The seaside town of Plettenberg Bay, fondly known as Plett, is on the Garden Route, three hundred miles east of Cape Town. This stunning coastline between Mossel Bay and Storms River is jampacked with pristine stretches of beach, lakes, mountains, rivers, indigenous forest, and the crystal-blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
Plett, with its relaxed, friendly feel, is the ultimate playground for nature and adventure lovers. And Indigo House sitting high up on the mountainside with spectacular views over Plettenberg Bay lagoon and the stunning jagged-topped Tsitsikamma mountain range is the perfect base. Tsitsikamma meaning ‘place of much water’ in the Khoekhoe language, which definitely describes Plett’s landscape, and your view.
When you think of a seaside home, you automatically imagine blue and white, and indeed Indigo House has this by the bucket load, but you need to leave all your assumptions about ‘beach houses’ at the door as this is by no means your typical beach house.
Indigo House is a beautiful curation of contemporary coastal design. It’s light, minimal, and fresh. A delightful mix of a relaxed beach house and coastal chic that embraces a Mediterranean palate of blue and white ramped up with shots of indigo blue.
Indigo House is an upside-down house – that is, you arrive at the top and work your way down. A sliding gate allows entry to the garage. Steps to the side lead down to an outdoor shower with views to a verdurous and enchanting courtyard garden, the high walls enveloped in lush green climbers. The bedrooms are on the entry-level floor, with the living and entertaining areas downstairs.
The interiors are long lateral spaces with an easy-open plan layout decorated in a sophisticated yet relaxed way and teeming with natural light and fabulous views through full glazed doors. The living room, dining room, bar, and kitchen flow from one to the other seamlessly, and all the rooms spill out onto a fabulous reed-covered veranda that extends the entire width of the house. There’s a bedroom and TV room to one end, and the lovely garden leads out from the kitchen and the living room.
The decor oozes understated elegance. African artifacts and evocative artworks of wooden dhows and sun-bleached sails lend a sense of place. Every room has a sea view and enjoys fabulous sunrise and sunsets. There’s also a heated pool and sun deck, and a small lawned area, and the whole place is totally private.
You are spoilt for choice inside and outside with places to sit and chill. There are easily enough curated spaces to have some private time, as well as lots of party spaces for fun, get-togethers. The housekeepers live on-site to make sure you are well looked after. They discretely pop into light fires in the evenings, put the pretty veranda lights on, wash up, change linens and make up the beds. This is self-catering with hotel service!
The kitchen has everything and more than you could ever need, but there are so many places to eat we left the kitchen as clean as we found it. Living here is exceptionally comfortable, relaxed, and effortless. Light casts gorgeous shadows throughout the day as it changes from sunrise to sunset. Indigo House is a grown-up beach house that’s also child-friendly.
It’s tempting to stay and enjoy the many spoils, but Plett beckons. There is so much to do here-its a nonstop action hot spot. Plett has many beautiful beaches to explore. Central Beach is the buzziest beach and the starting point for marine safaris, dive charters, Hobie cat sailing, jet skiing, and ocean kayaking. Roberg Beach is the beach for walking, and Lookout Beach is popular with sunbathers and surfers, and the adjoining lagoon throngs with kite surfers and SUP paddlers. As you explore, keep a lookout for dolphins frolicking in the waves, and of course whales if you are there in whale time.
Keurbooms Lagoon is the place for water skiing, boating, windsurfing, and fishing, and the Wedge is one of South Africa’s best body-boarding surf beaches. You can also dive with the local seals with Pro Dive. However, if you prefer to see your seals up close without jumping in with them, you can visit the local colony of 6,000 Cape fur seals, a 10-minute boat ride from the dive center on the Robberg Peninsula.
For walkers and hikers, the Robberg Nature Reserve Hike spectacularly hugs the coastline with dramatic views of the Tsitsikamma mountains. A choice of three circular routes means it’s suitable for all levels. Harkerville Cycle Route is a popular mountain bike trail. Plus, there’s canoeing along the Bitou River and golfing at Plettenberg Bay Country Club, Goose Valley Golf Club, and the Championship Golf course at Knysna.
There’s also deep-sea fishing, horse trails, Kloofing, which I discovered is scrambling, floating, swimming, and abseiling through the canyons in the Craggs, as well as canopy tours, where you literally traverse from one platform to the next along a steel cable 30 metres above the ground, imitating Tarzan, and the highest commercial bunny jump in the world is at Bloukrans River Bridge-is not for the faint-hearted.
Nearby Wilderness, is known for its epic surfing waves. Natures Valley Beach, 32km from Plett, stretches for 6km and is an incredibly beautiful untouched beach. Look out for Pig’s head rock face, so named because of its striking appearance to a pig’s head!
Foodies will not be disappointed. Start the day with coffee and a delicious almond croissant at the tiny Dr. Moose with its seating arranged on the street for great people watching, or breakfast at the lovely courtyard Le Fournil de Plett Bakery – Lunchtime is also wine time at Le Fournil, watch out you could easily spend the day there! We loved Emily Moon River Lodge restaurant Emilys Restuarant, and Simon’s Bar are brimful with eclectic artefacts and found items.
Plett Winelands is South Africa’s hottest new wine route stretches from Harkerville to The Crags, produces various cultivars, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and MCC bubbles. Bramon, the biggest of the 16 wine estates, is a really popular restaurant with award-winning wines, and we had a gorgeous lunch on the veranda of Newstead Wines.
The freshest, tastiest salads grown on the farm, pizza, and the star of the show, the moreish slow-roasted wood-fired spicy chicken accompanied by their award-winning bubbles. We need to return to sample the infused craft cocktails at the Bubble&gin bar. There’s lots of shopping too. The flagship Mungo store is here, and you can tour their mill in Old Nick Village, and my fave, Pezula home decor and lifestyle store is on the Main Street. Action-packed or laid back and restful, the choice is yours, whichever, it’s a great stay.