A hike on the Robberg Peninsula, the iconic headland of Plettenberg Bay, is a walk of constant surprises. The vegetation is largely Cape Fynbos and rocks, with the odd sand dune – surrounded on 3 sides by the Indian Ocean. Around every bend in the path, another view or exotic sight awaits.
Robberg, translated as “Seal Mountain” from Dutch and so named for the large colony of Cape Fur Seals that reside on the peninsula curls a protective arm around the sheltered waters of Plettenberg Bay, originally named Baia Formosa or “Beautiful Bay” by the Portuguese explorers.
Robberg is a National Heritage Site and Nature Reserve and, besides the seal colony, plays host to a variety of local flora and fauna including the Dassie (Rock Hyrax) and South Africa’s own indigenous, Cape Fynbos – the smallest and most diverse of all the plant kingdoms. Famous Fynbos plants include the King Protea, Rooibos Tea and many other beautiful species. In Spring, Robberg comes alive with blooms and there is little to surpass the sight of flowers dangling on a cliff over the sea!
The Eastern side of Robberg is more protected and the seal colony can be found along this stretch. Although hikers are far above the colony, one can peak down into the ocean and watch these dark ballerinas streaking through the water. Other regular sightings include dolphins, Southern Right & Humpback whales and the occasional Great White Shark. The Western or ocean side of the peninsula is the rougher side, with larger swells and stronger prevalent winds, but no less beautiful. There is a large sand dune, Witsand (White Sand) that runs from the top of Robberg down to the water’s edge with breathtaking views of The Island, a rocky outcrop from Robberg. This section of Robberg has a wonderful beach, ideal for picnics, slow strolls or just admiring the rolling waves.
One truly never knows what wonders await on Robberg Peninsula and this is a Cornerway House must-see activity!