Plettenberg Bay, where our beautiful hotel La Vista Lodge resides, is one of the most popular tourist sites in all of South Africa. We pride ourselves on having the whole package - between South African culture, the grandeur of its natural scenery, wildlife everywhere you go, and a friendly atmosphere - you’ll never want to leave when you come and visit Plettenberg
Located on the Southern Cape coast of South Africa, Plettenberg Bay looks out onto the incomparable Indian Ocean. Home to the famous Robberg Peninsula, Plett offers a wealth of exhilarating, relaxing, life-changing and educational activities and experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds.
One of the big pulls of Plett is that it is one of the many bays located along what’s called the Garden Route. The South Cape is home to the Garden National Park, and the Garden Route is home to many of the beautiful towns that are found all around this area.
Plettenberg Bay is one of those unique towns, and can be visited as part of a longer trip along the whole Garden Route, or as a stand-alone vacation too.
In this blog we will explore the best time of year to travel in Plettenberg Bay, and how the seasons might affect your trip - plus things to do in this awesome corner of the world.
If you are interested in visiting Plettenberg Bay, feel free to contact us for more information about your stay in this beautiful part of South Africa’s Southern Cape.
What are the seasons like in Plettenberg Bay?
South Africa sees beautifully diverse seasonal weather. Unlike some other parts of Africa, South Africa has four seasons - winter, spring, summer and autumn - that see a range of weather patterns depending on where you are in the country.
In the South Cape, specifically in Plettenberg Bay, the winter months (1st June-31st August) are generally drier, but they don’t see as high temperatures as the summer. Winter sunrises in Plett are exquisite from La Vista Lodge.
On average, the dry winter sees temperatures of around 18-23 degrees celsius. This is still not freezing, especially if you are used to European or North American winters - but it’s something to bear in mind.
In the summer months of Plettenberg Bay, between December and February, you will see the sunniest weather of the year - up to the mid-30s in celsius. However, you might experience more sporadic periods of rainfall during this time, as the weather becomes more unpredictable.
The Spring in the Southern Cape (1st September-30th November) has beautifully warm weather that doesn’t get too hot, but can also see increased rainfall as we come out of the winter.
The autumn months, between 1st March and 31st May, the weather changes a lot. March is the wettest month of the year, whereas April and I May can be dry and warm at the mid-20s celsius - perfect for holidays and outdoor trip experiences.
When is the best time to visit Plettenberg Bay?
From this information, you might have deduced that fans of warm weather might fancy coming to Plettenberg Bay between November and May, but should be careful to plan their trip to accommodate potential rainfall.
For those who are happier in mild temperatures of 18-21 degrees celsius, and are more interested in the dryness of the weather than the heat, the winter months of June to August are the most ideal for a vacation.
Things to do in Plettenberg Bay, and the best seasons to do them in!
When visiting us here in Plettenberg Bay, it’s important to factor the weather into the activities you plan. Of course, weather can’t ever be fully predicted, but often outdoor activities can be affected or cancelled by adverse weather conditions.
Here are some amazing activities to do while you are visiting us in Plettenberg Bay. In this list, we will explore things to do in Plettenberg Bay, and tell you which seasons would be best for each activity.
Many of these activities can be done any time of the year, so don’t worry if this doesn’t coincide with your planned trip - it’s likely that you will still have the chance!
1. Whale watching in Plettenberg Bay: year-round AND seasonal, depending on what you want to see!
Whale watching is one of the reasons many people flock to Plettenberg Bay. Whales are some of the most elusive, beautiful, tranquil creatures on earth - and luckily for you, Plett is full of them.
You can whale watch all year round in Plett, but there are certain seasons where different types of whales can be spotted. Whales are migrating animals, meaning they travel to different locations depending on the season.
June-November whale watching in Plettenberg Bay
The southern right whale migrates from the Antarctic waters where they feed, to the warmer waters of South Africa, in early June. They usually stick around until November, at which point they go south once again.
These amazing whales can be spotted easily from the coast, due to their 14m size, but can be seen even better from a boat. Whale safaris are popular in Plettenberg Bay, so you’ll have no trouble finding a boat trip to see these beautiful marine mammals.
November-February whale watching in Plettenberg Bay
Although June to November is perfect for spotting the southern right whale, that’s not the only time of year that you can see whales in Plett.
In early November, migrating humpback whales arrive in the cape with their calves. These incredible beasts stick around until February, and can also be spotted in May and June if you’re lucky.
Seeing humpback whales with their babies up-close is something truly special - an experience you’ll never forget.
Year-round marine life in Plettenberg Bay
As we said before, no matter what time of year you visit us here in Plett, you will be able to see some incredible marine life.
Some of the wildlife you can spot here year-round include:
- Huge pods of bottle-nose dolphins that play in the bay.
- Cape fur seals - you won’t be able to resist saying “Awww!” when you see these guys!
