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Information on Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, South Africa

Conference Venues South Africa brings you information on Plettenberg Bay situated in the Western Cape Province of South Africa including information on history, location, geography, attractions.

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Plettenberg Bay is the township and CBD of a town called Bitou in the Western Cape. It was originally named Bahia Formosa by early Portuguese explorers and lies on the Garden Route.

Plettenberg Bay hosts one of the largest seagull breeding colonies along the South African coast. Local vegetation varies from indigenous forest further inland to Cape Fynbos. Dolphins are often seen in the surf and whales are a common sight in the bay during their breeding season.

A delicate flower shaped sea shell called a pansy shell is used as the symbol representing the town and is endemic to this part of the coast. Looking for these shells on the beach is a popular activity amongst locals and visitors alike. Robberg Peninsula is maintained as a nature reserve, allowing visitors to see many of the area's local animals and plants.

Tourism is a thriving industry in this area with various waves of arrivals from abroad as well as other parts of South Africa. The greater Plettenberg Bay area is also home to Birds of Eden, the largest free flight bird aviary in the world, and the free roaming primate sanctuary called Monkeyland, among many other tourist attractions.


Plettenberg Bay History

Caves in Nelson's Bay Cave and Matjies River Cave at nearby Keurboomstrand indicate they were inhabited for over 100 000 years by Middle Stone Age man and then later by ancestors of the Khoisan, who were possibly the same people who traded with the Portuguese survivors of the San Gonzales shipwreck. 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, Portuguese explorers charted the bay in the 15th and 16th centuries, the first being Bartholomew Dias in 1487. Ninety years later Manuel da Perestrello aptly called it Bahia Formosa or the Beautiful Bay. The first European inhabitants were 100 Portuguese sailors marooned here for 9 months when the San Gonzales sank in the bay in 1630. The survivors built two small boats which they used to link with a passing vessel. A stone that they left behind on Beacon Island, known as the Van Plettenberg Stone, is now in the Cape Town museum. 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 check their location. It was replaced by a stone one by Captain Sewell in 1881.

The bay housed a barracks for the Dutch East India Company in 1776. The Governor of the Cape, Baron Joachim van Plettenberg, renamed the town Plettenberg Bay in 1779. 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 1788 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. A whaling station was built on Beacon Island in 1910 but was closed down in 1916. Parts of the iron slipway are still visible today. A hotel called The Beacon Isle Southern Sun Hotel now stands where the whaling station used to.

Towns and Suburbs of the Western Cape province of South Africa

Arniston , Albertinia , Bantry Bay , Bellville , Barrydale , Beaufort West , Bloubergrant , Bloubergstrand , Brackenfell , Caledon , Century City , Ceres , Camps Bay , Cape Town , Citrusdal , Clanwilliam , Claremont , Constantia , Darling, De Rust , De Waterkant , Durbanville , Fish Hoek , Franschhoek , Fresnaye , Gardens , Gordon's Bay , Gansbaai , George , Grabouw , Green Point , Greyton , Hout Bay , Hermanus , Kenilworth , Kleinmond , Knysna , Lakeside , Lambert's Bay , Langebaan , Malgas , McGregor , Melkbosstrand , Milnerton , Morreesburg , Muizenberg , Montagu , Mossel Bay , Mowbray , Newlands , Noordhoek , Observatory , Oranjezicht , Oudtshoorn , Paternoster, Paarl , Parow , Pinelands , Plettenberg Bay , Prince Albert , Pringle Bay , Rawsonville , Robertson , Riebeeck West , Rondebosch , Stellenbosch , Somerset West , Simon's Town , Saldanha , Sea Point , Sir Lowry's Pass , Stanford , St Helena Bay , Strand , Swellendam , Table View , Tokai , Tulbagh , Tygerberg , Uniondale, Vermont , Vredendal , Wellington , Wilderness , Witsand , Worcester , Wynberg , Yzerfontein

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