The beautiful town of Knysna, situated a mere 73 km from the George airport, is situated within 157 000 hectares of the proclaimed Garden Route National Park. It is nestled between the shores of the pristine Knysna estuary, Indian Ocean and thousands of hectares of beautiful indigenous forest, home to a myriad of wild- and birdlife as well as the famed Cape fynbos. The Knysna area consists of Knysna, Sedgefield, Brenton, Noetzie, Rheenendal, Belvidere and Buffalo Bay. Indigenous forests, fynbos, lakes, rivers, mountains and beautiful coastlines combined with a moderate climate make the Knysna area a natural Eden. Visitors are spoilt for choice with a kaleidoscope of unforgettable experiences to choose from. From leisurely relaxation, high energy adventure and sporting activities to shopping, haute cuisine, Knysna oysters or downing the locally brewed beer, Knysna reflects the finer things in life. Track the mysterious Knysna forest elephant, take a ferry trip or a sunset yacht cruise, hike or cycle in the beautiful forests, take a walk on the beach or sip your favorite drink while watching the sun set over the estuary. With a rich history, gourmet restaurants and a variety of art & craft rambles to add, the options are limitless.
Home of the famous “Brenton Blue” butterfly, Brenton on Sea nestles between the Indian Ocean and the hills of Knysna Western Head. Its golden sand is perfect for walking, sunbathing and fishing. From the cliff top paths, schools of dolphins and whales can be easily spotted. Paragliding is a popular pastime while Brenton on Lake provides a jetty and slipway for boats and canoes. Knysna is the Garden Route’s chocolate-box. You can pick and choose exactly what you want to experience; the range is expansive. From leisurely relaxation to adrenaline inducing adventure, from high-end shopping to competitive sporting events, from rustic food markets to haute cuisine Knysna echoes the finer things in life. Knysna is a perfect balance of abundant nature and social sophistication. With the constant flow of international tourists, Knysna is in constant evolution with regards to fashion, accommodation, dining out, transport and services. Combine the international thrill with a distinctly African feel and one has a completely unique atmosphere. Knysna has one of the most temperate climates in Southern Africa; summers rarely go beyond 30 degrees Celsius and winters seldom below 12 degrees Celsius. This pleasant range of temperatures allows for sporting and outdoor adventure activities to continue year round. Bring an umbrella if you come to Knysna from October to December as that’s the wettest time of year. Each with a unique setting and a memorable experience to offer. Knysna vows to provide quality services, excellent dining options and the resources to use the landscape to its full potential. Whatever the season, come and stay in this perfect all-year-round destination.
The earliest maps call the area Noetziekamma (Khoisan word for dark water possibly referring to the tannins leaching into the river from indigenous forested banks).Noetzie beach and lagoon has been an annual holiday site for the locals ever since we can remember. There was a rough old track down which the ox wagons would creak to the beach. The oxen would be let loose and would graze the dune vegetation while people caught abundant fish, swam in the clean dark waters of the Noetzie lagoon and enjoyed the wilderness experience. Difficult steep access and the south facing aspect of Noetzie meant that Noetzie was left alone during the colder months. This is still true today, but may change in the near future.
The beautiful Rheenendal country district, ten km’s West of Knysna, is home to many prominent artists and crafters. Take time to explore the attractions along the Rheenendal Ramble, where you will come across ceramicists, painters, woodcarvers, bowl turners, screen printers, plant nurseries, tea gardens and restaurants. Explore the wonders of the indigenous forests or hike the many historical trails in the area and visit the old goldmine at Millwood to learn about the excitement of the gold rush.
The story of Belvidere begins in 1830 when the land was acquired by George Rex, the “squire and proprietor of Knysna”, who settled here and became the foremost timber merchant in the district. When a young Scotsman named Thomas Henry Duthie married George’s third daughter, Caroline, in 1833, he bought the farm named Belvidere from his father-in-law for £750. In April 1835 the young family, now with a first baby named Caroline after her mother, moved into their cottage, which was situated where ‘The Bell’ now stands. At that time it would have had timber walls with a rush roof and the cellar which now houses the wine would have been used as storage. By 1848, the family had quite outgrown the cottage. There were twelve children in all, and plans were made to build a larger house. Foundations were laid on 2 October 1848, and in November 1849 the family had their “first dinner out of New House”. At that stage it was a single story building with a thatched roof, dormer windows and small bell-turret. A drawing of this building can be seen in the Hall. The raising of the walls to create a second story, replacing the thatch with corrugated iron and the additions of the verandas were done by Thomas’ second son, Archibald, in the 1870’s. In its time, Belvidere House was an official post office serving the local community with business being transacted from the glass door in the drawing room.
To get away from the Garden Route coastal glitz, head for isolated Buffalo Bay, about half way between Knysna & Sedgefield. This great family resort offers unspoiled seaside scenery, safe swimming and superb surfing conditions, including a section fittingly called ‘The wild side’. Anybody visiting tranquil Buffalo Bay will soon realize that the spirit of the place lies in the beauty of the surf and the surrounding natural scenery with its striking and rather raw diversity of greens, blues and browns. This is in sharp contrast to the town itself, where the unpretentious houses along the winding narrow roads are often bland and colorless. Yet, what they lack in visual impact they make up for with their unusual names. Dolphins are frequently spotted and Southern Right Whales visit this section of the Cape coast annually between May & November. If ‘unspoiled’ means the world to you then you have just discovered your perfect destination!