The Bungalow a blissful boutique beach getaway
Catherine Richards sips local bubbly and meets friendly sea life while kicking back in placid Plett
The Bungalow (a member of Cape Summer Villas) is an amazing child-friendly hotel situated just a stone’s throw from the main beach in Plettenberg Bay.
My friend, Anzelle Kunhardt, and I were guests on a media trip in August and during the second half of the getaway we stayed at this fabulous five-star hotel.
The Bungalow has a chilled yet luxurious vibe and is the perfect place for family trips or girls’ weekends like the one we were on.
After checking in, we drove down to the popular Bramon Wine Estate for a special wine tasting and lunch.
Situated just 20km east of Plettenberg Bay in a mountainous area called The Crags, the family-run estate is just off the N2.
We were warmly welcomed by the owners and shown to our table with a view overlooking the vineyards.
The restaurant was packed with families enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon lunch and wine.
We enjoyed a fascinating wine tasting that included Bramon’s award-winning Methode Cap Classique bubbles and the most delicious food.
The food included fresh salads, meat and cheese platters, and the best homemade bread you will ever eat.
It was worth every calorie, trust me.
After lunch, we were all feeling a bit lazy and so we went back to The Bungalow to relax.
The weather was stunning, so we all enjoyed chatting on the veranda.
As the sun set, they lit a fire for us and brought us blankets so we could enjoy drinks and each other’s company for a bit longer.
I didn’t realise how much I had missed meeting new people until that moment.
Covid-19 has really had an impact on all of our lives.
We had supper on the deck at The Bungalow.
Many locals come to meet friends here for drinks and so it created a great atmosphere with fine food.
A lot of us went to bed early as we had another busy day ahead.
The media tour organiser, Theresa Gibbon, kept us on our toes during the trip with fun activities and what she had planned for the next day was no exception — swimming with seals.
After a good night’s sleep, we had a quick breakfast and headed towards Plett’s main beach to Offshore Adventures, where they would take us swimming with seals.
I have to confess, out of all the activities on the itinerary, this was the one I was the most scared of doing.
I am not a huge fan of swimming in the ocean (sharks eat seals), so do not expect a My Octopus Teacher moment.
My plan was to get in and get out as fast as possible.
At Offshore Adventures, our guide, Red, helped us with snorkelling gear and wetsuits, and assured us we would not be eaten by sharks — it was not shark season. (But how do they know for certain that no shark is nearby?)
All suited up, we got into the rubber duck.
It was an exhilarating experience as we sped into the depths of the ocean blue.
We were privileged to see humpback whales as we went further out.
Then the boat stopped and I almost died; I thought “please do not leave me here”.
There was no way I was going to jump into the middle of the sea here.
Luckily, we had just stopped to take it all in and then headed towards the Robberg peninsula to swim with the seals.
Red said the peninsula was home to about 10,000 seals.
We watched these fascinating creatures sun themselves on the rocks, dive into the cool Indian Ocean and play.
Red said they were like playful puppies and he was right.
We saw one seal caught in a plastic rope and tried to help it, but we couldn’t catch it.
It was an eye-opening experience of the damage pollution causes to the ocean and its marine life.
The time had come to jump into the ocean with these seals. All 10,000 of them.
I kept very close to Anzelle, who looked rather cool, calm and collected.
In fact, everyone looked excited and so, after counting to three, I jumped into the freezing ocean and was swimming with these amazing creatures.
The seals are friendly and just want to play.
They rub their bodies against you, which is weird and a bit scary at first, but what an experience it was.
After a few minutes, Gibbon asked for the boat to come and fetch her and I was like “yes, me too!".
It was the most indescribable experience, but the water was freezing and I could not feel my toes.
Some of my new friends stayed the full 30 minutes and I loved watching them with the seals.
When we got back to the hotel, a hot shower was top of everyone’s agenda.
After Anzelle and I packed, we said our goodbyes to the rest of the group.
Gibbon had organised a life-changing trip with the most incredible women.
The activities were fun and challenging, and they showcased the best this area has to offer.
I left with a renewed spirit of adventure and a few more Facebook friends.
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