Central Beach, Plettenberg Bay, top tourist destination for the whole of southern Africa

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Of all the tourist towns along the southernmost shores of Africa, the one called Plettenebrg Bay in the Garden Route, is perhaps the most beautiful, and of all the faces of Plett, as the locals call it, Central Beach is perhaps the most public. As the name says, it lies in the center of the town, with suburbs and long stretches of sandy white beach stretching on either side for some miles.

Central Beach with the waves of the Indian Ocean lapping up on the South African shoreline
Central Beach with the waves of the Indian Ocean lapping up on the South African shoreline

Central Beach is where you will find the final destination of the Piesang (Banana) River, as it flows out onto the beach and into the Indian Ocean. Surfers love to catch a nice wave occasionally at this river mouth, which is merely a trickle by this stage, after flowing down the valley toward the sunny shoreline.

The Piesang (Banana) River trickles down the valley and under this pedestrian bridge to flow into the sea
The Piesang (Banana) River trickles down the valley and under this pedestrian bridge to flow into the sea

At this very point you will notice the most outstanding building called the Beacon Isle resort, a time share type of hotel that is built on what used to be a little rocky island right on the beach itself. In previous centuries it was the location of a whaling station, as whales come here to give birth annually in winter, and I presume our ancestors were catching them here for their valuable oil which was used to light lamps. I shudder to think of it now.

View of the iconic landmark that sticks up alone from the water’s edge at Central Beach
View of the iconic landmark that sticks up alone from the water's edge at Central Beach

Beacon Isle time share resort entrance at Central Beach
Beacon Isle time share resort entrance at Central Beach

Today whales are protected and this region hosts a marine reserve. Tourists go out on whale watching tours in little boats when the world’s largest mammals are visiting for their calving. And families of holiday makers from all over the country and the world flock here to bask in the sunshine and bathe in the warm waters.

Central Beach viewed from the Beacon Isle with Piesang River in immediate foreground entering the sea
Central Beach viewed from the Beacon Isle with Piesang River in immediate foreground entering the sea

In these photos, I’m standing at the Beacon Isle resort which is joined to the beach by a neat pedestrian bridge, under which the Piesang River trickles on its way to join the sea. You can also get a general impression of the hill that houses the finest real estate in the land. Just behind and up that hill is the town center, with its single main road. Everything is really nearby and the top of the range holiday beach called Central is nestled at the foot of the town for all to admire.

Entrance to the tented party venue for the holiday season festivities
Entrance to the tented party venue for the holiday season festivities 

Every year the school leavers come here once they finish and graduate for their passing out holiday, called the Plett Rage. During this holiday recently a massive white tent was erected on the beach front for two weeks of festivities and night time dance parties for the school leavers from the top schools in the country. Accommodation and real estate here is not cheap as you can imagine for a coastal resort, so only the lucky wealthy get to attend these exclusive passing out parties for the young adults during this festival.

Beach party of the year takes place here at the high season
Beach party of the year takes place here at the high season 

The DJs play tunes and the youngsters party into the night right on the beach front. The town really comes alive for the festival annually and it also obviously boosts the tourist economy upon which the town relies. This tourist region naturally appeals to outdoor lovers and those keen on water sports as well as nature exploration.

Marine nature tour opportunities at the Beacon Isle resort
Marine nature tour opportunities at the Beacon Isle resort 

Not only the whales but also the seal colony nearby attracts tourists who wish to catch views of some of the marine mammals in their natural habitat.

Inside the party tent on set-up day
Inside the party tent on set-up day

All year long Plett is a haven for tourists and adventurers from all parts of the planet. It’s just such a healthy environment for people of all ages. I highly recommend a little holiday getaway for yourself or your family to this little part of paradise called Plettenberg Bay. You will be truly impressed and inspired by the healthy lifestyle and natural environment for your traveling pleasure. This truly is one of the top gems of the African coastline so be sure to put it near the top of your travel list now that you know of its glories.

View of Central Beach from the Beacon Isle entrance with Piesang River flowing past in middle ground toward the sea
View of Central Beach from the Beacon Isle entrance with Piesang River flowing past in middle ground toward the sea

A good view of the Piesang River meandering down toward the bridge and then the sea
A good view of the Piesang River meandering down toward the bridge and then the sea

(photos my own)


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Ah yes... I actually went and surfed the little wave you mentioned on the Beacon Isle side of the beach, and also caught a few on the wedgier wave on the far side of the beach with my bodyboard. I did all this about two weeks ago, only to learn of the fatal shark attack that happened nearby about a week after that.

Apparently the Robberg Peninsula has a massive Seal Colony and therefore a healthy collection of great white sharks! I have done the beautiful hike around Robberg, and definitely saw a great white swimming on the Plett side!

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Hey that's amazing to hear Jasper, yes there was a fatal shark attack, since the seal colony attracts 4.5m Great white sharks apparently.

I'm so glad you have experienced the beautiful area here. I have been here for 15 years since leaving CT and it feels like the best place to be in the country.

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Hiya, @LivingUKTaiwan here, just swinging by to let you know that this post made it into our Honorable Mentions in Daily Travel Digest #1615.

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Awesome thank you so much Pinmapple team, I feel honored lol.

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It's a great spot.

That rave tent though 😆 Ah to be young again...

Nice to see that part of the world and I'm totally sending this to Matthew. Trying to get him here too. He bailed from Cape Town almost 20 years ago and has never looked back.

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Haha yes the tent brings back memories of festivals too many to remember. This little town with its beaches is like a mini Cape Town - but only the best parts of it.

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I"m gonna get up that way to see you eventually!

I know I say that every year... but...

It's bizarre how close it is and still so far :)

It's a beautiful part of the Western Cape. Probably the finest I reckon.

And Titsikama! OMG... yeah. I'd love to head up that way again for a while.

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