.

If you want to see the fur seals you are better off with this walk because it struck us how the tourist boats did not even slow down while we spend quite some time observing these fun animals.

We say goodbye to the fur seals and not much later we arrive at ‘Witsand’. A real white sandy beach.

This is the second place where you can shorten your Robberg hike by crossing the peninsula.

We continue following the coastline towards ‘The Point’, the tip of the peninsula.

We keep our eyes on the equator in search of something that could betray the presence of whales or dolphins but without any success.

On the way to ‘The Point’, we did see these beautiful grasshoppers. Still, the highlight was ‘The Point’ itself.

The tension was already built up by the growing sound of the water hitting the rocks. But it was only once we had climbed the last slope that we were finally rewarded with the image of the savage sea that is bouncing on the rocks.

A nice place to pause and enjoy the spectacle that takes place here.

While we were watching the battle between the ocean and the rocks several gulls and gannets were circling above our heads, dancing on the thermal winds.

Luckily our efforts are rewarded with splendid views.

From here the hike continues over the algae-colored rocks along the shore.

As we continue our way along the shore we sometimes must clamber over some of these huge rocks and at other moments crawl in between some others.

We now get why they say this part is fairly strenuous.

It also struck us how different this western side of the peninsula is.

Where you have walked between the ‘fynbos’ on the eastern side of the Robberg Nature Reserve you now get to see a completely different western side of the peninsula.

We continue to climb over the rocks for a fairly long time, the path is marked with painted fur seals.

There are not many signs but you cannot get lost. To your left is the water, to the right of you a steep mountain slope.

Dassies (rock rats) are accompanying us as we move on.

After a while, the rocks stop and the path meanders alternately up and down along the steep mountain slope. We are happy that there are ropes to hold on to when we are almost clamping straight up or straight down.

Luckily our efforts are rewarded with splendid views.

The western side of the Robberg Nature Reserve may be less colorful but is certainly more spectacular than the eastern side.

The path continues to wind up and down along the mountain edge until we arrive at the Fountain Shack, a cabin that you can rent if you wish to spend the night in the park. The cabin is near the beach and ‘Die Eiland’ where we rest for a moment to enjoy the view.

We did not hike around ‘Die Eiland’, if you would want to do so keep in mind that in high tide ‘Die Eiland’, hence the name, becomes a real island.

As we continue our way along the beach we notice that the hike is not indicated. We just stayed close to the shore until we saw a sign that indicated where the path continued.

From here onwards the path is less adventurous and easier. It continues to rise and fall more than the walk on the eastern side, but the path is laid out and there are stairs.

You could consider taking the same way back as you came but the 2 different types of vegetation make it worthwhile to do the whole loop.

When you’re visiting the garden route I really recommend reserving a few hours for this hike in the Robberg Nature Reserve.

Indeed, it is even a national monument and a world heritage site. Enjoy your walk!

If you are looking for other fun things to do on the garden route, take a look here. If you are quite adventurous, you should take a look at these 8 activities you must do in South Africa. ^

Getting to Plettenberg

Hence, on a sunny morning in Knysna, we get into our car and head for Plettenberg Bay for what promises to be a fantastic hike.

The Robberg Nature Reserve is a lavishly green peninsula located right next to Plettenberg Bay.

The hike promises us not only to deliver beautiful views to Plettenberg Bay but along the way, we could also see fur seals, dolphins and even whales in the right season (May – November).

Plettenberg Bay, often abbreviated as Plett, is a bit of a mundane place and a famous holiday resort in the summer.

It was a bit of a shock that we passed a township just before entering.

We had seen many of them in Johannesburg and we knew we would see more in Cape Town but we did not expect a township right next to one of the richest neighborhoods of the country.

We continue our way towards the coast as we enter the town. The city is built against the slope and we notice that the houses become bigger and more beautiful as we descend further and get closer to the coast.

Along the way, we pass some small tourist agencies that offer boat trips and all kinds of water activities.

We stop at the beach to enjoy the beautiful view. Waking up with a view like this must be priceless and these villas will probably cost a fortune.

Yet at less than 1km is a township.

Read also: 6 tips for an unforgettable safari in Krugerpark

We jump back into our car and follow the coastline further towards the Robberg Nature Reserve that we can already see from here.

However, our plan to follow the coastline does not work and our GPS does not know the Robberg Nature Reserve. Fortunately, we notice that there is also a place called Robberg.

