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Hotels of Plettenberg Bay

A hotel in Plettenberg Bay is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Plettenberg Bay hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Plettenberg Bay are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Plettenberg Bay hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Plettenberg Bay hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Plettenberg Bay have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Plettenberg Bay
An upscale full service hotel facility in Plettenberg Bay that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Plettenberg Bay hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Plettenberg Bay
Full service Plettenberg Bay hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Plettenberg Bay
Boutique hotels of Plettenberg Bay are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Plettenberg Bay boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Plettenberg Bay may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Plettenberg Bay
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Plettenberg Bay travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Plettenberg Bay focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Plettenberg Bay
Small to medium-sized Plettenberg Bay hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Plettenberg Bay traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Plettenberg Bay hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Plettenberg Bay
A bed and breakfast in Plettenberg Bay is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Plettenberg Bay bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Plettenberg Bay B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Plettenberg Bay hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Plettenberg Bay
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Plettenberg Bay hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Plettenberg Bay lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Plettenberg Bay often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Plettenberg Bay on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Plettenberg Bay
A Plettenberg Bay motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Plettenberg Bay for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Plettenberg Bay motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay viewed from Robberg Peninsula
Plettenberg Bay viewed from Robberg Peninsula
Plettenberg Bay is located in Western Cape
Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay is located in South Africa
Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay is located in Africa
Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay shown within Western Cape
Coordinates:  / -34.050; 23.367  / -34.050; 23.367
Country South Africa
Province Western Cape
District Eden
Municipality Bitou
Established 1779
• Total 39.7 km (15.3 sq mi)
Population (2011)
• Total 31,804
• Density 800/km (2,100/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
Black African 60.3%
Coloured 21.6%
Indian/Asian 0.4%
White 16.0%
Other 1.6%
First languages (2011)
Xhosa 53.7%
Afrikaans 27.4%
English 13.0%
Other 5.9%
Postal code (street) 6600
PO box 6600
Keurbooms River mouth at Plettenberg Bay viewed from the west

Plettenberg Bay, nicknamed Plet or Plett, is the primary town of the Bitou Local Municipality in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. As of the census of 2001, there were 29,149 population. It was originally named Bahia Formosa ("beautiful bay") by early Portuguese explorers and lies on South Africa's Garden Route 210 km from Port Elizabeth and about 600 km from Cape Town.

Plettenberg Bay: History

Plettenberg Bay: Middle and Later Stone Age

Nelson Bay Cave and Matjies River Cave at nearby Keurboomstrand were inhabited for over 100,000 years by Middle Stone Age man and then later by ancestors of the Khoisan, who were possibly the same people who traded with the Portuguese survivors of the Sao Goncalves shipwreck. Their tools, ornaments and food debris can be viewed in these caves, which are still being excavated.

Plettenberg Bay: Colonial period

Long before Jan van Riebeeck landed at the Cape, Portuguese explorers charted the bay in the 15th and 16th centuries, the first being Bartolomeu Dias in 1487. Ninety years later Manuel de Perestrelo aptly called it Bahia Formosa or the Beautiful Bay. The first European inhabitants were 100 Portuguese sailors marooned here for 9 months when the São Gonçalo sank in the bay in 1630. The survivors built two small boats which they used to link with a passing vessel. A stone that they left behind on Beacon Island, known as the Van Plettenberg Stone, is now in the Cape Town museum. In 1763, the first European settlers in the Bay were stock farmers, hunters and frontiersmen from the Western Cape.

A stinkwood navigational beacon was first erected on Beacon Island in 1771. The original was a square block of stinkwood, inscribed with the latitude and longitude of Plettenberg Bay and erected to enable mariners to check their location. It was replaced by a stone one by Captain Sewell in 1881.

The bay housed a barracks for the Dutch East India Company in 1776. The Governor of the Cape, Baron Joachim van Plettenberg, renamed the town Plettenberg Bay in 1779. In 1869 the barracks was bought by St Peters Church and used as a rectory for the next 70 years. Today it is privately owned.

In 1787/88 Johann Jerling erected a timber shed commissioned by the Dutch East India Company ; the remains can still be seen and are preserved as a provincial heritage site.

In the 1830s, Plettenberg Bay was a stopping point for ships travelling through during the winter time, heading to India.[6]

As of 1833, the population of Plettenberg Bay was estimated around 400, with half being white, according to diplomat Edmund Roberts who visited the area. Edmund Roberts noted that the bay had a large abundance of cattle and sheep. He also recognized "the excellence of its butter" and a timber industry.

Plettenberg Bay: Modern period

A whaling station on Beacon Island closed down in 1916. Parts of the iron slipway are still visible today. A hotel called The Beacon Isle was built on the site of the whaling station. This was replaced by the iconic Beacon Isle Southern Sun Resort which opened for business in December 1972. This building, designed by André Hoffe, has a layered atrium which pays tribute to the Guggenheim Museum of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Between 1960 and 1990 Plettenberg Bay holiday resort expanded dramatically, extending along Robberg Beach ('Millionaire's Row'), and back towards the N2. During the apartheid period property within Plettenberg Bay was designated for whites only, with segregation of the beaches and toilet facilities. New Horizons, across the N2, was designated as a settlement area for coloured people in 1968. As the 1980s progressed informal settlements of Xhosa migrants grew up around the edges of New Horizons and in the area of KwaNokuthula which became a town.

