A stunning half-day hike around the cliffs and beaches of Robberg Nature Reserve, with swimming opportunities and birdlife galore.

Robberg Nature Reserve, South Africa

Location

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.

Trail Route

8.9 km | 3 to 4 hours | 665 m up | 665 m down | 120 m high | 0 m low

The walk sets off directly from the car park, most people choosing to hike the loop 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.

Tips

  • 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!

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.

Hiking trails of Robberg Nature Reserve, South Africa

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.

Views from Robberg Nature Reserve, South Africa
Seals of Robberg Nature Reserve, South Africa

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.

Cliffs and water of Robberg Peninsular, South Africa
Views from Robberg Nature Reserve Hike, South Africa

After hiking a few kilometres along the cliff you’ll get great views back along the narrow peninsular.

Tip of Robberg Nature Reserve on hike, South Africa
Rocks and ocean of Robberg Peninsular, South Africa

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.

Rock and water, South Africa
Hiking trail on Robberg Nature Reserve, South Africa

You turn the corner and head back along the shoreline.

Difficult part of hike, South Africa

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.

Hiking trail on Robberg Nature Reserve, South Africa
Beach, South Africa

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.

beach and hiking trail, South Africa
Swimming beach on Robberg Nature Reserve Hike, South Africa

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 your Robberg Nature Reserve hike.


Discover more of South Africa with Chasing Ostriches: A Two Month Road Trip through South Africa

We stopped at Robberg Nature Reserve on our two-month road trip around South Africa which we wrote up as a book, Chasing Ostriches*. Discover many other amazing places in South Africa and see more photos here.

Views from end of Robberg Nature Reserve Hike, South Africa

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