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.
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.
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
Office hours: 08:00–17:00
Tel: +27 (0)44 533 2125/85
Accommodation and permit bookings Tel: +27 (0)21 483 0190
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
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.
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 may be purchased for R40 per adult and R20 per child at the reserve office or through CapeNature Central Reservations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[…] also a self-catering shack (as in your bring in your own stuff) here that you can reserve ahead of time if you wanted to stay […]
[…] is also evidence of middle and later Stone Age Inhabitation according to Cape Nature who provide further information in the Famous Nelson Bay Cave Interpretive […]
[…] Robberg Nature Reserve – We decided not to let kids get in the way of a good hike, but they did. Instead we got to enjoy the 30 minute hike around part of the peninsula using carriers for the kids. Before we completed the loop, perhaps about half way, we walked a little further to view the seals down below and then backtracked to returned to the carpark. […]
A great day hike with awesome scenery, beautiful beaches and fresh air.
A wonderful 9 km walk made easy for this old lady with stairways and balustrades at the most difficult parts. Well sign posted paths. Watch the seals at play at the point, marvel at the wonders of the succulents which have adapted and proliferated. Take in the grandeur of towering cliffs and impossibly blue seas crashing over black rocks or making huge surf crested waves onto golden beaches. A wonderful day out.
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