Plettenberg Bay is the miniature, safe version of South Africa. It has all the African quests you are looking for with a relatively cheap price tag. What I mean with everything: animals, bungee jumping, a beach, hike, water sports, and other adventure experiences. The town even provided me with the perfect example why we don’t book our hostels in advance except if we fear sell outs.
When we rolled up in our bus (on which I forgot my special water bottle! crying a river), hunted down our previously researched hostel, and asked for the price, the receptionist answered with my favorite melody. Discount! She informed us that if we stay 3 night or more, we get a 30% discount. In the end, we spent $7 a night instead of $10. This deal was not advertised online. Not the first time we got a cheaper price than online and hopefully not the last either. This method is riskier, but also allows us to avoid crappy accommodations.
The hostel helped us with the commuting arrangements to our destinations. Sometimes their offers were cheaper, but in hindsight I would recommend checking Uber (a taxi app) for a cross reverence. Our main goal was bungee jumping for the first time. I was nervous while thinking about this activity on our way there. Getting the harness on and walking over the bridge just got my butterflies flapping harder. This site is the third highest commercial bungee jumping site in the world with a 100% safety rating. On the bridge, they blast loud pop music which helps a lot with the nerves. Standing at the edge, the staff counted to 3, which was my countdown to leap. I barely got the chance to scream, before my 5 second dive left me dangling on a rope above a river. My rope was tied to hard around my ankles, causing me pain, hence I couldn’t wait for them finish pulling me up and getting the gear off. My travel buddy didn’t have this issue though. Overall I’m glad I went, but is not an experience I want to repeat for the price. I didn’t get as much adrenaline out of bungee jumping as I hoped for. Maybe if I jump from twice as high? Doesn’t exist yet, but it might one day.
Something else we have to try one day is an actual safari, even though we went on a game reserve drive. You are guaranteed to see all the animals because there is a fence around the property and therefore miss the excitement of trying to discover the animals yourself. Still super cool though. We saw lions, cheetahs, hippos, white rhinos, wild dogs, giraffes, elephants, crocodiles, zebras, springboks, and much more! My favorite were the wild dogs that were teasing the lions in the other fenced area. So, we could observe the lions charging at them, but having to halt at the barrier. Those wild dogs were cheeky. While driving around in the jeep, we also got to listen to interesting facts about the animals. Made me realize how little I know. If I were to be stuck in the wilderness, I’d be guaranteed to die.
At least while walking along the beach, the only wildlife concern was a bird pooping on me. Though grossed out, I wouldn’t die. Meandering on the sand was relaxing. Waves washing on shore. There was a potential to see whales further out in the water as well. My friend saw one, but I only caught the remaining signs of it. Bummer. The quiet town above is nice for a stroll as well, but we got stared at quite a bit. Nothing little chocolate can’t help. Just kidding. But we did buy a lot of chocolate in this town. When looking at the budget, probably up to half of the grocery bill is comprised of chocolate. We tried a lot of candy bars South Africa sells that aren’t in the America’s. 5 Star and Crunchie are my favorite. Munch on them if you get the chance.
In general, I would recommend Plettenberg Bay to backpackers, especially family travelers. It’s quiet, safe, cheaper, and has most things in one place. Because we did the game drive here, we decided to save money on transportation and not go further east. Next stop is Botswana. Where we will stay with a friend and go on a real safari adventure!
Cost breakdown of Plettenberg Bay (8 days with total cost of $265.75. Average daily cost is $33.22.)
- Hostel: $59.22 (8 nights which incl. breakfast)
- Transportation: $66.78
- Buses: $25.26 (initial buses to town)
- Taxis: $41.52
- Food: $32.89
- Meals: $15.09 (5 meals)
- Groceries: $17.80
- Activities: $100.81
- Bungee Jumping + Photos: $60.58 plus $10.21
- Game Drive: $30.02
- Miscellaneous: $6.05
- Laundry: $1.36
- Lotion: $4.69