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The Point Circuit in Robberg Nature Reserve is a stunning half-day hike around the cliffs, with swimming opportunities and birdlife galore. There are also two shorter trails within the reserve.
All the Robberg Nature Reserve Hikes start from the car park just inside the reserve, just south of Plettenberg Bay. It’s about 30 minutes from Knysna and an hour from Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, accessed from the N2. If you don’t have a car, check out the options for car hire* from Cape Town.
Robberg Hiking Trail Map
Get the route by downloading the .gpx or .kml file below. For navigation with Maps.me on your mobile phone, simply download the .kml file and open to add it to the Maps.me bookmarks.
- Take: sunhat and sunscreen, water and swimming stuff!
- This is a Cape Nature Reserve: you have to pay for a permit on the drive in, R50 per adult and R30 per child.
- If you get tired, you can miss out on the point and make a lovely 5.5 km circuit.
- There are toilets and a small shop by the car park.
- The wind can be very strong.
- Remember your bird book* and binoculars*!
- There are some great accommodation options in nearby Plettenberg Bay*.
Hikes in Robberg Nature Reserve
There are three hikes in Robberg Nature Reserve, from 1.5 km to 9 km. They are all circular and start and end at the same place. All the walk set off directly from the car park. Most people hike the loops in a clockwise direction, firstly heading northeast from the car park to a nearby lookout point. I think this direction is better because it means that you do most of the climb in the first half and visit more beaches in the second half.
Gap Circuit: 1.5 km, 0.5-1 hour. The shortest hike in the reserve, this hike is a small circuit that visits a beautiful beach where you can swim.
Witsand Circuit: 5.5 km, roughly 2 hours. The perfect route to explore most of the reserve without hiking too far.
Point Circuit: 9 km, 3-4 hours. The longest hike in the reserve, reaching the far point of the peninsula. This hike is described below.
Point Circuit Route Description
After setting off you’ll find that the route is well-signposted. Additionally, this trail sticks to the cliffs near the edge of the ocean. This makes navigation easy.
After a flat start, the trail descends and climbs again to a grassy peak. From here you can see the return route hugging the shore and cliffs by the ocean on the other side.
As you continue, you’ll find fantastic views out over the long beach, and soon you will see seals lounging on the cliffs and playing in the water. You can’t miss them – there are many signs and quite a stench will fill the air.
After hiking a few kilometres along the cliff you’ll get great views back along the narrow peninsular.
The Far End of Robberg Nature Reserve
At the very tip of Robberg Nature Reserve, you’ll descend to a rocky promontory, home to gannets, cormorants, gulls and other seabirds.
You turn the corner and head back along the shoreline.
There is one section where you hold a rope to descend a steep and slightly slippery cliff. Even though it’s steep, there isn’t really any exposure and it’s not difficult.
The little rocky promontory across the large stretch of sand is worth a visit. This is because you’ll find beautiful views from here back to the peninsular, and many seabirds.
The path continues along the ocean and by a small, sheltered sandy cove. To get to the beautiful beach you can see, take the wooden boardwalk down from the saddle. This is the best place to swim because it’s protected from the wind.
Return to the main path and continue back to the car park to finish the Robberg Nature Reserve hike. After the hike, you can find some great accommodation options nearby in Plettenberg Bay*, head east to Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, or west to Ebb & Flow Rest Camp in Wilderness.
We stopped at Robberg Nature Reserve on our two-month road trip around South Africa which we wrote up as a book, Chasing Ostriches*. If you like hiking, you can discover many more hikes in South Africa here.
FAQS – Robberg Nature Reserve Hike
There are three trails of different lengths at Robberg Nature Reserve – 2.1km, 5.5km and 9km. These hikes take from 45 minutes to more than two hours.
The longest trail is the Point Circuit, which is 9 km long and might take 3 to 4 hours.
Robberg Nature Reserve is on the Garden Route in South Africa, 10 minutes south of Plettenburg Bay and 30 minutes east of Knysna.
You can swim at Robberg Nature Reserve, though it can be windy and the sea is fairly cold. The best place to swim is the beach by the Gap because it’s fairly sheltered.