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Plettenberg Bay is visitor's perfect paradise, writes Willie Bokala

By unknown | Oct 24, 2006 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Colleague Ido Lekota expressed open envy when he learnt I was headed for Plettenberg Bay.

"It is the jewel of the Western Cape, it is where the rich go for fresh air. You will come back revived, brother," he droned.

If I did brush shoulders with the country's rich during my stay, I did not recognise them, but Lekota was right, Plettenberg Bay is any visitor's perfect paradise. It is captivating.

It has been almost a month since I came back from enjoying an amazing three-day Whiskey, Whales and All that Jazz heritage weekend festival, and I am finding it hard to erase the superbly scenic coastal splendour that is this area and its activities from my mind.

My group and I landed on Friday afternoon at George Airport and travelled the winding route to Plettenberg Bay, crossing spectacular mountain passes and rivers on the way.

After freshening up in our rooms at the Whale Song Hotel, we were off to The Med restaurant for dinner.

The richness of this coastal city became evident on the second and third days as we moved from one attraction to another.

The town is situated on the Garden Route, only two hours' drive from Port Elizabeth.

We started day two with a marvellous visit to Monkeyland, a primate sanctuary about 16km east of the town.

The sanctuary, apparently the world's first, is home to 12 different species of monkey, which roam wild and free on 23ha of indigenous forest enjoying what food the trees offer.

I felt privileged to be allowed to step into the world of these primates and learn fascinating facts about them.

And I learnt never to look up a tree and watch a monkey with my mouth open.

"They like releasing water at any time, and a gaping mouth could catch some of it," our guide warned us.

Next stop was the Birds of Eden sanctuary, which is in walking distance from Monkeyland.

The park is home to about 1800 birds of more than 100 different species.

We went to the elephant park in the afternoon, where experienced guides poured out unto us their knowledge of the friendliness of the giant but gentle animals housed in the reserve.

I felt incredible when one giant allowed me to feed him some fruit and then hug and caress his enormous trunk.

The day ended with dinner, whiskey and live jazz at the Fifty 7 Kloof restaurant in Main Street in the town.

The third day, Sunday, was even more spectacular, combining a tour of the historic spots of the town and a special jazz festival at the town's Central Beach, as well as whale-watching.

Plettenberg Bay, according to our host, Dianna Martin, Bitou Tourism's chief executive, is by far a superior whale-watching spot along the Cape southern coast because of its perfect shore-based vantage points.

On shore seagulls interact with tourists by swooping down on tables and stealing food.

We then went down to the Central Beach for an afternoon of whiskey and jazz provided by some of the country's hottest musicians, including award-winning singer Simphiwe Dana, trumpeter Feya Faku, Jeff Maluleke, and The Offshore Jazz Quartet.

The last night was spent at the Laird's Lodge, which provided a country atmosphere situated as it is deeper inland, away from the town and sea, with bushy surroundings and mini-lakes.


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