Birds of a Feather Fly at Plett Ocean Festival 

Pelagic Birding Trip with Discover Eden

Birds of a Feather Fly at Plett Ocean Festival

21 – 30 June 2024

Fish school, dolphins form pods, birds flock, seals bob, sharks shiver, and birders, ocean- and nature-lovers will congregate in Plettenberg Bay from 21st – 30th June for the third annual Plett Ocean Festival and Marine Science Symposium offering an enjoyable and vibrant celebration of Plettenberg Bay’s marine life and ecosystems.

An unforgettable experience for all ages

The festival kicks off with the three-day Plett Marine Science Symposium, a platform for discussions on marine conservation and research. But the entertainment doesn’t stop there; throughout the ten-day festival, attendees can embark on a variety of outdoor adventures and educational experiences:

  • Pelagic Birding Trip: Witness the majesty of albatrosses, gannets, and other seabirds in their natural habitat – maybe even a storm petrel! 
  • Marine Safaris: Spent a thrilling couple of hours on the water with dolphins, seals, whales and marine birds while exploring the bay. 
  • Marine Talks: Gain insights on topics ranging from the impacts and consequences of oil and gas exploration to viewing unscreened footage shot in the Robberg Marine Protected Area by the BBC Natural Science Unit. 
  • Family-Friendly Activities: Enjoy interactive experiences for all ages, fostering a love for the ocean and its inhabitants.
Common Dolphins in Plettenberg Bay © Dr Gwen Penry
Common Dolphins in Plettenberg Bay © Dr Gwen Penry

A Fascinating Festival for Birders

Plettenberg Bay boasts an incredible diversity of birdlife, with over half of South Africa’s endemic bird species calling this region home. Whether you’re a seasoned birder or a curious beginner, the festival offers exceptional opportunities to enhance your knowledge and enjoy guided birding excursions. Birding talks at the Marine Science Symposium include “Life on a Seabird Island” with Dr. Zanri Strydom, “Penguin Perspectives” with Prof. Pierre Pistorius, “Groot River Waterbird Ecosystem with Lauren Moriarty” and “A Walk with the African Black Oystercatcher” with Mark Dixon.

Join Discover Eden’s Mark Brown and CapeNature’s Chanel Visser for a unique Pelagic Birding Trip with Enrico’s Fishing Charters or stroll the sands along Lookout Beach with Kayla Webster of Nature’s Valley Trust to learn more about the region’s beloved white-fronted plovers. When exploring the rocky shores of Nature’s Valley, who knows what you’re going to spot along that stretch of unspoiled coastline? It’s a paradise for birding enthusiasts. 

White fronted plover - Plettenberg Bay
White fronted plover – Plettenberg Bay

Beyond the Birds: A Celebration of Marine Life and Conservation Efforts

The Plett Ocean Festival isn’t just for bird enthusiasts. As it is Plett’s official Whale Season, visitors can witness the majestic activities of whales and dolphins, explore the fascinating Keurbooms Estuary, visit the Robberg Seal Colony or learn about the vital role Plett plays in the conservation of endangered species. Talks at the symposium expand on these with discussions on sharks, great and small, the call of the humpback dolphin and aerial studies of the migration of humpback and southern right whales.

Activities range from film screenings to a shark egg case hunt, a fishing competition and a fun run, art glasses and an art exhibition, and more… There’s something oceanic to suit every taste and beautiful, quiet Blue Flag beaches to enjoy along the way. You’re invited to “Come curious as questions will be asked and answered: 

  • “Why is it called a shyshark?”
  • “What does it look like under the Antarctic ice?” 
  • “How do we create an inclusive Blue Economy?” 
  • “What does a humpback dolphin sound like?” 
  • “Are there more great white sharks in our bay?” 
  • “What does rewilding a reef mean and why is it necessary?” 
  • “Why do turtle hatchlings wash up on our coastline and should they be here?” 
  • “What’s it like to live on a Seabird Island in the middle of nowhere?”
  • “What’s it like hanging out of a helicopter counting whales?” 
  • “Why does the Keurbooms Estuary Mouth keep shifting?”

Join the celebration

Pletttenberg Bay’s mild winter weather and abundant marine life create the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable festival experience. The full program of presentations, activities and excursions on the Plett Ocean Festival website.