Knysna and Surrounds
The beautiful town of Knysna, situated a mere 73kms 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.
Presents a variety of water sports – from simply splashing around, to excellent fishing, boating, canoeing, windsurfing, waterskiing, and sailing. With four unspoiled beaches and ideally located, Sedgefield offers more than a wide range of outdoor activities. The natural beauty and peaceful pace of the area has attracted many talented artists over the years as well as inspired them to create great works.
Sedgefield Tourism gladly recommends the flowing activities:
Sedgefield is renowned for the award winning Wild Oats Community Farmers`Market every Saturday, so why not start your day, with the farmers and local product owners and experience the vibe & the unique people. Get the best breakfast in town while you catch up on the local gossip.
Sedgefield offers a wide and diverse range of arts and crafts, come and take a stroll through Scarab Village – here you will not only find the widest choice of wares, but very often the best value. You will definitely take home the perfect gift!
Home of the famous “Brenton Blue” butterfly, Brenton on Sea nestles between the Indian Ocean and the hills of Knysna’s 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.
The earliest maps call the area Noetziekamma (Khoi-san 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!