Destinations, Feature Trips, Photography, South Africa, twoOregonians Tour the Cape

Stumbling Into Myst

September 23, 2012

So, I have this thing for relating travel destinations to games (board or otherwise).

Remember that computer program Myst? In the 1990s, I sunk ages into solving its digital riddles. Analyzing puzzles, traversing other-worldly landscapes, pulling at threads in a storyline until the mysteries finally unraveled. The game appealed to my inquisitive, persistent mind.

Imagine the fun a few decades later (um, can that be true?!), when Ted and I stumbled into the real-world graphics of Myst 2.0 at the Robberg Peninsula, 8 kilometers to the south of Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.

Robberg Peninsula, South Africa

Classic Myst, Circa 1990s

We pulled into Robberg Nature Reserve at 4:30pm.

“Park entry closes at 5pm, visitors must be out by 6pm.”

A race against the clock? Okay, fair warning.

“Three trails, take your pick.” Okay. We’ll shoot for the middle one. An hour and a half – no problem.

Actually, though, it was a problem.

We didn’t realize the treachery of the trail.

What starts as an easy boardwalk morphs into a rocky path – so far so good.

Seals galore playing in the ocean below…

But then the route takes a turn for the crazy: sand dunes and sheer cliffs and rising tides and splashing waves and slippery boulders and rickety wooden steps and who-knows-how-old-concrete and frayed rope railings…

The landscape architect in me was cringing: “But this is a public park! What about health/safety/welfare!?”

My little slip on shoes filled quickly with sand. Ted’s soles slipped their grip on the slick stones.  The sun sank lower…the signage disappeared…we wondered how a simple mini-trek could turn out to be so challenging.

Nevermind the rough patches, though. We made it through.

And the memories and scenes of color and beauty at the tip of the world are well worth the trips and stumbles.

Robberg Nature Reserve
Open 7am to 5pm Daily; Open until 8pm during December/January
They say it takes four hours to take the longest hike to the tip of the peninsula and back. We did the medium route in 92 minutes, but our sunset-pace was a bit too fast for comfort.
The short route may be an easy hour’s visit.
Word to the wise: Wear sturdy shoes, be prepared for dicey terrain, and pack a picnic lunch. The spot’s simply too gorgeous to not spend a leisurely hour or two…

For a lovely spot with more Myst-like qualities on the other side of Plettenberg Bay, check out our post on Trogon House and Forest Spa and its boardwalks through the forest and beautiful, mysterious buildings tucked away under green canopies inhabited by wild monkeys…

This post is part of our €œtwoOregonians Tour the Cape€ series featuring quintessential and offbeat South African experiences, one-of-a-kind accommodations and beautiful B&Bs, respectful wildlife programs, social service projects, and landscape photography from the South African Cape. As always, all opinions, photos, and stories are our own; many thanks to our kind hosts and partners along the way. It was our pleasure to experience such genuine kindness and hospitality!

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  • Reply Mikeachim September 24, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Oh so very Myst-like. (Yes, I played that one to death).

    But also, more than a few shades of the gorgeous Dear Esther there… (

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians September 24, 2012 at 9:08 am

      Mike, I knew I liked you. Also, perhaps it’s time for me to learn what this Dear Esther thing is all about… (Like I need another time-suck!) Sounds pretty/tempting, though.

  • Reply Archana September 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I can’t wait to go to South Africa, and use these posts for inspiration. Such beauty!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians September 25, 2012 at 9:03 am

      Thanks, Archana! You’ll love it : ) There are beautiful spot in every direction (along the Garden Route, especially) and you’ll find hidden and not-so-hidden pieces of paradise everywhere. The sunlight on this particular afternoon was just gorgeous, too.

  • Reply Arianwen September 25, 2012 at 12:06 am

    What a beautiful walk! I was going to comment on the inappropriate footwear from the earlier photo and then you mentioned it yourself. I hate it when that happens! Footpaths should come with a footwear guide!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians September 25, 2012 at 9:06 am

      Ha, I know! We decided to visit on a whim, and I’d worn those shoes on other short distance hikes and not had trouble, so we set off and I didn’t give it another thought…until the boardwalk disappeared and the rocks gave way to sand, sand, and more sand and then super-slick boulders. Whoops. I’ll know better next time ; )

  • Reply Stephanie - The Travel Chica September 25, 2012 at 3:23 am

    Getting your geek on :-)

    Great photos by the way.

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians September 25, 2012 at 9:09 am

      Thanks, Stephanie ; ) I can be pretty proud of my geekiness… Next up: Living SimCity in Bangkok. (Actually…that could be a pretty good post.)


  • Reply Jeremy September 25, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Wow amazing scenery. And good throwback to Myst! I loved that game. I think I might dust off my 11th hour cd-rom tonight too while I’m at it ;)

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians September 27, 2012 at 10:02 am

      Haha, Jeremy. Glad to have inspired you ; )

  • Reply Andrea September 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    That’s so cool! I always wondered where they get the scenery for those games

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians September 27, 2012 at 10:12 am

      Thanks, Andrea : ) I remember when I was in university studying landscape architecture in the Architecture and Allied Arts school, I’d see tidbits from the digital media and computer game designers. The idea of creating brand new worlds from thin air seemed pretty cool to me. I’d be fun to see how much improved the graphics would be if they re-made Myst this decade.

  • Reply Joel September 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    I love these pictures! It looks sublime. And I’m thankful, as should you be, that the video game of your life stayed Myst and didn’t turn into Resident Evil 4, as it sounded like it might with setting suns and lost signs and remote locations. Unrelated: I think my life is mostly like Final Fantasy only without the Chocobos. So many tangents and prerequisite mini quests in order to move forward. I should take a *page out of your book* and make it Mystier. :P

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians September 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      What am I admitting by saying that most of your references go over my head? : / Now, if Andrew would chime in on Emerald Zone analogies, I’d be back in the game.

  • Reply Andrew Buck September 26, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I hear Thailand can be a lot like Riven. I hope you’re ready for the sequel.

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians September 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      You know I am!

  • Reply Bobbi Lee Hitchon September 27, 2012 at 5:01 am

    Good spot. I’ve never read a post comparing locations to those used in games-very clever and sounds like a fun thing to do. Beautiful photos as well.

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians September 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      Signs of a random mind, I assure you ; ) Glad you like the pictures! Robberg was gorgeous. I only wish we’d had more time before the sun set…

  • Reply Anita September 28, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Thanks for sharing the beauty of Robberg Nature Reserve through these stunning pics. How I’d love to visit it someday :)!

  • Reply Social Service Exellence: OPTIONS Care Center - twoOregonians October 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    […] easy to post photos of South Africa’s gorgeous scenery; it’s natural to tell stories of delightful dinners and fine wines and sweet new friends. […]

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