Where to picnic in Plett 

Published: January 20th, 2022
by Janet Middleton

There’s nothing like a morning or an afternoon outdoors to work up quite an appetite and, in summer, we’re fortunate to be able to either stroll right into a restaurant off the beach, or pack a pleasantly packaged picnic or fabulously messy feast right there on the beach or on the edge of the forest.

Here are some favourite options for a picnic in Plettenberg Bay. Longer days and sun-soaked evenings make filling a basket with goodies and heading out just about the perfect way to say farewell to the day. A few essentials: water, sunscreen (maybe an umbrella), napkins and, of course, something to put your trash in – please.

Keurbooms

Cape Nature’s World Heritage Site can be explored in a number of ways: take a stroll along the bank (there are picnic spots just off the N2), book a river cruise, kayak tour or stand-up paddling experience. The nature reserve, at a relatively small 740ha is near pristine and a sanctuary for indigenous trees including the Cape beech, giant stinkwood and the magnificent Outeniqua yellowwood.

Birders will find great pleasure in sighting the Knysna turaco and woodpecker, sunbird species, kingfishers and more and, if you’re headed up to Whiskey Creek – a lone leopard has been spotted on the banks on more than one occasion – the rarest of the African Big Five right there on the riverbank of Keurbooms River Nature Reserve.  Find out more…

Picnic in Plett on the Keurbooms River
Picnic in Plett on the Keurbooms River

Robberg Nature Reserve

No picnic list would be complete without including Robberg Nature Reserve, also a World Heritage Site and a national No picnic list of Plett would be complete without including our jewel: Robberg Nature Reserve. Robberg is a World Heritage Site, national monument and – thanks to the historical Nelson Bay Cave – a part of the Cradle of Human Culture Route.

The parking lot – which offers braai facilities and an epic sunset view along the coastline – is the picnic spot for Plett residents at the end of a long week. If you’re feeling more active, head on down to the Gap and onto the tombolo beach for a seaside picnic – you won’t be disappointed. Please note that there are no water points on the reserve and that it closes at sunset so, if you go exploring, you’ll need to allow for time to hike back to the parking lot. Find out more…

Picnic Robberg yacht sailing coast mast
Picnic in Plett at Robberg Nature Reserve

Lookout Beach

Oh, the memories! Lookout Beach is a Plett institution: memories of ice cream melting in a cone, sand-coated sunscreen and endless waves breaking along the shore. Lookout Beach has been the holiday home of many a South African and is as lovely today as it was 50 years ago.

The nearby lagoon makes it an ideal beach for the family with littler children and there’s plenty of space to spread out and build a sandcastle. Either pack a picnic to enjoy under the umbrella or pop in at the Lookout Deck or Grand Africa Beach Lookout Beach for a fabulously tasty treat. Find out more…

Picnic in Plett at Lookout Beach
Picnic in Plett at Lookout Beach

Nature’s Valley

Lovely Nature’s Valley stretches luxuriantly along the Tsitsikamma coastline with the Otter Trail to the east and Salt River to the west, it’s a place of quiet beauty and serenity. Set up your picnic along the beach or lagoon and, if you’re well-packed for a hike, head along the coast to the magical paradise that is Salt River Mouth.

It’s best to research your route to Salt River before you but if you can get through the hike, it’s one of the loveliest spaces on the Garden Route – untouched, uninhabited, wild, and beautiful. Find out more…

Picnic at Nature's Valley
Picnic at Nature’s Valley

Kranshoek

This largely undiscovered picnic spot has some of the best views you’ll find along this coastline: fynbos covered cliffs give way to a startlingly dramatic ocean (very different from the gentle, sweeping beaches of the bay). If you’re hiking, the coastal trail is quite strenuous and it’s best to check ahead of time if the trail is open (This is a South African National Parks site within the Garden Route National Park), however, the 1km forest trail is perfect for the whole family.

Picnic tables and braais await to feed faces after the walks.  If you’re feeling extra adventurous, SANparks recently launched a new zipline adventure nearby, so you can fly across a gorge with even more gorgeous sea views and the ocean breeze in your hair! Find out more about Kranshoek and Harkerville…

Kranshoek from the view point, on the Harkerville trail.
Kranshoek from the viewpoint, on the Harkerville trail.

Tsitsikamma

Tsitsikamma National Park is Africa’s oldest Marine Protected Area and, if you have the time, it’s only 67km from Plettenberg Bay, and well worth the trip! The Storms River Mouth section of the national park is the most magical of settings for a day trip. Lilies cling to a cliff’s edge misted by ocean spray, the suspension bridges sway above the entrance to the Storms River Gorge and the picnic areas are well-established and maintained. With a snorkeling trail, scuba diving, kayak and lilo adventure and hiking, plan for a full day out and stock that picnic basket!

Storms River - Photo: J Middleton
Storms River Mouth


Longer days, and sun soaked early evenings puts everyone in the mood to be outside. For an outing that is fun and unexpected, why not take the family (or just your significant other) on a sunset picnic?

Exploring the legendary natural beauties of Plett and surrounds is hungry and thirsty work. With plenty of options, squirrelling away the freshest and most delectable treats in your backpack or basket is a cinch. A picnic is the perfect interlude to a leisurely hike and if you are stuck for a venue, be sure to work your way to one of Plett’s popular picnic sites.

Robberg Nature Reserve is a true institution. In fact, you haven’t experienced Plett to the full until you’ve set your feet on this awe-inspiring peninsula. The views of the ocean and the bay are unparalleled. Palaeontology has never been this breathtakingly beautiful and with the abundance of fauna and flora, the memory of this nature reserve will stay with you long after you dust off your hiking boots. Here you will find braai facilities and picnic tables as well as areas to sit and relax to enjoy your bounty while on the trail.

If you’re more of a river rat, then the Keurbooms River comes highly recommended. Choose to take a lazy boat trip or walk along the shores and find a quiet spot to eat, drink, relax and take a dip. If you’re feeling particularly energetic you can even SUP. Better fill up that basket with lots of tasty goodies and a tipple for some Dutch courage. The Keurbooms Lagoon can be enjoyed if you are camping at the Keurbooms Lagoon Caravan Park, or you can walk from either Lookout Beach or the Poortjies Beach.

The Dunes Beach stretches out as far as the eye can see. Golden, smooth sand for kilometres, makes this the perfect beach to explore and picnic at. Away from the maddening crowds, you’d be forgiven for thinking you are enjoying the spoils of your own private island. A long walk will take you to the mouth of the lagoon at Lookout Beach to the right and Keurbooms Strand to the left where you can hang ten and catch some rays.

Provided you have a day license or a Wild Card for SanParks or CapeNature, you can stock up with loads of tasty local produce and in some areas you can even drink wine. It’s a good idea to check with the different authority bodies (SanParks, CapeNature, the Bitou Municipality) before you decide on packing glass containers or adult beverages. When you are all set, relax and enjoy the many options along the coastline. Don’t forget your sunscreen, and don’t forget to recycle.