Plettenberg Bay is a town in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. This bustling seaside town is world famous for its scenic beauty and is popular with both local and domestic visitors. It was originally named "Bahia Formosa" (beautiful bay) by early Portuguese explorers and lies on South Africa's spectacular Garden Route 210 km from Port Elizabeth and +/- 600 km from Cape Town. It is located at 34.03S and 23.22E.
Caves in Nelson's Bay Cave and Matjes River Cave indicate were inhabited for over 100000 years by Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) man and then later by ancestors of the Khoisan, were possibly the same people who traded with the Portuguese survivors of the San Gonzales wreck. Their tools, ornaments and food debris can be viewed in these caves which are still being excavated.
Long before Jan van Riebeeck landed at the Cape, in the 15th and 16th centuries Portuguese explorers of charted that bay, the first being Bartholomew Dias in 1487. Ninety years later Manuel da Perestrello aptly called it "Bahia Formosa" or the Bay Beautiful. The first European inhabitants were the 100 men stranded here for 9 months when the San Gonzales sank in 1630. In 1763 the first European settlers in the Bay were stock farmers, hunters and frontiersmen from the Western Cape.
A stinkwood navigational beacon was first erected on Beacon Island in 1771. The original was a square block of stinkwood, inscribed with the latitude and longitude of Plettenberg Bay and erected to enable mariners to set their chronometers by it. It was replaced by a stone one by Captain Sewell in 1881.
A barracks for the Dutch East India Company in 1776. In 1869 it was bought by St Peters Church and used as a rectory for the next 70 years. Today it is presently privately owned.
In 1787/88 by Johann Jerling and the Dutch East India Company, erected a Timber Shed, The remains can still be seen and are preserved as a National Monument.
At the end of November each year, matriculants flock to Plettenberg Bay for the annual Plett Rage in celebration of the conclusion of their High School education. The festivities last for an entire week and the usually quiet sea-side town is transformed into a hub of euphoria and jubilation. Party-goers flood into some of Plettenberg Bay's most exclusive clubs and bars including Flashbacks, Vegas in Plett and Weldon Kaya.
- Map and photographs of Plettenberg Bay
- CXPress - Newspaper covering local current affairs
- The Plettenberg Bay Portal