- Bryde’s whales
- Humpback dolphins
And many more! The natural marine wildlife of South Africa is spectacular to say the least, no matter what season you choose to experience it in.
2. Visit the Robberg Nature Reserve: year-round, depending on the weather you are used to!
The Robberg Nature Reserve is a truly magnificent part of the Plettenberg Bay landscape. This conserved area is preserved and taken care of by dedicated teams of wildlife and nature experts, who allow visitors to hike these trails and take in the natural beauty that surrounds them.
This trail contains prehistoric artefacts and rocks that date back to the Stone Age, giving visitors a slice of incredible history while they hike.
When visiting the Robberg Nature Reserve, you can:
- Hike the beautiful trails along the coast, spotting whales, seals and dolphins from the shore line.
- Picnic in some of the most beautiful spots in South Africa.
- Swim in the bay.
- Birdwatch with a guide, or by yourself.
- Go angling (only from the rocks - fishing from boats isn’t permitted in the area).
Whether you are a seasoned fisherman, swimmer and hiker, or a total beginner at all these things, the Robberg Nature Reserve will provide you with an opportunity to experience South Africa’s natural beauty at its absolute finest.
The best time of year to visit the Robberg Nature Reserve in Plettenberg Bay
You can go hiking, picnicking and swimming in any weather, technically, but there are more preferable times to do so that depend on who you are and your level of experience.
During the summer, between December and February, the Robberg Nature Reserve will be more of a wet and wild experience, with temperatures as high as 35 degrees, and more potential for rain. If you are South African or are used to hot weather, this shouldn’t be an issue.
However, if you struggle to hike as it is, or are used to cold climates, it might be better to hike in this beautiful nature reserve between April and November.
Swimming during heavy rainfall or stormy weather won’t be permitted, so this is important to keep in mind when planning your trip. Similarly, you may not want to swim in colder weather, making a summer trip to Robberg Nature Reserve more pleasurable in general.
If you are visiting Robberg in order to see specific whales or other seasonal wildlife, make sure to plan your trip for the right time of year so that you aren’t disappointed!
3. Spend the day on Plettenberg Beach - October-April
Plettenberg Beach is a truly idyllic spot that most visitors go to at some point during their trip. This beach comprises picturesque white sands and dazzling blue waters, framed by the mountains that surround Plettenberg Bay. This beach is truly postcard-worthy, but there’s more to it than simply gazing at the gorgeous scenery.
From Plettenberg Beach, you can easily spot whales and dolphins swimming lazily in the bay. Having a pair of binoculars does help, but you can still see them clearly without any equipment at all.
Additionally, if you’re searching for a little rest and relaxation after a trip full of exhilarating experiences, Plettenberg Beach is the place to go. You can simply lie around and relax on the soft sands, take a dip in the water, or eat at a fabulous seaside eatery - or all three!
The best time of year to visit Plettenberg Beach
While this beach is open all year round, for the best experience you should try to visit during the summer. This will give you maximum warmth and tanning opportunities, while offering incomparable wildlife spotting too.
4. Visit Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary - March
If you visit Plettenberg Bay during the rainiest month of the year, March, you might find that the rain sees off some of your more outdoorsy plans. While it’s still possible to do outdoor activities on a good day, the high precipitation rate in March means that it is best to also find indoor activities to try while you’re in Plett.
If you are searching for an indoor activity that is both exhilarating and fascinating, for people of all ages, the Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary is for you. While much of this sanctuary is situated outdoors, there are regular places to shelter on a rainy day.
The Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary is located in the indigenous forest surrounding Plettenberg Bay, and is home to a number of snakes and mammals that have been rescued, either from the wild or from domestic situations.
This educational site is a great place to visit on a not-so-great weather day - or on any day, for that matter! - and provides an educational insight into Africa’s most fascinating snakes.
5. Hotels in Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay is well known for having a great range of hotel accommodation at its disposal. From apartments to hotels, there’s something for everybody here.
Here at La Vista Lodge, we provide the perfect place to lay your head after indulging in all these amazing experiences in Plettenberg Bay. All the sites in Plettenberg Bay are easily accessible from our Plett hotel, which is located only fifteen minutes’ drive from the Robberg Nature Reserve and the Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary.
The La Vista Lodge is just a 16 minute drive from Plettenberg Bay Airport, making your trip seamlessly easy when you arrive in town.
The La Vista Lodge is home to stunning luxury suites for couples, singles and families alike. Our own restaurant, serving locally sourced food and a range of South African wines, is renowned in the area and accessible by all our guests.
For whale watching, we even offer an exclusive Whale Watching and Accommodation package that includes five nights’ stay with us and a free whale watching tour.
If you are thinking of visiting Plettenberg Bay in the near future, either as part of your longer Garden Route tour or as a standalone vacation, check out our beautiful accommodations that will make your vacation into the trip of a lifetime.