A quick-fix guide to nocturnal activities in Plett
Yes it’s a nice place to be by day and all that – what with the sea and sand and sun and the sense of excitement churned up by the seasonal injection of imported energy. But life doth not end after daylight on this shore. In fact, it’s when the real fun begins. Herewith a brief yet recommended breakdown of what’s on offer once the sun starts to set over Plett.
* Please note that this is not a restaurant guide or a lowdown on clubbing but pertains more to night owls out for a good time who don’t necessarily want to crawl home.
Few sunset cocktails compare favorably with those sliding slowly past the phalanx under the parasols on the verandah of Emily Moon. Ponder the eclectic mix of artefacts and furniture the owners have scooped up on countless forays into the rural African and Occidental unknown. Watch the falcons swirling through the thermals and hawks launching from the craggy cliffs overlooking the river silently snaking through wetlands below.
Robberg Nature Reserve
Pack up a picnic basket filled with healthy nutriments such as orange juice and vodka or cucumber and gin and head off to the big bald rocky outcrop known as Robberg. Unfold the soft blanket on the nearest vantage point that allows access to the gasp-worthy vista over the famous bight stretching all the way to Oyster Bay, and listen to naught but the sounds of nature and the crack of a cheese-filled biscuit sandwich on your teeth.
The Beacon Island Hotel
One of the most underrated sundowner venues in Plett is none other than the Beacon Isle Hotel basking atop the promontory between Robberg and Central beaches. Swagger past the portals into the swanky retro interior and you’re instantaneously transported to Miami Beach circa Summer of ’69. And whether you laze poolside or enjoy a tipple in the Sea Lounge – you might even be afforded the satisfaction of being one of the world’s chosen few to be cheering on some frolicking dolphins or tail-whipping whales with a cherry-colored cocktail.
The Golden Palm
Some Dim Sum as the sun dims might seem slightly unorthodox but it’s a match made in Shangri La. Your fount of culinary pleasure for this excursion is The Golden Palm. Set in a quiet cobblestone-covered courtyard off the Main Road in the shade of a spreading tree, it is much more than your garden variety Chinese.
Sky Villa Hotel
This spanking new boutique hotel on the Baron’s View cliff edge offers a wide sweep of the best vistas in the vicinity over the Keurbooms River, Tsitsikamma Mountains and infinite blue yonder. Enjoy it on the pool deck with a long bright umbrellaed drink and a luxurious dinner as you float by beneath the marshmallow cloud banks above.
SUNDOWNER PREP POINTS
If you’re out in nature as you actually should be during sundowner time in Plett and you find yourself too lazy to pack a picnic basket, as you should be on holiday, it is imperative to know where you can pick up the ideal nourishment befitting such a momentous occasion. Herewith a few pointers:
Having a sunset picnic without cheese is like playing rugby without a ball – much like our national team has been doing so often of late. It might thus be worth the trouble to toddle off to The Heath on the N2 towards Knysna for a visit to The Cheeseman – a local culinary icon who learned the ancient trade of cheese making from his Dutch in-laws. There betwixt the low-fat delights of Griekwaland Bokkaas, the savoury continental contradictions of Dolce Latte (a sweet blue cheese) or more ordinary Dutch fare such as Boerenkaas (good for pasta and pizzas too), you’ll find what you’re looking for to go with the wine, olive loaf and figs. (Such 100% natural home-made cheeses can be kept for five years or more with the aromas and flavours reaching fruition at regular room temperature.)
Pan di Sofia
And then again, cheese without a steaming bulk of freshly baked bread is like Beyoncé without a bottom or Eddie Vedder without a voice. The bountiful home-crafted bakes at Pan di Sofia, and an array of titillating sweet treats, will assist in elevating your hamper to five-star status. Available at the Wednesday Market at Old Nick and at the Saturday Market in Harkerville.
Melissa’s Food Shop
Exciting news for Plett, a new Melissa’s Food Shop has opened its doors at the Market Square – offering their customary baked goodies, saucy condiments and an in-store restaurant experience.
