Formerly known as Noetziekamma, Khoisan for ‘dark water’, this historical spot has been popular among locals for around 3,500 years. The age-old Noetzie castles and connected beach are located just ten minutes east of Knysna’s buzzing town and provide a lovely day-trip option for visitors to the area.
A Brief History
The first-ever reference (currently known about) to the area was made by Dutch East India Company captain, Colonel Robert Jacob Gordon, on 04 March 1786. Colonel Gordon mapped a good portion of South Africa’s landscape and made reference to several 6-8 hour excursions on foot and horseback through local forests and down to the river mouth at Noetzie.
Following its discovery, residents of Knysna and Oudtshoorn made Noetzie a quaint retreat and travelled by horse and cart to enjoy a few weeks on the estuary. The area has since become more accessible thanks to tarred roads – no horse required!
As one would imagine, the biggest question surrounding the ‘castles’ has always been, who built the now famed Knysna Castle? Although some locals enjoy telling tall stories to visitors about their origins being tied to pirates, smugglers, or even use as a secluded Roman Outpost, the truth is they were built for the purpose of entertainment first and foremost.
At the end of the beach lies the oldest Noetzie castle, a holiday house started by Zimbabwean, Herbert Stephen, in 1930 and completed by his son years later in 1942. This Knysna castle is now owned by Pezula Private Castles and can be visited.
A Modern Marvel
Today, Noetzie is a peaceful paradise ideal for relaxing with a picnic, bird watching and taking a refreshing walk along the beach. If you fancy a bit more excitement, the pristine water is perfect for paddling, swimming, kayaking, and even fishing. Alternatively, you could spend time marvelling the magnificent castles set against and the vivid backdrop of lush vegetation.
When asking someone to describe Noetzie, people typically say something along the lines of ‘magical’ or that it’s like being removed from daily life and whisked away to paradise.
If you need a little more magic in your life, add the Knysna Castle to your list of places to go post-lockdown, and don’t forget to book your accommodation with us at The Turbine Hotel & Spa on Thesen Islands.
Image Credits: Pezula Private Castles, Buccara, Pinterest, Flight Network, Timbuktu Travel, Flight Network