Unless you rank among the elite and own a family holiday pad in Plett (535km from Cape Town), or have a contact who does, you probably don't want to be here at Christmas. Gautengers crowd the beaches, their 4x4s hog the roads, prices leap, standards drop, and the town's entire infrastructure creaks under the load. From late January though, relative sanity returns to Sandton by the Sea, but the atmosphere is still far removed from the sleepy stupor that once typified this rustic holiday village. This said, irrespective of season and the rash of development, Plettenberg Bay is still painfully beautiful. The blue Tsitsikamma Mountains on one side, the long finger of Robberg on the other, the sweeping bay and a curvaceous arc of white beach, provide a constant backdrop to the town. Affordable self-catering options are best found out of peak season, with the months of July and August and the areas lying away from the main centre offering better value.