Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape

The Plett Surf and Turf hiking trail is the brainchild of Bayside Lodge in Plettenberg Bay.  Bayside Lodge Garden Route B&B is a 5 bedroom four star graded Bed & Breakfast perfectly positioned in a quiet residential area of Plettenberg Bay just 300m/3 minute’s walk to Robberg 5 blue flag beach.  

Since taking over Bayside in March 2014, live-in owner/managers Bernie and Adrienne have created a friendly atmosphere which is both warm and elegant. Personal attention and exceeding expectations are the hallmarks of this popular lodge ranked in the top 3 Bed & Breakfasts on Trip Advisor.

Trail Description:

  • Classification: A guided or self-guided, self-catering or catered clover leaf network
  • Environmental character: Pristine
  • Accommodation: Four star graded Bed & Breakfast
  • Facilities and safety: Satisfactorily maintained.
  • Difficulty Rating: Moderate to fairly difficult with easy short walk options

Basic Trail Description:

The trail offers a fantastic choice of day hikes of various options all located around Plettenberg Bay and surrounds starting with a few minutes walk to Robberg Beach up to a maximum of a 30 minute drive to circular or one way routes.  It has been developed to give the hiker a wilderness experience and consists of a network of trails that varies both in length and difficulty with options for the more experienced hiker as well as for the leisure hiker.

There is the option of transfers with licensed operators to start and pick up points and cell phone coverage is extensive.  Guests choose from a “menu” of day hikes with qualified guides available which the Guest House hosts can book.  The days are interchangeable so that guests can choose forest hikes or coastal trails depending on the prevailing weather conditions.

The trail is situated in the beautiful surroundings of the most beautiful section of the Garden Route which is a 1.5 hour drive from George airport or 2.5 hours from Port Elizabeth. The closest airport is a 5 minute drive from Bayside Lodge with scheduled flights on offer with Cemair and transfers easily arranged.

The accommodation is at Bayside Lodge which offers four luxurious four star graded suites for up to twelve guests.  The Cottage offers self catering facilities and guests in the main house have the use of barbecue facilities and a microwave if they choose to self cater.  The catered option can be structured to hikers requirements offering a full English or Continental breakfast, a packed lunch and a two course dinner either at Bayside or at a local restaurant.

Facilities include a guest lounge, bar and patio off the breakfast room and complimentary WIFI is provided. Parking is off street with an electric gate and CCTV coverage. There is a swimming pool in a private part of the large garden and there is beach equipment, a library and extensive brochure racks for guest to make use of.

The main attraction of this “base camp slackpacking” option is the flexibility of the options coupled with the on site expertise of the live-in owners.  Adrienne and Bernie have both been in the high end hospitality sector for over thirty years in Zambia, Botswana and South Africa and bring a wealth of knowledge as well as local information when it comes to activities in the area and what is to be expected of each hike of offer.

Sample itinerary

Day 1: 2km – 18km inside reserve GUIDED OR SELF GUIDED
Iconic ROBBERG NATURE RESERVE is a must for all hikers offering many different combinations of 3 circular routes plus starting with a walk along Robberg beach which is only a 3 minute walk from the Lodge. (add 4km and 1 hour along the beach from Bayside). There is a R50 park entry fee to Cape Nature on arrival which is waived if you have a Wild Card. Facilities include a lovely picnic site, toilets, running water, info centre and kiosk.  It is a great place to meet up after the hike and if part of the group chooses a shorter hike they can swim and spend some time on the beaches or visit Nelson’s Cave.

Day 2: 8km – 10km GUIDED OR SELF GUIDED
Newly established by the Robberg Coastal Corridor team, the AMPHITHEATRE hike is a fantastic experience starting at the Robberg Nature Reserve entrance.  The hike can either finish at Vygekraal (guided only) or return to Robberg entrance after the Amphitheatre and an optional swim in a rock pool (guided only). There is no water provided along the way and there is a Rxxx charge to be paid to Robberg Coastal Corridor.

Day 3: 6km – 15km GUIDED (can only be offered as a guided hike with Mark Brown)
Hikers visit a private nature reserve called BRACKENBURN and are offered a one-way guided forest and beach hike of 7.5km finishing at the famous Enricos restaurant on Keurbooms beach or an immersive circular route of 6km within the forest with numerous streams to enjoy.

Both these walks on offer take place on a private, 150hectare reserve, where you are isolated from the world entirely for the time spent there. This reserve has some of the most beautiful forest and scenery on offer in the Garden Route and the walks here are a real immersive experience. Having cut the trails himself, Mark Jones has exclusive use for these walks are very wild and natural, with guests requiring a good sense of balance, but don’t have to be more than moderately fit. Both trails follow the Buffels River with multiple crossings. The one-way route goes from the Buffels onto the Matjes River and comes out at the mouth. This walk combines forest, river, Fynbos and beach. It is possible to combine the two, creating an approximately 11 km long trail that will be a one-of-a-kind trail for the Garden Route.

