Featherbed Nature Reserve, Garden Route
A Natural Heritage site, the Featherbed Nature Reserve in Knysna is an utterly unique privately owned reserve that lies on the Western Head of the famous landmarks known as 'The heads' in Knysna, accessible only by ferry.
Many people make a day of it, catching the ferry across the lagoon, going on a drive or walk through the reserve followed by a picnic under milkwood trees, in the hopes of sighting the beautiful green, but rather elusive, Knysna Loerie. This and the other popular Garden Route icon, the blue duiker - one of the smallest and most endangered of the antelope species, which is not only found on the Featherbed reserve but is also part of a breeding programme here.
The Knysna Heads are two enormous sandstone cliffs that stand like sentries on either side of the entrance to the Knysna Lagoon from the sea. They're a famous landmark and locals speak about them as 'the Heads'. The Featherbed Nature Reserve's main function is to protect the natural beauty of what remains of the indigenous beauty of Knysna. The number of visitors are restricted and visits are only allowed if you are with one of the reserve's guides. The walk through the milkwood forests onto the sheer sandsone cliffs and into sea caves, known as 'beachcomber caves' that used to be the stamping ground of the Khoi Khoi is one of the highlights.
The Featherbed Nature Reserve was 25 years old in 2008. The good news is that despite the fact that it was recently sold by well-known television teacher William Smith, the new owner was carefully selected and intends maintaining the reserve as is.
Additional Reading: If you are considering a visit to the Garden Route then you may find this article helpful - "Visit to Featherbed Nature Reserve".
Did you know?
The new Garden Route National Park, established by SANParks and also known as GRNP, spans an impressive 121 000 hectares and includes the existing Wilderness and Tsitsikamma national parks, the Knysna Lakes area and roughly 52 000 hectares of newly proclaimed land.