I stayed in several places along the Garden Route in South Africa: Wilderness, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Stormsriver, Jeffrey’s Bay and Port Elizabeth. Plettenberg Bay became my favorite, and it’s also a centrally located place for exploring the area. If you have your own car, you can easily drive to nearby sights.
What to Do
I was traveling by Baz Bus, but I was lucky to meet some awesome people at the hostel where I was staying, and one of these people had a car. So one day we drove to Tsitsikamma National Park where we did hiking and kayaking, and then to Bloukrans Bridge where I did the world’s highest bridge bungee jump.
Tsitsikamma National Park
Kayaking in Tsitsikamma National Park is a must if you travel the Garden Route. The kayaking trip started on the kayaks, and we paddled up the river passing the suspension bridge, caves, and steep cliffs. We then changed our kayaks to inflatable lilos and explored deeper into the gorge. You also had an option to do cliff jumping before heading back to the shore.
There are also several hiking options. We did the waterfall hike which takes about three hours. You are hiking along the coast all the time, so you get beautiful views into the ocean. It’s a nice and easy hike but we were a bit unlucky with the weather, and it started raining when we were coming back. Be careful if you hike this one when it’s raining because the rocks get very slippery.
Only 30-minute ride away from Plettenberg Bay is Bloukrans Bridge where you can jump the world’s highest bridge bungee – 216 meters! I’ve done three bungee jumps before, so of course, I had to do it here as well. If you don’t want to jump, you can just walk to the bridge and admire the landscape which is stunning. Can’t ask for a better view when jumping!
Robberg Nature Reserve
This nature reserve is located near Plettenberg Bay, and you can actually hike there along the beach from town. It takes about an hour to hike to Robberg, and when you get there, you can choose between two or four-hour circular trails. Some of the highlights you can see there are seals, caves and beautiful untouched beaches. They also have huts available if you wish to stay there overnight. This was one of my favorite hikes in South Africa!
Plettenberg Bay has one of the most beautiful beaches in South Africa. Just miles and miles of golden sand, and also great spots for surfing!
Where to Stay
In Plettenberg Bay, I stayed at Albergo Backpackers which is one of the Baz Bus stops. Call me a crazy cat lady, but the reason I chose this hostel was that they had pictures of cats on their website. There’s nothing better than a hostel with a cat, and this hostel even has three cats! They were all rescued cats called Mick, Sia and Lenny. Mick was my favorite cat, and he was always following me around. One night, I was staying in my room, and when I left to go to the shower, Mick was waiting for me outside of my room and then followed me to the shower. I was really trying to get to the shower, but every time he followed after me and finally I had to carry him to the kitchen so that I could shower. He was so cute!
Albergo Backpackers offers private rooms and dorms. I stayed in a dorm for the first night and then moved to a private room with shared bathroom. The rooms are basic, but clean and the wifi is working well. There’s a communal kitchen you can use and a beautiful garden for hanging out. The hostel is located just next to a supermarket (Checkers), so that’s very handy.
Where to Eat
If you don’t feel like cooking, there are plenty of restaurant options along the main road. The best backpacker friendly place is called Market on Main which is a food court outside, so they have different restaurants to choose from. I tried falafel pita, vegetable curry, and Italian food – all from different restaurants.
For vegans, there’s a great vegan restaurant called Namasté Lifestyle Café which is located poolside at the Beacon Island Resort. I ate lunch there a couple of times, and the food is delicious and healthy.