Robberg Nature Reserve

A national monument steeped in history, with prehistoric rocks and Stone Age artefacts

Robberg, situated 8km south of Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route, is not only a nature reserve, but also a national monument and World Heritage Site. Rocks from this region date back 120 million years to the break-up of Gondwanaland and evidence of middle and later Stone Age inhabitation has been found in a few of the caves along the peninsula. Visitors can find out more at the Nelson Bay Cave interpretive centre.

Some highlight features of a visit here include spotting the rare blue duiker, the Western Cape’s smallest antelope; walking alongside one of the seven climbing-falling dunes on the Cape coastline; and viewing the highest navigational light on the South African coastline, at the Cape Seal Lighthouse (146m above sea level). The reserve also extends 1.8km offshore, providing protection to a range of vulnerable fish species. Visitors can expect inspiring landscapes, exciting dolphin and whale sightings in season, and to be accompanied on their walks or hikes by a variety of bird species and the occasional seal. An overnight hut is available for those who want to spend more time on this beautiful reserve.

Top Rated Activity
Robberg Nature Reserve has been named one of the Top 20 Plettenberg Bay Activities for 2017.

Watch this video for a taste of Robberg Nature Reserve

To find out more, download the Robberg Nature Reserve Brochure.

Robberg Nature Reserve has been awarded ECO Certification by Ecotourism Australia.

Ecotourism-Certified-logo

How to get there

From Cape Town: Take the N2 highway towards Plettenberg Bay. On approaching, take the Piesang Valley turn-off. Follow for 3km until you get to Robberg Road. Continue for 4kms towards the Plettenberg Airport. Turn left at the “Robberg” sign and continue until you reach the entrance gate.

GPS Co-ordinates: 34 06 15.30 S 23 23 31.56 E

General information

Office hours: 08:00–17:00

Tel: +27 (0)44 533 2125/85
Accommodation and permit bookings Tel: +27 (0)21 483 0190

Accommodation

Self-catering

  • Fountain Shack

    Set overlooking the ocean, Robberg Island and the beach, the renovated wooden shack sleeps eight people in four double bunk beds in an open-plan room. Only one group can book at a time.

    Fountain Shack cannot be reached by vehicle and the route takes about two hours to walk (the route is not suitable for young children and should not be attempted in rain, mist or darkness).

    Basic cooking facilities are provided as well as a braai grid outside. All rubbish must be carried out on departure.

    Electricity: Solar lights
    Bathroom: Outside shower with solar geyser
    Kitchen: Gas bottle with cooker top, crockery and cutlery
    Bedding, linen and towels: Pillows with pillow slips only
    Braai: Outside with utensils
    Disabled access: No
    Pets welcome: No

Activities

  • Whale Watching

    Southern right whales can be observed from the reserve during the breeding and calving months from June to November. Those that want to get closer to these majestic animals can sign up for private charters.

  • Swimming

    It is possible to swim in the ocean; however, there are strong currents and visitors must take care. Children should not be allowed to swim unsupervised.

  • Picnicking

    There are three viewing decks on the reserve with picnic facilities. Water points are available at all three sites. Visitors should not feed animals or birds.

  • Hiking and Walking

    The three circular routes on offer vary in terms of distance and difficulty. Regardless of the route, visitors must always wear hiking shoes, sunblock and hats. Water and warm clothing is essential, as the weather can change suddenly.

    Hiking trails

    The three trails on offer range in time from a 30-minute stroll to a four-hour hike. All offer fantastic views, brisk sea air and sightings of the birds of the peninsula.

    Help us protect nature

    No littering/no pets/no fires except at designated spots/no fishing without a permit.

    Permits

    Permits may be purchased for R40 per adult and R20 per child at the reserve office or through CapeNature Central Reservations.

