Sweeping views of the water and mountains beyond, peaceful surroundings and a history to write home about makes Belvidere an interesting haven on the edge of the Knysna lagoon. It is a treasure trove for history buffs with its roots firmly established in two of Knysna’s historic families, the Rex’s and the Duthies.
Sheltered, tranquil and serene, where history meets beauty - this is Belvidere. Its tree-filled lanes are awash with flowers and the simple whitewashed architecture reflects that of the original farmhouse built in 1849. Kids ride their bikes and residents walk with their dogs, greeting neighbours as they go. It’s a lovely community!
In 1834 the farm named Belvidere was purchased by Thomas Henry Duthie from his father-in-law, George Rex, known as the “squire and proprietor of Knysna” who had acquired the land in 1830. Duthie had married Rex’s daughter Caroline in 1833 and they settled on the farm and built the iconic Belvidere Manor. The land remained in the Duthie family until the land was sold in 1985 to be developed. Belvidere House is a proclaimed National Monument and the centre of the Estate which has become an established and popular suburb of Knysna.
Belvidere is a great destination for many water sport activities. They are mindful of their “neighbours” in the Knysna lagoon, and there are certain areas around the Belvidere lagoon location which are restricted to non motorized water activity. One corner of Belvidere bay is a restricted area as it was identified as a breeding location for the famed Knysna sea horse.
- Visiting the Belvidere Holy Trinity Church which held its first service in 1853
- A visit to the historic Belvidere Manor for some refreshments and a scrumptious meal at The Bell Tavern
- The Boxing Day Cricket Match between Belvidere Estate and Old Belvidere residents on the green in Old Belvidere
How to get there
Belvidere is approximately 8km (west of) from the centre of Knysna, on the western shore of the Knysna Lagoon off the road to Brenton-on-Sea. Driving from Knysna take the Brenton-on-Sea turnoff on your right and continue until you get the Belvidere turn-off on your left, just before you go up the hill towards Margaret’s viewpoint.
Things to do
- The Rutherford Walk – stop at the jetty and follow “Rutherford Way”, a 4km trail from the jetty, in and out of mostly indigenous trees and shrubs, with intermittent snatches of views of Knysna across the lagoon.
- Bird watching – Belvidere is a bird haven and 172 species of birds have been identified in Belvidere and Westford Bridge. Walking through the estate you are bound to spot the iconic and colourful Knysna Turaco, a Chorister Robin or the secretive Knysna Warbler. Cape Sugarbirds and a variety of sunbirds take advantage of the well developed gardens. Watch the African Fish Eagle hunt from the shore or listen to the Fiery Necked Nightjar at night – it is a twitcher’s paradise! Find more info on other bird hotspots in the greater Knysna area here …
- Visit the trendy Oak Leaf Café & Deli. Their focus is on sustainability & ethically sourced products and hand selected produce are incorporated into their menu and Deli items. You can look forward to some delicious fare and they cater for “omnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike”. Find more information here.