There is a special magic on the "Platrand", by far the best kept secret in the Knysna treasure chest. Driving up there must be one of the most scenic routes in the Knysna indigenous forest, especially when you continue your journey to Diepwalle in a westerly direction and stop to have some refreshments at the Diepwalle Community Tea Garden.
About 15km from Knysna Town along the old Salt River road, up past Simola and off towards Gouna, lies an exciting new venue offering a wealth of history and potential activities for all the family. The historic cornerstone of the Gouna Farm is the San Ambroso Roman Catholic Church which was originally built by Reverend Rooney in 1891 for the Italian immigrants. The church was neglected but has recently been restored to its former glory by Rayno Sciocatti and Nickie Jute, with Rayno being a direct descendent of the Italian settlers. The official opening of the church was held on 13 December 2005. The church is now an historical church, with the first wedding service having recently been held. For that ultimate, special wedding day it is proving to be an exceptional venue. Inside the church is a museum (open daily) where the history of the Italian settlers in Knysna is displayed. Adjacent to the church is the rustic Gouna Forest Restaurant which offers a variety of meals made from all manner of fresh produce, all in which is a truly rustic and peaceful setting. Also situated at Gouna close to the church is the King's Nursery where a wide selection of indigenous plants is available at very reasonable prices. Near to completion is the animal touch farm where a wide range of animals, including goats, pot bellied pigs and deer, are just some of those to be found strutting around. Rayno and Nickie's main aim is to provide an educational background on the animals and on farming methods for children and parents alike. The animal touch farm is open daily with all fees being used for the upkeep of the farm and the animals themselves. For the energetic, horse trails through the beautiful Gouna Forest is available, allowing one to lose oneself in this beautiful and relaxed atmosphere with all levels of riding ability being catered for? For smaller children, pony and horse carriage rides offer some tamer alternatives. All these activities have already made the Gouna Forest Farm an ideal setting for children's birthday parties, where Nickie and Rayno strive to make every child's birthday a very special day full with lots of fun and laughter. So whether it's a wedding, a birthday party or other special occasion, or maybe just a trip to the animal touch farm to experience some good old family time spent amongst the riches of the forest, the Gouna Forest Farm has much to offer. Others benefiting directly from the farm are the local community both through the establishment of employment, as well as through Nickie and Rayno's efforts to establish a Gouna Aids Relief programme. Information courtesy of: Garden Route Investments
For more information please contact Rayno: 073 196 1911
DIEPWALLE TEA GARDEN
This is an upliftment programme on the Outeniqua hiking trail. They provide traditional cuisine and local treats that will have you order more and more. This is a hidden gem and a "not to miss" culinary experience. Please phone for bookings out of season to ensure that you get the best of the daily menu. They also provide daily "on request" lunches and dinners for the hiking fraternity.
For more information please contact:
Clara 044 382 9762/3 | Tammy 044 382 9810 or 072 235 4033