As soon as we enter this in our GPS we are on the right track and pretty soon we arrive at the entrance of the reserve where we pay the entrance fee (adult 50 rand and children 30 rand) and park our car in the parking lot of the reserve.

Robberg hiking tips

Hiking shoes are an absolute must, especially if you are going to do the full loop to ‘the point’. We wore shorts but since this isn’t an easy trail, hiking leggings or high waist hiking pants would have been more comfortable. Having hiking poles may also be handy. If you are looking for budget hiking poles, click here. If you are looking for a pair of lightweight trekking poles click here. If you are looking for women-specific poles, click here.

Take some snacks and enough water (There’s no drinking fountain or other facilities along the way)

Weather can change quickly and temperatures may feel different on the eastern and western sides of the peninsula.  Make sure to dress in layers and bring along a rain jacket.

The complete loop can be done in 4 hours but I would recommend reserving something like 6 hours to give yourself some time to enjoy the views along the way.

Do not forget your camera and perhaps carry a bag/backpack to store it.  It’s safer to store it when you’re clambering up, otherwise, your camera may bump into some rocks when it’s dangling around your neck.

Set your GPS to Robberg if he does not know the Robberg Nature Reserve



When you’re visiting the garden route I really recommend reserving a few hours for this hike in the Robberg Nature Reserve. Indeed, it is even a national monument and a world heritage site. Enjoy your walk!

If you are looking for other fun things to do on the garden route, take a look here. If you are quite adventurous, you should take a look at these 8 activities you must do in South Africa. 

Plettenberg Bay accommodation

If you are still looking for a place to stay in the neighborhood, be sure to consider these accommodations in and around Plettenberg Bay.

They are not only close to the Robberg Nature Reserve, but Plettenberg Bay is also centrally located and a good base to visit other highlights on the Garden Route.

Luxury Hotels

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Plettenberg Hotel

Plettenberg hotel - Plettenberg Bay South AfricaLuxury hotel close to the beach. Spacious rooms with magnificent views and big bathrooms. Excellent breakfast next to the pool and with views over the sea.

Click here for reviews and the latest prices: BOOKING

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Tamodi Lodge

Tamodi Lodge - Plettenberg Bay South AfricaGorgeous, peaceful accommodation with very accommodating hosts a few minutes’ drive from the beach. Large and are beautifully decorated rooms. The view and the surroundings (nature) are fantastic. As the lodge is slightly remote, it is the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature.

Click here for reviews and the latest prices: BOOKING

Premium comfortable Hotels

Hotel iconAquavit Guest House

Aquavit guesthouse - Plettenberg Bay South AfricaAquavit is a beautifully designed guest house with stunning views on the bay from both the dining room and the bedrooms. Good breakfast with a great variety and breathtaking views.

Click here for reviews and the latest prices: BOOKING

Hotel iconHunter’s Country House

Hunters Country Lodge - Plettenberg Bay South AfricaCharming and lovely hotel in the middle of a wonderful forest. Very good appointed and furnished rooms with comfortable beds. Beautiful outdoor sitting area and lovely lawns.

Click here for reviews and the latest prices: BOOKING

Comfortable Hotels

Hotel iconRobberg Beach Lodge

Robberg Beach Lodge - Robberg South AfricaBeautiful location on the beach at Robberg with spectacular views across to the Peninsula.  Spacious and well-equipped room and tasteful breakfast.

Click here for reviews and the latest prices : BOOKING

Hotel iconT’Niqua Stable Inn

Tniqua Stable Inn - Plettenberg Bay South AfricaT’Niqua stable Inn is located in a peaceful place with stunning views of the sea below. The farm is very large with a pool, lovely lawns and a stable close by. The dining area is large with both indoor and outdoor spaces and overlooks the pool and the lawns.

South African itineraries

2 weeks in South Africa is not enough to discover it all but does give you the opportunity to discover the lush Southern part of the country. You pass some of the fantastic highlights such as the Cape of Good Hope, the Garden Route, and the Addo Elephant National Park.

Are you planning 3 weeks in South Africa, but could you use a bit of inspiration? Discover this beautiful country with this South Africa 3 week self-drive itinerary. It is a relatively classic road trip that will bring you past all the great landmarks. Ideal if this is your first time in this beautiful country.

Click here for reviews and the latest prices: BOOKING

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