The short history of Noetzie
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 fish abundantly, 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 near future.
First ex- Millwood Cottages brought down by ox wagon in early1900s. The names of some of the holiday cottages were 'Yellow Cottage', 'Helenside' and Lagoona. A few of them were owned by Oudtshoorn families like the Norths- owners of the Imperial Hotel in Oudtshoorn, and a Mr. Strydom. Other families at Noetzie were the Metelerkamps and the Stroebel family. 5th and 7th generations of the same Knysna and Oudshoorn families still holiday at Noetzie today.
Later on in the early thirties the first castles were built. The oldest castle, at the western end of the main beach, was built as a holiday house by Herbert Stephen Henderson, who lived in what was then Southern Rhodesia. He built it in 1932 out of the natural stone found at Noetzie. The story goes that he had no intention of building a "castle", but had simply used the local stone for practical reasons, when Rex Metelerkamp who was watching the building process, jokingly said to him: "All you need to do is to add a few turrets and you'll have a castle". And he did. That set the trend and he built Pezula on the hill in the late 1930s which was used in the 40s as a convalescent home for the RAF, and was later sold to Garfield Todd, Prime Minister of Rhodesia and bought back in the 60s after his banishment from SA. In 1942 he built what has become known simply as "The Castle". His son built Montrose in the 1970s and the Lindsays built Perekuil in the 1960s.
During the apartheid era Noetzie, unlike other public places, remained non racial and was enjoyed by all.
Aware of Noetzie's natural riches, residents applied to the authorities to have it declared a conservancy in order to protect and preserve it's natural bounty. In 1999, symbolically celebrated as the last year of the millennium, Noetzie officially became a conservancy.
In 2000 Keith Stewart's 'Fastpulse 72' bought 640 ha in and around Noetzie and began the process towards establishment of development of the remainder of Noetzie farm, now known as the Pezula Private Estate.
Noetzie Beach in Knysna has been voted 3rd best beach in South Africa in a national poll conducted by the popular travel website GoTravel24.com.
Cape Town’s Camps Bay was voted 2nd best and the well known Clifton Beach, also in Cape Town, came out tops. A total of 15 beaches were nominated, including Long Beach and Boulders Beach in Cape Town, North and South Beaches in Durban, and Robberg Beach in Plettenberg Bay.
Noetzie Beach is a pristine, secluded beach which lies in a hidden bay bordered by the lush forest of the Sinclair Nature Reserve on one side and the fynbos landscapes of Pezula Resort Estate on the other. It owes its seclusion to the fact that it is accessed along a gravel road from Knysna’s N2 and a steep climb from the parking area down a narrow path and a flight of stairs hewn into the cliff. It boasts a beautiful lagoon formed by the mouth of the Noetzie River which meanders through the Knysna forest.
The beach is famous for the Noetzie Castles built in the 1930s, two of which have been restored by the Pezula Group. It is a small beach with an expanse of golden sand protected on the north and south sides by rocky outcrops. From June to November whale sightings are common as the Southern Right and Humpback whales migrate into the coastal waters of the Western Cape to calve and nurse their young.
Noetzie Beach falls under the protection of CapeNature having been declared a conservancy in 1999.
Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa provides a shuttle to the beach for hotel guests who also have access to Montrose Castle and can order a gourmet picnic to enjoy on the beach.