Belvidere, Garden Route

Real estate agents describe Belvidere as a suburb of Knysna. In reality it is something of a quintessential English village on the west shores of the Knysna lagoon; a far cry from the modern Thesen Island that lies on the opposite bank.

The hamlet of Belvidere centres around the quaint Holy Trinity Church built by Thomas Duthie who settled on his farm Belvidere during his retirement in the mid 1800s.

The incredibly pretty church is modelled on the Norman churches of the 11th and 12th centuries, built from local sandstone and timber, and consecrated in 1855 for Duthie's wife, Caroline. It has but five rows of pews to each side, a little nave, and still holds weekly services.

Across from the church is the village green, where Boxing Day cricket is a tradition.

Belvidere owes its continued English character to a number of people over the years who have done their utmost to retain the historical integrity of the little enclave. Architectural guidelines have never been formalised, despite attempts during the 1970s, but a carefully planned and implemented private 'historically true' estate has meant that Belvidere has retained its natural areas, historical avenue, Belvidere Manor (the original house of Thomas Duthie), and important trees.

The development also introduced cul de sacs for an intimate village atmosphere, and narrow gravel roads to prevent a build-up of traffic. A ring road, rather than a single main road through the village, reduces the amount of traffic to the area.

To get there turn left as you cross the bridge over the Knysna River. Belvidere is immediately to your left. Continue along the same road to reach the seaside village of Brenton-on-Sea.

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