This coastal playground is pristine, with spectacular views and a vibrant foodie scene
By ROSANNE BUCHANAN
GO CRUISING… Hire a boat (about R300 for two hours) and take a trip along the Keurbooms River – it’s wall-to-wall yellowwood trees and spectacular birdlife, plus there are neat and clean lunch spots along the banks.
GO WALKING… Visit the Robberg Nature Reserve, a peninsula teeming with sunbirds, coastal flora and fynbos. Try the walks on offer – from 1,5km to 9km, they’re quite strenuous – or just enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the view sites.
GO SHOPPING… There are many homeware and décor stores in Plett; most notable was a visit to Old Nick Village, which is just outside town. You’ll find fabulous textiles and stoneware, knitted blankets and crockery, as well as handmade soaps, water features, art and designer furniture. There’s also a Portuguese bakery and restaurant on site.
THE BEACON ISLAND HOTEL TURNS 40… An iconic building in the Garden Route and originally built by legendary hotelier Sol Kerzner, the hotel is now a Tsogo Sun lifestyle timeshare resort and still as popular as ever for family-friendly holidays. Boasting 200 rooms, the hotel was recently refurbished and the food offerings include Indigo Bay for fine-dining grills and seafood, Coral Reef for fine organic and the vibey Island Diner for daytime café meals. Retro dinner dances are also popular. www.islanddiner.co.za
FOR THE DISCERNING TRAVELLER, Plett has numerous five-star options and restaurants. For small and intimate stays and the Relais & Châteaux promise of top-notch quality, Liz McGrath’s The Plettenberg is a refined option. The hotel offers the most scenic brunch spot in town. Check the hotel’s website for details about their gourmet wine evenings, including special one-night packages at R1 100pp inclusive of the four-course gourmet dinner and breakfast. www.plettenberg.com
FOR TUCKED AWAY AND NOVEL ACCOMMODATION, Tsala Treetop Lodge is a fabulous hideaway just outside town. Zinzi, the Afro-baroque hotel’s restaurant, serves affordable meals with a host of exotic flavours, like the Persian chicken with chickpeas and flatbreads, short rib, chorizo and borlotti bean stew, and Moroccan lamb shanks.
INDULGE A DEATH WISH… Take on some of the adrenaline activities the area is known for, like the world’s highest bungee jump off the Bloukrans Bridge (216m), Tsitsikamma canopy tours (www.treetoptour.com), a swim with the seals (www.offshoreadventures.co.za) or a fishing safari (www.enricosfishing.co.za).
FAMILY OUTINGS… Kids go crazy for action-packed activities like Puzzle Park (a 3D maze) and Garden of Eden, where wooden walkways take you through the forest. A trip to Monkeyland & Birds of Eden is perfect for budding bird enthusiasts as it is the world’s biggest aviary.
FOR A STYLISH FAMILY LUNCH, afternoon cake or special occasion, try Katarina’s Restaurant at Kurland, where former La Patisserie Joburg owner Glenda Lederle has turned her talent. It’s a mix of stylish French bistro serving comfort dishes like Caesar salad, lamb chops, baby chicken, fishcakes, chicken pie, croque-monsieur and avo Ritz. www.kurland.co.za/events
HARKERVILLE MARKET… has outstanding fresh produce, with a focus on natural and organic goods – from homemade jams to seasonal fruit and veg, with a few hearty, home-cooked meals thrown in. It’s less of a craft market than a farmers’ market, a definite must for foodies. It’s open Saturday mornings and situated 10km outside Plett, towards Knysna (where there is also a Friday night market). www.harkervillemarket.co.za
Old Yeoville-ites and Melville-ites will be delighted to hear former Mama’s and later Roma restaurateur Enrico Lacopini has RISTORANTE ENRICO on Keurboomstrand: for seafood and, of course, his legendary pizza and pasta. He also runs river and fishing charters. Call 044-535-9818 or visit www.enricorestaurant.co.za.