Day 4: 5km – 20km GUIDED OR SELF GUIDED
You visit NATURES VALLEY for the day and enjoy a huge choice of hikes which can be guided or self guided.  The Salt River hike to secret beach can be combined with the Kalanderkloof hike and there is also the lagoon hike to experience the last part of the famous Otter Trail.  There are toilets, picnic and parking facilities at the Sanparks de Vasserlot campsite and lovely swimming in the lagoon or the sea.  If there is time hikers can enjoy restaurants, wine farms and interesting shops in The Crags en route as well as Monkeyland, Birds of Eden, Jukani, Tenikwa, Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary and Hog Hollow Horse Trails.  If you don’t have a wild card, there is an entrance fee of R60 if you check in at de Vasselot for the Groot rivier hike.

All Surf ‘n Turf Trail Options

  • Robberg A, B, C
  • Robberg Corridor and amphitheater
  • Perdekop
  • Cairnbrogie – circular, gorge to beach
  • Kranshoek
  • Brackenburn – circular, forest to beach or both
  • Natures Valley – Kalanderkloof, Salt river and Groot rivier
  • Stinkhoutkloof
  • Storms river mouth – mouth, lookout and waterfall
  • Diepvalle – red, white, black elephant
  • Terblans
  • Rheenendal – Circles in the Forest, Jubilee Creek, Drupkelders
  • Buffels to Brenton
  • Goukamma
  • Weekender Plett Pansy shell hike at low tide

Trail Facilities and Safety:

Reception office:  Yes – Bayside Lodge
Road signs to start of trail clear?:  Yes
Access road to start:  Tar and sometimes good Gravel
Trail format:  Clover leaf
Map:  Yes – good quality
Facilities for handicapped:  No
Guide:  Yes and no
Environmental Information:  Yes and no
Water:  Yes and no
Portaging:  Not applicable hikers are offered transfers at extra charge
Catering:  Optional
Sanitation facilities en-route:  Yes and No
Parking:  Safe
Accommodation:  Safe
Trail markers:  Correct
Trail water portability:  Safe
Hikers’ general safety (mugging):  Safe
Other (bridges, ladders, stiles, etc.):  Safe
Crossings (road/rivers):  Safe
Indemnity Form:  Yes
Emergency Escape routes:  Yes
Emergency Telephone/cell:  Cell phone coverage
Emergency Medical Aid/evacuation:  NSRI

Transfers to/from day hikes:

We offer the services of Jansens Travel and Tours which is a licensed operator with a wide range of vehicles of different passenger capacities.

Accommodation:

Traditional Trail accommodation is classified based on facilities as either rusticstandard or excellent. With the emerging of slack packing, a category, ‘luxury ‘has been added. Some trails might have both types of accommodation: traditional as well as luxury.

Key:

  • Rustic:      Shelter with minimum facilities
  • Standard: Hut with basic self-catering facilities
  • Excellent: House (multi-rooms) with cooking facilities in kitchen
  • Luxury:     B&B / Hotel / Guesthouse or other catered accommodation, also available to general public

Bayside Lodge:

Rated as luxury.

  • Sleeping units: Four suites with five bedrooms and four bathrooms, two suites have private sitting rooms with sofa beds.
  • Toilet: All bathrooms have showers, one bathroom has shower and bath and another has shower and jacuzzi.
  • Beds: 10 beds (twin or king and one queen) plus two sofa beds.
  • Mattresses: Hospitality grade mattresses with padded mattress toppers and percale linen.
  • Ablution: Solar and electric geysers and there is a reverse osmosis system for drinking water.
  • Braai / barbecue area: Under cover barbecue with seating for 12 hikers.
  • Firewood provided: Yes.
  • Kitchenware: Cutlery / crockery / pots & pans provided.
  • Kitchen: staff wash dishes but no cooking in main kitchen.
  • Lighting: Electricity / generator / battery back up light bulbs.
  • Heating / Facilities for drying clothes: Outside line and laundry service, racks in rooms, silent fans in rooms, electric blankets, under carpet heating. Indoor fireplace in guest lounge and gas fireplace in dining room.
  • Cooking: barbecue facilities with skottle, weber, gas stove, braai and skillet, microwave in dining room.

Rates:

  • R650.00 – R1000.00 pp.pn (double or triple) accommodation from bed only to fully catered.
  • R100.00 – R250.00 pp.pd (minimum 4) for qualified and licensed guide.
  • Transfers from R100.00 per person one way depending on distance.

Admin Fee:

  • R55.00 once off per reservation.

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