Clare’s Cakes and Deli
Then finally, for some extra condiments and a salivating display of sweet and savoury options that will transport you instantaneously back to your childhood, you could wish to make a quick stop at Clare’s Cakes & Deli on Main Street.
Once the sun has set and you’re still a little peckish, or if you missed sundowners altogether – you might want to move on to:
A popular casual eatery and meeting place for locals during the day, The Table on the corner of Main and Odland streets transforms into more of an old fashioned joll as the evening wears on – often introducing a DJ with a contemporary rock and pop menu to go with the elaborate list of cocktails. Some good sturdy dishes alongside wood-fired pizzas are available too if you really need it.
The Bungalow Plett
A relatively new kid on the block, The Bungalow Plett is slightly removed from most beaten tracks in Plett and reachable by road or sand at Hobie Beach – the stretch of foliage-fringed coves leading from Central Beach to Lookout. But simply because it’s somewhat separated from the maddening crowd does not mean it can’t generate one of its own on the pool deck or bar amidst the funkified Island style décor. Whip out your chopsticks for a great plate of sushi after a dip in the pool and drink in one of the most spectacularly framed sea-views in the Eden district with one of the tranquillising cocktails while the music takes you from the 1980’s to blissful oblivion.
Jazz, as jazz lovers well know, gets better in direct proportion to the volume of beer or whiskey one can absorb but once you step into Skhuluz, the combination of goodwill, charm and instrumental fusion will have you beaming even before your first Black Label is depleted. Kwanokuthula (otherwise affectionately known as Kwano in this neck of the woods) is the most vibrant urban aspect of Plett according to many so expect wholesome musical diet of foot-tapping township and other jazz tunes from the past seven decades with the great companionability and good cheer.
Market on Main
If you really cannot decide whether to snack on Italian, French, Chinese or Greek, it’s probably best to make your way to a central point which harbours them all. In Plett this would entail bringing your own drinks and settling in at The Market on Main. Avoid it if you are not predisposed to great live music under the stars with choice food and friendly company in a congenial atmosphere.
Pop-up drinkery of the season, Our Bar – set in a side alley peeling off the Main Street – promises to be all a funky temporary hole-in-the-wall should be with an abundance of drinks to choose from, some finger-clicking pop and countless pretty people milling about in an unbridled celebration of summer. Relaxed and informal but cool with a good possibility of heating up to street-jiving level as the night drags on. It’s what the Beach Boys and girls always wished for.
The Surf Café
A long standing bastion for live music in Plett, the Surf Café has managed to maintain that perfect balance between liveliness and mellow with its ‘social food’ menu enviable buzz. Simultaneously laid back and edgy, you don’t have to be a surfer to enjoy the Surf Café, but the attitude of one might help.
The Skiboat Club on the edge of Central beach demands that you leave any pretensions at home to enjoy the company of locals and the best setting of any shore. This, plus well-cooled beers in a snug little bar, is filled with residents watching sport on salt-stained seating. Here you will also find the most affordable plates of fresh seafood in the district served on the deck hanging over the sand. All of which make this one of the most enjoyable eat-suntan-drink-and-swim experiences the area has to offer.
FOR THE NEVERENDERS
If you still have the energy for an all-nighter – rest assured, Plett has a home away from home for you:
Because of its glaringly obvious position on Main Street, it has always been a landmark watering hole in Plett. A place where everyone knowns your name – until about 11:30pm when they start forgetting it again. With a veranda, view of the entire Main Street and the bay – it’s the shizzle!
A haven for the young at heart with an eclectic quasi-tropical interior, pool table and veranda with one of the most brilliant bayviews.
If you happen to be one of those happy-go-lucky souls who don’t mind music that doesn’t feature instruments and show leanings towards bright flashing lights, excitable young people and general mayhem, this could be just the place for you. Grab those dancing togs!