Robberg Nature Reserve: the Ultimate South African Ecotourism Destination

Robberg Nature Reserve

Robberg Nature Reserve is a protected coastal nature reserve in South Africa, situated on Robberg Peninsula near Plettenberg Bay. Robberg offers the ultimate ecotourism experience with a variety of activities and sights to enjoy. The Robberg Coastal Trail takes you through indigenous forests, past seals basking on rocks, and across sandy beaches. It is perfect for families or those looking for a relaxed stroll.

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About the Robberg Nature Reserve

Robberg, a World Heritage Site and National Monument with ancient rocks and Stone Age relics, is visited by people from all around the world. The picturesque peninsula boasts a rich variety of fynbos, flora, and ocean life that dazzle the senses.

Robberg Nature Reserve Witsand Trail

It is steeped in history as a national monument, with prehistoric rocks and Stone Age artifacts. Rocks from this area date back 120 million years to the break-up of Gondwanaland. They show evidence of middle and later Stone Age settlement in a few of the caverns on the peninsula. The Nelson Bay Cave interpretive center may be visited for those who are interested in finding out more.

Things to Do in Robberg Nature Reserve

Robberg is a haven for those who love to hike and explore nature. Robberg's trails are suitable for all ages, from toddlers up.

Gap Circuit

The most direct and simplest path travels straight into a mud stone cleft that shows the recent breakup of Gondwanaland 120 million years ago. If the wind is strong, do not stand near cliffs. The total distance to be walked is 2.1 kilometers, and it would take you around 30 minutes for the full route.

Witsand Circuit

The path begins on the northern ridge of the peninsula and proceeds to the wind-shadowed dune's climbing-falling dune, before ending at the boardwalk. Hikers will walk above a seal colony along the route, which will pass by a kelp gull colony at the end of it. Do not stand near cliffs, especially when it's windy. The Witsand circuit is 5.5 Kilometers long, which will take you around 2 hours.

This is the one we've chosen, and it was a mesmerizing experience that we will never forget.

Robberg Nature Reserve South Africa

Point Circuit

This is a tough walk that should be avoided by small children. The route begins at the north ridge of the Point and then returns along the southern rocky coast. The sight of the thousands of gannets, cormorants, and terns at the Point is a highlight. This circuit is 9.2 kilometers long, which will take you about 4 hours to walk.

How to Prepare for the Hikes at Robberg Nature Reserve

Barbecues are allowed at designated locations only, and it's against the law to light a fire in the protected areas. Other regulations include no littering/no pets/no smoking except at designated sites, and no fishing without a permit.

The entry fee is R60 (approximately 3.75 USD) per adult and R30 (approximately 2 USD) per child. You can pay it at the entrance of the park. Opening times vary depending on season, and are as follows:

  • November to April: 7 AM - 8 PM
  • May to October: 8 AM - 6 PM

Trail Advice

  • Take with you comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, and a cap.
  • Avoid going alone.
  • Carry enough food and water with you - there are no shops along the way.
  • Before you go, check the forecast to see what the weather will be like.
  • In winter, take a warm coat/jacket if necessary.
  • Make sure you know where you are going beforehand, so always carry a map.
  • Obey all signs carefully.
Robberg Nature Reserve Picture

How to Reach Robberg Nature Reserve

Take the N2 southbound from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay. When you come onto the road, take the Piesang Valley exit. Follow for 3 kilometers until you reach Robberg Road. Continue another 4 kilometers to reach the Plettenberg Airport on your right. After "Robberg," turn left and go until you reach the entrance barrier.

Where to Stay Near Robberg Nature Reserve

There are plenty of options for overnight stays in nearby Plettenberg Bay.

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Our Impressions on Robberg Nature Reserve

We arrived around 12 PM on a sunny December day - I know, it's not the best time for a hike. We are not usually keen on hiking, but we decided to give it a try and see how it is.

So we parked the car, used the toilets (there are no others on the route), and off we went. The first bit of the trail was a little scary, as we kept looking for snakes and other dangerous creatures. Once we got to the first viewpoint, our worries left, and we started to enjoy the views. Once we saw the first beach, the one where the Gap trail turns, it started to look like paradise. As we walked on, we started hearing some strange noises, it all sounded like a concert to us. Soon we managed to see that it were the Cape Fur Seals who were making all the noise. The seals are majestic creatures, it is so relaxing just to watch them swimming and laying on the rocks.

Robberg Nature Reserve Island

We then walked some more until we reached a huge sand dune, and once we got to the end of it, there it was. The cutest little island. The views were simply amazing and the trail was moderate - for us, who are not the fittest. We cannot recommend visiting this place enough, it was a fantastic day!

Conclusion

Robberg Nature Reserve on the Garden Route is one of those natural wonders that need to be seen. Grab your camera, pack a picnic basket and head out for an afternoon at this amazing nature reserve where you can explore indigenous flora and fauna in their natural habitat. There are plenty of trails to choose from, including guided tours or self-guided walks through the forest with maps available at reception. Alternatively, relax on the beach while watching dolphins play, enjoy some fishing off rocks, or indulge yourself in one delicious braai with the best views! For more information about South Africa and the Garden Route check out our article on day trips from Cape Town, or how to visit the Cango Caves on the Garden Route.

 

This article was updated on December 5, 2021

Julie

I love finding new experiences to enjoy. I traveled the world by myself in 2013, when I was only 20 years old and fell in love with traveling. I believe travel is the ‘school of life’ because you learn so many skills – from communication to new customs, to new languages and ways of thinking and living, and you make so many friends on the way!

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