    Trail preparation

    • Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat.
    • Do not hike alone.
    • Carry enough food and water with you.
    • Make sure you know what the weather conditions are before you depart.
    • Take a warm jacket/raincoat in winter.
    • Make sure you have a relevant map of the area.
    • Take a field medical kit with you for emergencies.
    • Obey all signage.
    • Stay in a group and on the trails.

    Gap Circuit

    Trail distance: 2.1km
    Estimated time: 30 minutes

    The shortest and easiest route that heads straight into a mudstone cleft, which has evidence of the prehistoric break-up of Gondwanaland 120 million years ago. Do not stand near cliffs, particularly if the wind is very strong.

    Witsand Circuit

    Trail distance: 5.5km
    Estimated time: 2 hours

    The trail leads along the northern ridge of the peninsula and onto the wind-shadow of the climbing-falling dune, before heading down to the tombolo and boardwalk. Hikers will pass above the resident seal colony along the way and encounter a colony of kelp gulls at the end of the trail. Do not stand near cliffs, particularly if the wind is very strong.

    Point Circuit

    Trail distance: 9.2km
    Estimated time: 4 hours

    This is a fairly strenuous walk and not recommended for young children. The trail heads up the north ridge to the Point and then back along the southern rocky shoreline. A highlight is encountering the hundreds of gannets, cormorants and terns at the Point. Do not stand near cliffs, particularly if the wind is very strong.

  • Bird Watching

    Robberg has a seagull nursery of kelp gulls. The success of this initiative has been greatly improved by the moving of boardwalks away from their nesting areas. Visitors should take care not to disturb these birds when on walks and hikes around the peninsula.

  • Angling

    This is a protected marine reserve – only rock and surf angling are allowed. Fishing from boats, spear fishing and bait collecting is forbidden. Permits must be obtained prior to arrival from Marine and Coastal Management permit providers, for example, post offices.

Location

Conservation

Robberg Nature Reserve Conservation

The Robberg Peninsula is conserved for several reasons. The mainland connects to an island through a spit called a tombolo. This results from waves sweeping around both sides of the island. Similar to other rocky headlands on this coastline, Robberg Peninsula supports a diverse array of plants and animals that have adapted to this land/sea ecology.

But what sets it apart is the distinctive climbing-falling dune (one of only seven on this coastline). The bedrock of the peninsula was dated to the prehistoric breaking up of Gondwanaland and evidence of this can be seen at several sites. Besides the unique and fascinating typography, evidence of middle and later Stone Age inhabitation was found in a few of the caves. It is for this reason that the reserve was proclaimed a national monument. The rare blue duiker (the smallest antelope in the Western Cape) and the vulnerable sex-changing roman fish are just two of the species that find sanctuary in this marine reserve.

29 Reviews

The Garden Route & More: Queenstown to Sedgefield | Nonbillable Hours, May 19, 2014 - Robberg Nature Reserve

[…] our way out of Plett, we stopped at the Robberg Nature Reserve. There were three different trails: a one-hour trail, a two-hour trail, and a four-hour trail that […]

Reply

6 Unique Beaches for the Curious Traveler - World 4 a Wayfarer, Apr 26, 2014 - Robberg Nature Reserve

[…] It requires 40 rand entrance (about $4USD April, 2014) and a little bit of exercise for the legs. Robberg Nature Reserve is a peninsula just west of Plettenburg Bay town that was inhabited thousands of years ago by the […]

Reply

Etienne Terblanche, Apr 23, 2014 - Robberg Nature Reserve

My favourite coastal hike in South Africa, and one that has everything to offer in what I'm looking for, spectacular scenery, near pristine coastline, seals, birdlife, beaches and solitude! Simply the best!

Reply

Stinkande sälar och ljuvliga stränder (Robberg, Sydafrika, 3/1, 2104) | www.tripant.com, Jan 4, 2014 - Robberg Nature Reserve

[…] etc., etc.. Men det finns även sysselsättningar på land. Ett exempel är Robberg Nature Reserve (www.capenature.co.za) som är ett litet, men mycket vackert, […]

Reply
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