Noetzie Beach - Aki von Glasow

Rocks balancing in perfect harmony with gravity. Castles overlooking the beach and the Indian Ocean. The scenery defies time. It sounds like a Harry Potter movie but is in fact one of the most beautiful locations in Knysna – Noetzie.

Noetzie is North of the Knysna Estuary, beside a river mouth and the Sinclair Nature Reserve. The Noetzie Beach, bordered by forest on one side and fynbos on the other, is ranked as one of South Africa’s greatest.  They are named after the Khoisan word meaning “dark water” as tannins from the forest drain into the river.

1932 found Herbert Henderson building a castle. And another in 1942. He inspired others to do the same; the Lindsays in the Sixties and his son in the Seventies. Two of these castles were restored by the Pezula Group.

The conservancy is a 10 hectare safe haven for flora, bushbuck, otters and an incredible number of bird species. The sea is beloved by bottle-nosed dolphins and serves as a passage for whales between their Antarctic restaurant and Mozambican birthing area.

www.noetzie.co.za

Noetzie beach

There is a long history of holidaymaking here. In the 1900s, ox wagons would deliver locals via a steep track to paradise. Cottages were soon erected (moved from the mining area of Millwood) but it was in 1932 that Herbert Henderson’s castle made the renowned landmark and the initiated a medieval trend. Using local stone, it wasn’t his initial intention to build a castle but by 1942 he’d built another. It inspired his son to build Montrose in the Seventies and, before that, in the Sixties, the Lindsays built Perekuil. Two were restored by the up-market, Pezula Group. The result is that modern day Noetzie defies time, suggesting a rich, reachable history.

Considering the well-known history of apartheid, it’s fascinating and encouraging that Noetzie remained open to all. For many of the coloured community it wasn’t just for relaxation but for their fisherman’s blood too.

There is even rumour of a ghost ship. In 1881, John Benn (from the famous, Knysna, harbour pilot family) found a 3-masted schooner at the river mouth. It was filled with cargo yet not one of the crew were to be found. With the captain’s log missing too, what happened remains a mystery.

Residents, wanting to preserve Noetzie’s natural treasures, successfully applied for it to became a conservancy in 1999. 10 hectares ensure a safe haven for the flora, bushbuck, otters and many species of bird. Noetzie Beach was voted the third best beach in South Africa via a national public poll on GoTravel24.com. Golden sands and surf thundering into the rocks awaits you. Bottle-nosed dolphins frolic whilst whales go to and fro between their Antarctic feeding grounds and Mozambican breeding home.

So is there anything to do besides relax? Of course! For birdwatchers it’s a dream, from the call of Oystercatchers to the Knysna Loerie and hundreds of others. Have a swim in the lagoon or a forest hike. You can even catch a round of golf next door at Sparrebosch.

Castles by the beach sounds like a fairytale, more so if you add Africa as the location. But that is the wonder to appreciate at Noetzie which lies just north of the town of Knysna, in a bay at a river mouth on the border of the Sinclair Nature Reserve. The Noetzie Beach is clean and secluded, bordered by forest on one side and fynbos on the other. The river is its namesake, darkened by tannins draining from the forest and thus dubbed with the Khoisan word meaning “dark water”.

 

There is a long history of holidaymaking here. In the 1900s, ox wagons would deliver locals via a steep track to paradise. Cottages were soon erected (moved from the mining area of Millwood) but it was in 1932 that Herbert Henderson’s castle made the renowned landmark and the initiated a medieval trend. Using local stone, it wasn’t his initial intention to build a castle but by 1942 he’d built another. It inspired his son to build Montrose in the Seventies and, before that, in the Sixties, the Lindsays built Perekuil. Two were restored by the up-market, Pezula Group. The result is that modern day Noetzie defies time, suggesting a rich, reachable history.

 

Considering the well-known history of apartheid, it’s fascinating and encouraging that Noetzie remained open to all. For many of the coloured community it wasn’t just for relaxation but for their fisherman’s blood too.

 

There is even rumour of a ghost ship. In 1881, John Benn (from the famous, Knysna, harbour pilot family) found a 3-masted schooner at the river mouth. It was filled with cargo yet not one of the crew were to be found. With the captain’s log missing too, what happened remains a mystery.

 

Residents, wanting to preserve Noetzie’s natural treasures, successfully applied for it to became a conservancy in 1999. 10 hectares ensure a safe haven for the flora, bushbuck, otters and many species of bird. Noetzie Beach was voted the third best beach in South Africa via a national public poll on GoTravel24.com. Golden sands and surf thundering into the rocks awaits you. Bottle-nosed dolphins frolic whilst whales go to and fro between their Antarctic feeding grounds and Mozambican breeding home.

 

So is there anything to do besides relax? Of course! For birdwatchers it’s a dream, from the call of Oystercatchers to the Knysna Loerie and hundreds of others. Have a swim in the lagoon or a forest hike. You can even catch a round of golf next door at Sparrebosch.