Robberg Nature Reserve is one of the most beautiful destinations in South Africa located near Plettenberg Bay and the Point Circuit hike is one of the most exciting short-day hikes we ever did. This is a must-visit park for anyone road-tripping along the Garden Route.
Located at the tip of the peninsula, Robberg Nature Reserve has three different hikes on the reserve with different difficulty levels. It is known for its Cape fur seal colonies, birdwatching, and scenic landscape.
The Point Circuit is the hardest of three hikes and loops around the peninsula in 9.3 km (5.8 miles). It is the best way to take this beauty in.
The Point Circuit Hike Stats
Distance: 9.3 km (5.8 miles)
Elevation Gain: 930 ft.
Duration: 4-5 hours
Parking & Facilities: At the entrance both parking and facilities are available
Cost: For Adults R60, for children R40
Hiking Robber Peninsula – The Point Circuit
This hike is a loop and can be done clock- or counter-clockwise. I would suggest going clockwise as that is what most people do, going in the opposite direction becomes sketchy in some areas when trying to pass other hikers as the trail is very narrow and steep.
The Point Circuit starts from the main parking area and takes you to the tip of the peninsula. Along the way, you enjoy some stunning views as well as seeing different fur seal colonies that can be smelled and heard before being seen. We did this hike in April on an overcast day with minimal wind and it was a perfect day for this type of hike.
The Point Circuit offers breathtaking coastal views, rugged cliffs, picturesque beaches, and panoramic vistas of the ocean. It is a photographer’s paradise, hikers too.
The beginning of the hike is well marked (follow the sign with a seal on it), and fairly easy with trail combination of sections of boardwalk and dirt trail. Along the way, you can see Cape fur seals here or there swimming in the Indian Ocean. The first seal colony we saw was a little bit before Witsand.
At Witsand is where the trail comes to a fork. You can continue to the Point or turn right toward the Sand Dunes and the Island. At the fork, you will see the sign advising you not to continue toward the Point if you have not reached this point by 2:00 pm. I am not sure if that is because of the tide changing or just running out of daylight.
We continued to the Point, and this is where the trail starts getting more difficult. There will be patches of deep sand you have to walk through and the rocky descent to the Point. The section before the point is where the seal smell and noise get stronger and the colony visibility better.
At the Point, you will be walking over massive boulders, with powerful waves crashing against them. It can get really windy and hard to maintain your balance around here, which did not seem to bother a few seals jumping into the waves.
Walking on the coast over massive boulders you will see rock rabbits (hyrax) just jumping around, they reminded me of chipmunks in North America. During this part of the hike, it is easy to lose visibility of the trail signs, but just when you think you may be lost one of them appears out of nowhere. So, keep your cool and keep going.
There are sections of the trail here that are very steep, and in some areas, the ropes have been installed to help with the steepness and slippery terrain.
Shortly before you arrive on the Island, you will pass a couple of shacks, The Fountain Shack. They can be rented for overnight stays and are not available for day visitors.
Because of the low tide, the Island was actually a peninsula, and looking at it from the beach as the tide was getting higher it looked like a whale’s tail to me. Taking a short hike to the island is another great adventure for more amazing views and birdwatching.
After the beach, there is one more steep section and then after that, it is mostly smooth sailing to the parking lot.
Other Hikes at Robberg Nature Reserve
There are three different hikes at Robberg Nature Reserve. The Point Circuit has been explained in detail in this post. The other two are shorter variations of the Point Circuit.
The Gap Circuit
The Gap Circuit is the easiest and shortest of the three Robberg Nature Reserve hikes, only 2.2 km. Starting from the parking lot it takes you to a mudstone cleft, a historical site that shows evidence of the breaking up of the prehistoric supercontinent Gondwanaland 120 million years ago.
You will pass a few lookout points over the Indian Ocean and Plett. May even see a few seals dancing in the water. There is a beach area where you turn right to the exit.
The Witsand Circuit
This is the second easiest of the three Robberg Nature Reserve hikes, 5.5 km. The trail passes the resident Cape fur seal colony and comes to a fork in the trail where you can decide to go towards the Witsand sand dune or continue to the Point Circuit.
Whichever trail you choose, you will be rewarded with amazing views.
Tip for the Best Experience Visiting Robberg Nature Reserve
Leave No Trace. Pack out what you pack into the park.
Even though, this is a coastal hike do not be fooled, parts of this hike can be hard. With that in mind make sure that you wear proper sturdy footwear.
Sun protection is a must. There is not much shade on this hike, on a summer day it can be brutally hot make sure you apply and reapply sunscreen or wear protective clothing.
Water and snack. At the parking lot, there is a little food truck café where you can buy water and snacks. You will need a lot of water and there are plenty of beautiful spots you can rest and enjoy a snack.
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