A whale of a time at the whale-watchers dream resort on the south Cape coast of Africa
Greetings and welcome to another edition of The Shape of The Cape, with your host Julescape. On my travels along the Garden Route, here along the south Cape coast of Africa, I have never seen a more beautiful bay, and that's why I'm writing still more about it. If you ever get to Africa, then you should get here to experience it for yourself.
On the map above, you can see why the bay is so sheltered, even for the whales that arrive here every year in winter (August - October) for breeding. There is that long out-jutting peninsula on the left called Robberg, which is a protected National Park and sensitive ecosystem. There is a massive seal colony and one can park at the entrance to the peninsula and after paying about $3, enter and do the 3 hour hike around the entire peninsula.
This will allow you to see the seals in the ocean down below you from the cliff tops. If you're here in winter, you can do some whale watching from the beaches below, and even take a boat ride out to within a few meters of the whales themselves, in the bay. There are restrictions as to how close you're allowed to take a boat to the whales, but it's close enough to get a few legendary photos so close to the biggest creatures on the planet.
Curiously, the only bays that the whales come to every winter along this south Cape coast of Africa, are all along the exact 34S degree of latitude. Cape Town’s False Bay itself is well know for whale watching, and then just outside the city of Cape Town, to the east along the shoreline, is the holiday town of Hermanus, about an hour’s drive away. Whales love it there. And then here in Plett (as the locals call it) another 550km further east, the coastline dips back up to the 34S parallel, after having dropped southward to form the southernmost point of Africa, at Cape Aughulas.
These three places are the most famous for whale watching and if the whales love it, then it must be good. Somehow they have chosen the prettiest and most attractive beaches or coastlines to frequent for their calving annually, so it seems that nature speaks in obvious terms when creating these destinations, loved by whales and humans alike, perhaps for similar reasons.
You can see the sheltered bay in the photo above. The peninsula on which I'm standing to take the photo, creates a protecting wall from any stormy weather, and the bay remains relatively calm, so the whales like it. Surfers love it too. This is Robberg Beach, part of the Plett coastline, and it stretches for about 5km from end to end. I walk it back and forth for exercise and to see the sites, and it is usually deserted, except perhaps for the odd local.
This region is where all the best there is to offer comes together. The main highway along this African coastline comes right up to the town which is right next to this beach. So all the amenities of civilized living, so to speak, can be found at this beach, which in itself provides all the best that nature has to offer, in the form of warm and gentle ocean waters, sunny days almost all year long and a choice of nature trails for hiking, bird watching, or indigenous flora investigations, etc.
Of course, seals attract sharks, but the surfers don’t seem to be too bothered about them. Brave guys. I have been kayaking across the entire Robberg beach, that you see in the one photo above, and it is amazingly calm just behind the beakers, the waves that the surfers catch. Sharks are few and far between, preferring seals, and they don’t actually like to eat humans. They may just mistake them for a seal if they see you splashing about. So I keep to the shallow waters when I swim, being the cautious type, though shark attacks are rare, like once every few years.
If you look at the map in the first photo, you can see that Robberg Beach is to the left, bordering on the peninsula itself. And you can see it in the photo above, more directly. What an idyllic stretch of shoreline, with clean white sand, stretching for miles, and hardly any other people to be seen. Locals like their morning and evening walks, of course, but the beach is more than big enough for all of them, and us visitors as well.
There are numerous backpackers hostels in the town, or BnB guest houses for the more mature traveler. I don’t know where you are or what your surroundings are like, but if it’s not looking like this, then you are missing out guys. This is where heaven dips down to touch earth and provides a glimpse of paradise on earth, available for the fortunate few who stumble across it. It’s not the only place on earth where you will find a touch of paradise, but it certainly is one of the best.
One of the symptoms of paradise, or heaven, is that time is conspicuous by its absence. Time not only stands still, but time seems to disappear altogether. The timeless beauty of this hidden treasure hideaway travel destination is available all year long in the mild climate, leading me to time and again label this zone as “the eternal sunshine of the spotless beach”.
Until next time, this is your travel guide, Julescape signing out. See you on the beach.
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