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Arch Rock near Plettenberg Bay – best done at low tide

One of the Garden Route attractions I haven’t had a chance to visit is Cathedral Rock (also called Arch Rock) at Keurboomstrand near Plettenberg Bay. It’s not for a lack of trying though. Arch Rock is only accessible at low tide and we’ve never spent a couple of days in Plett so it’s only been a quick attempt while passing through if there was time. This time around I had the afternoon in town before picking my daughter up from her shuttle from Cape Town and a glance at the tide table the day before meant that it moved to the top of things to do while waiting.

Parking is at the end of the Keurboomstrand road at the restaurant and beach parking and from there it’s a short 1km walk to get to the magnificent rock formation. At low tide, you can clearly see where it will be inaccessible when walking down the beach so don’t time it too late or you may be stuck for a couple of hours waiting for the tide to turn again.

Most people probably end up just coming to walk to the rock, but next time I’m definitely bringing a towel to have a cooldown in the Matjes River lagoon.

You kinda can’t see the gap in the rocks until the last minute when it suddenly opens up next to you.

When you think of gap in the rocks you always think of the Hole-in-the-Wall at Coffee Bay on the Wild Coast, but this truly is a natural wonder on par.

The tide was still on its way down when we got there so the water was still washing through the gap in the rocks. I have seen photos though where you can walk right under the arch.

When you turn around and cross the first beach by the small lagoon, look about halfway up the hillside in front of you and you’ll spot the Matjes River Rock Shelter site about 50m above sea level.The rock shelter was occupied by Stone Age hunter-gatherers between 2,000 and 12,000 years ago. The shelter was used intermittently as a home by thousands of generations of San people who left their rubbish behind. Stone and bone tools, food remains such as shells and bones, and ornaments such as beads and pendants, as well as the bones of people buried there have been found by archaeologists.

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to take the trail up to the rock shelter so it will have to wait for another visit.