Getting out into nature is what the Garden Route is all about and there are an abundance of hiking trails, mountain biking routes, forest walks and meanders to enjoy.
We opted to head out for a hike around Robberg as it’s an area that has special significance for my extended family and I’d never been before!
Robberg peninsula is a national monument steeped in history, with prehistoric rocks and Stone Age artefacts plus an abundance of natural beauty and incredible views in every direction!
Some highlights of a visit to Robberg include spotting the rare blue duiker, the Western Cape’s smallest antelope; walking alongside one of the seven climbing-falling dunes on the Cape coastline; and viewing the highest navigational light on the South African coastline, at the Cape Seal Lighthouse (146m above sea level).
The reserve also extends 1.8km offshore, providing protection to a range of vulnerable fish species and offering the exciting possibility of viewing the seal colony, spotting a pod of dolphins or even a whale tale in season!
Robberg Hiking Routes
There are three circular routes on offer that vary in terms of distance and difficulty. Regardless of the route it is advisable to always wear hiking shoes, sunblock and hats and to take water and a warm jacket as the weather can change suddenly.
The three trails range in time from a 30-minute stroll to a four-hour hike. All three routes offer fantastic views, brisk sea air and sightings of the birds of the peninsula.
Duration: Approx 30 minutes
The shortest and easiest route that heads straight into a mudstone cleft, which has evidence of the prehistoric break-up of Gondwanaland 120 million years ago. Do not stand near cliffs, particularly if the wind is very strong.
Duration: Approx 2 hours
The trail leads along the northern ridge of the peninsula and onto the wind-shadow of the climbing-falling dune, before heading down to the tombolo and boardwalk. Hikers will pass above the resident seal colony along the way and encounter a colony of kelp gulls at the end of the trail. Do not stand near cliffs, particularly if the wind is very strong.
Duration: 4 hours
This is a fairly strenuous walk and not recommended for young children. The trail heads up the north ridge to the Point and then back along the southern rocky shoreline. A highlight is encountering the hundreds of gannets, cormorants and terns at the Point. Do not stand near cliffs, particularly if the wind is very strong.
We opted for the middle distanced option known as the Witsand Circuit that is approx 5.5km and took us around 2 hours to complete.
The trail starts at the rondavel parking area and heads out along the northern ridge of the peninsula above the populous seal colony until you reach a large sand dune which is where you turn right and descend down towards the beach on the southern side of the peninsula.
You can then opt to head across the beach to The Island where you can follow the boardwalk circuit for even more incredible sea views before heading back to the parking area along a management route the edge of the sea and beneath the cliffs and caves ancient people called home!
Important info for hiking Robberg
Regardless of the route, visitors must take note of the following:
- Wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes, sunscreen and a hat.
- Do not hike alone.
- Carry enough food and water with you.
- Make sure you know what the weather conditions are before you depart.
- Take a warm jacket/raincoat, as the weather can change suddenly.
- Make sure you have a relevant map of the area.
- Take a field medical kit with you for emergencies.
- Obey all signage.
- Stay in a group and on the trails.
- No littering/no pets/no fires except at designated spots/no fishing without a permit.
Getting there: From Cape Town: Take the N2 highway towards Plettenberg Bay. On approaching, take the Piesang Valley turn-off. Follow for 3km until you get to Robberg Road. Continue for 4kms towards the Plettenberg Airport. Turn left at the “Robberg” sign and continue until you reach the entrance gate.
GPS Coordinates: 34 06 15.30 S 23 23 31.56 E
Start: Near the rondavel parking lot
Difficulty: Easy trail, tricky coastal section.
Take: A warm jacket, snacks and water. Your Wild Card.
Entrance fee: Fortunately our Wild Card gave us free access, but expect to usually pay R50 per adult and R30 per child at the reserve office or through CapeNature Central Reservations.
Tel: 087 087 8250/ +27 (0) 44 533 2125/85
Office hours: 08:00–17:00