How to find Pansy Shells in Plettenberg Bay

Finding a Pansy Shell in Plettenberg Bay
Keurbooms Lagoon viewed from La Vista Lodge

Beach walkers and nature lovers of the Garden Route delight in finding this fragile rare beauty intact and washed up by the Indian Ocean currents. The Pansy Shell, (also known as a Sand Dollar or Sea Biscuit) makes its appearance on local

Pansy Shells

Pansyshells by Photographer: Sharyn Hodges


If you’re looking for Pansy Shells, these are the places to find them in Plettenberg Bay

The iconic and delicate Shell can be found with frequent visits of our Beaches:

  • Lookout Beach
  • the Pansyshell Sandbank at Keurboomsriver Mouth
  • Keurbooms Beach
  • Robberg Beach in Plettenberg Bay.

A scenic walk along Lookout Beach to the Pansyshell Sandbank is your best bet to find the delicate shell.

 It’s not like you can just walk the Plettenberg Bay beach and pick them up. Pansy Shells are rare, but if you look hard enough, you can find them. Actually a Pansy Shell has to find you!

Heart in Sand at Lookout Beach in Plettenberg Bay


Make an unforgettable day trip to the Garden Route beaches. The Pansy Shell, a rare and fragile sea shell found in all of these locations is so delicate you can almost feel it's weightlessness as if holding one up on your palm!

Visitors to the Garden Route are greeted with a variety of natural wonders, from thick rainforests and mountain slopes teeming with wildlife, to vibrant seaside landscapes. The Pansy Shell's appearance is no exception; this gorgeous rare shell can be found washed up on our local beaches periodically when currents have been strong enough to push them ashore intact!

The Pansy Shell is a fragile rare beauty that can be found washed up on the beaches in Plettenberg Bay. What makes these shells special are their colors, which range from white to bright pink and purple! The shell's name comes from its resemblance of pansies flowers after they have bloomed.

Our beautiful holiday destination of Plettenberg Bay and Bitou Municipality even has the gorgeous, delicate pansy shell as its town emblem!

Delighted Plett Holiday Makers finding their very own Pansy Shells:

You don´t find the Pansy Shell it finds you.

Pansy Shells found in Plettenberg BayIt is difficult and nearly impossible to find a shell so rich in symbolism as the pansy.
Explained to me how it represented the story of the Birth, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

On the top part of the shell you can clearly see in the center a star, which represents the Star of Bethlehem that led the Wise Men to the manger when Christ was born. Around it is the outline of the Easter lily, a sign of Our Lord’s Resurrection.
At the edges of the star are four holes and in the center another one. These remind us of the four Sacred Wounds of Our Lord on His Hands and Feet that He bore after being nailed to the Cross.
A center hole, the fifth, represents the pierce Wound to His Sacred Heart made by the spear of Longinus.
If you turn the sand dollar over, you will find an outline of the Poinsetta, the Christmas flower.

Are Pansy Shells rare?

It is incredibly rare to find an intact Pansy Shell on the beach. Plettenberg Bay beach walkers and nature lovers still delight in the shelly wonders washed up by the Indian Ocean. Even though they are called ‘shells’, the pansy is in fact the skeleton of a sea urchin.

What´s inside a Pansy Shell?

Finally, if you break it open, five "doves" emerge – the doves of the Peace and Joy of Christmas. The Pansy Shell always has five doves inside

The Legend of the Pansy Shell

Many poems have been written about the legend of the pansy shell.
This one, author unknown, is my favourite:
There’s a pretty little legend
That I would like to tell
Of the birth and death of Jesus
Found in this lovely shell
If you examine closely
you’ll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by the Roman spear
One on each side is the Easter
lily its centre is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
and led them from afar
The Christmas poinsettia
Etched on the other side 
Reminds us of His birthday
our happy Christmastide
Now break the centre open
and here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread goodwill and peace
This simple little symbol
Christ has left for you and me 
To help us spread His gospel
Through all eternity.

La Vista Lodge is a must-visit destination for anyone who wants to find their very own pansy shell by the Pansyshell Sandbank.

The tidal change of the lagoon ensures that you will never be bored with what's happening in your surroundings, and if you stay at La Vista Lodge, there are beautiful views from every window.

Pansyshell Sandbank at Sunrise
The view from your suite will take your breath away as you watch boats come and go through our picturesque channel. Whether you simply want to relax by the pool or explore some of South Africa’s most pristine beaches like Lookout Beach and Pansyshell Sandbank, there's something here for everyone!
We have amazing deals on our suites so book now!

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