Although Plettenberg Bay escaped most of the violence associated with the end of apartheid, the assassination of Chris Hani in April 1993 led to a protest march into the town from KwaNokuthula, during which industrial premises on the outskirts of the town were burnt to the ground. Formal segregation ceased with the repeal of the apartheid laws, but the consequences of the previously segregated property ownership remain highly visible to this day.

Plettenberg Bay: Ecology

Plettenberg Bay: Land ecology

Local vegetation varies from Cape Fynbos to Knysna-Amatole montane forests further inland. The best examples of the original indigenous forest are to be found in the gully of the Keurbooms River, home to Knysna Loerie and Fish Eagles. Robberg Peninsula is essentially a Fynbos reserve.

Plettenberg Bay: Sea ecology

Plettenberg Bay hosts one of the largest seagull breeding colonies along the South African coast at the mouth of the Keurbooms River, named after the indigenous keurboom tree. There are many pelagic birds in the area as well as the endangered African oystercatcher which live along the shores.

The Robberg Peninsula is home to a large Cape fur seal colony, seals can often be seen in the surf off Robberg Beach. Great white sharks, attracted by the seal colony, can also be spotted from the high ground of Robberg Peninsula. Southern right whales are a common sight in the bay during their breeding season from July to December. Bryde's whales frequent the bay throughout the year being the most sighted during the summer months. Humpback whales migrate past during July and December. Killer whales (orca) and sei whales are occasionally sighted. Whales can be viewed from various viewpoints in the town as well as from Robberg Peninsula. Plettenberg Bay also boasts three species of dolphins which visit the bay throughout the year, these being the bottlenosed dolphin, the common dolphin and the endangered humpback dolphin.

The bay falls within the Agulhas Bank ecoregion (bioregion), specifically within the Agulhas inshore ecozone. There has been a long history of sport fishing from the rocks, ski boats launched from Central Beach, or in Keurbooms estuary. The sea life activity both surface and sub-surface varies considerably as either deep water upwelling brings cold water into the Bay, or warm water eddies over from the Agulhas Indian Ocean current offshore.

A distinctive flower-shaped sea shell called a pansy shell is endemic to this part of the coast, and is used as the symbol representing the town. Looking for these shells on the beach at low tide is a popular activity amongst visitors and locals alike.

Plettenberg Bay: Climate and geography

SA Weather Service Data
Hourly temperatures (Orange = Day, Blue = Night)

Plettenberg Bay is typified by an extremely mild maritime temperate climate with very few rainfall or temperature extremes. It is located within the Knysna Afromontane Forest biome, containing temperate gallery forest, supported by the mild temperatures and high, even distributed rainfall.

  • rainfall: 945 mm per annum.

The bay is defined on the southern end by Cape Seal at the terminus of the Robberg (Afrikaans for Seal Mountain) Peninsula, separating the bay from the open Indian Ocean. It is one of the southern cape coast's typical "J-shaped" bays, which is formed by wave action eroding the shales of the Bokkeveld Group between the weather-resistant headlands composed of the Table Mountain Group, both of the Cape Supergroup geological sequence of rocks. To the north, the Tsitsikamma and Langkloof Mountains keeps the moisture on the southern slopes of the mountains and prevent the temperature extremes of the interior reaching the bay.

Plettenberg Bay: Tourism

Robberg peninsula

The town is highly seasonal, with a large proportion of second homes used exclusively during peak holiday periods. The town is also very popular with domestic and foreign tourists alike, many making it a stop along the garden route to visit local attractions such as Robberg Peninsula Nature Reserve, the world's largest free-flight aviary Birds of Eden, Sea Kayaking and Whale Watching, as a base to start the coastal Otter Trail, or a host of other outdoor activities on offer. Although George and Port Elizabeth Airports are both within 1 and 2.5 hours drive away and offer frequent domestic and select international flights, CemAir also re-started regular direct flights from Plettenberg Bay airport to Cape Town International Airport and Johannesburg's OR Tambo Airport in 2014, enhancing accessibility by air.

Plettenberg Bay: References

  1. Sum of the Main Places Bossiesgerf, New Horizons, Kwanokuthula and Plettenberg Bay from Census 2011.
  2. Bekker, Leon (2007-03-09). "Integration make-over for Plet". Fin24. Retrieved 2008-02-26. Not everybody in Plet is satisfied with the project, however. [...] "They feel crowded by the development and believe some parts of the Eastern Cape are still like the Plet they knew," he said.
  3. Jacana Education (2006). Garden Route Guide. Jacana Maps. ISBN 1-77009-146-7. Retrieved 2008-10-04.
  4. "The Old Rectory » The Van Plettenberg Bay Historical Society". Pletthistory.org. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
  5. "The Timber Shed » The Van Plettenberg Bay Historical Society". Pletthistory.org. 1936-09-01. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
  6. Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. pp. 388–389.
  7. "Robberg Nature Reserve - CapeNature". Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  8. "Birds of Eden, largest free flight bird aviary in the world". www.birdsofeden.co.za. Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  9. "Ocean Blue Adventures - Whale Watching / Ocean Safaris / Dolphin Encounters in Plettenberg Bay Garden Route". Ocean Blue Adventures. Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  10. "Plett Tourism | Accommodation Restaurants Activities Events in Plett". Plett Tourism - Accommodation, events, festivals, restaurants and activities in Plettenberg Bay. Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  11. "CemAir - Flight Times - Plettenberg Bay". www.flycemair.co.za. Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  • Bitou Municipality
  • Plett Tourism
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