Hiking against the clock

Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

Breakfast was good this morning; the view of the sun rising over the Kynsna Lagoon, even better. Directly across from the lodge is the Featherbed, a spectacular private nature reserve, and my first stop of the day. After making my way down to the wharf and buying a ticket, we boarded a small boat for the 4-hour Featherbed Experience.

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We cruised the lagoon for about 20 minutes before unloading at the dock. A 4×4 took us up the hill from which their were some great vantage points.

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The hike down was a couple of kilometers, the trail brought us past caves and some snakes and lizards. Waiting for us was a huge buffet lunch — salads, grilled meats, veggies, dessert. It was intense and delicious.

The boat was back on shore a little before 2 p.m. On the way, I’d read about what sounded like a few amazing trails at Robberg Nature & Marine Reserve in Pletternberg Bay — or simply Plett — a beach-side town about 25 minutes away. The reserve is on a rocky peninsula with a rugged coastline of cliffs and rocks. Next thing I knew, that was where I was headed.

The 11-km hike to the Point is the most well-known; the guard at the gate told me it typically took 4 hours. He didn’t recommend setting out at this point since some of the trail ran along the coast and as the tides rose, it could erase the path. Which meant only one thing: trail jog.

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This was perhaps the first time on this trip that I was glad to be alone. I’m not sure who would have been cool, let alone enjoyed, my brisk “walk” — past inter-tidal marine pools and coastal dune fynbos. The Point was surreal: not a single other person, bright orange rocks and waves exploding into the shore line.

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Hustling back and scrambling over rocks, the parking lot came into view. Sitting in the car, shirt drenched in sweat, the clock read 4:35 p.m., exactly two-hours from when I’d set out.

Not far was the Bay Lodge, where I’m spending the night. It’s a “luxury designer hotel” with lots of modern common space, sweeping views of the ocean, and perhaps most importantly, the first fast Internet connection since Cape Town.

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Dinner was simple: two gin & tonics and a packet of cashews from the mini-bar. I’ve got to rest up. An early day awaits me tomorrow.

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Comments

  1. Marc– As always, blog is amazing and I am living vicariously through your travels. Actually 1/2 my team is as I passed it on to a few colleagues who enjoy venturing to far off exotic lands in search of good food, good wine, and good culture!

  2. Great pictures…the trip so far has been very exciting….the food looks wonderful.. with all the walking… it looks like you are burning off all of the calories….Dad

  3. Great blog, I too have traveled the Garden Route and enjoy the great hikes they have to offer, a friend and I hiked the Robberg Peninsula and really enjoyed it, there is so many hikes to do in Plettenberg Bay (Plett), we also hiked the Harkeville forest and this was too very amazing. I must say the place you stayed in looks great, we went for the more budged accommodation, which I must tell you was so amazing, we stayed at a place called Starling Village Backpackers, just +/- 2km from Robberg Peninsula, the people there are so hospitable and what a beautiful backpackers, I would really recommend them to anyone. Thank you Starling and thank you for recommending all the hiking trails in your area.

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