Perched high up overlooking the crescent curve of Buffalo Bay, Brenton-on-Sea boasts exquisite views and a seemingly never ending beach. Whether you feel like sunbathing, swimming, hiking or just staring out across the big blue – a visit to Brenton is a must.
Just 12km west of Knysna this quaint seaside village is a popular holiday destination and during the summer months its shoreline is humming with sun- and surf-seeking revellers. It is named after Sir Jahleel Brenton, the esteemed officer of the British Royal Navy who declared Knysna a harbour in 1818.
The views of the bay, the long stretch of white sandy beach and listening to the thunderous roar of crashing waves on Castle Rock ...
- Going for a walk on the beach
- Visiting the Brenton Blue Butterfly Reserve
- Hiking the Fisherman’s walk (or a section of it)
- Watch the sunset over the bay
- A visit to Brenton-on-Lake – situated on the Knysna lagoon. Turn left half way up the hill towards Brenton-on-Sea and follow the road down towards the estuary. A haven for water sport enthusiasts, whether it is fishing, skiing, leisure boat roads, paddling or swimming.
Things to do
Go for a walk on the beach
Brenton-on-Sea has a 5km stretch of uninterrupted beach, which links directly to the popular swimming and surfing beach of Buffalo Bay.
Visiting the Brenton Blue Butterflies
Brenton was put on the conservation map due to its most delicate and endangered resident, the Brenton Blue Butterfly. A large tract of land in the area was proclaimed in 2003 as a Brenton Blue Butterfly Reserve, to preserve the natural habitat of the last known breeding colonies of this endemic butterfly.
Watch the waves as they dance around Castle Rock
Other than the beach area, the rest of its coastline is strewn with sandstone rocks, occasionally punctuated by small secluded beaches. The most prominent natural sandstone feature is Castle Rock, a favourite subject for local photographers at sunset.
Hiking the Fisherman’s Walk
If you really want to tap into the true essence of Brenton, then we suggest you do Fisherman’s Walk, or part thereof. This gorgeous hiking trail briefly skirts the cliffs before descending to the shoreline. From these elevated vantage points you can often see dolphins swimming in the surf (bottlenose dolphins and the Indian Ocean humpback dolphin love this bay). During winter, you will be the privileged spectator of one of the greatest marine mammal migrations on earth – that of the southern right and humpback whales.
The upper reaches of the trail are easy to navigate and a series of 18 benches have been strategically placed along the top portion of the trail for those who wish to sit and take in the incredible coastal vistas. The trail then leads down a set of 255 stairs and it is here where it gets a bit more challenging. There are some rather precarious sections which include boulder hopping and ledge walking, so not for the faint hearted.
Eat & drink
Brenton-on-beach is quite secluded and there are no supermarkets, so it is best to bring everything you need with you. There are three local eateries, Chef’s and Nautilus Place Restaurant, Indigo Deli and the Brenton Blu Restaurant, which has sweeping views of the bay.
- There is a designated area for swimming, but it is strongly recommended to only swim when the lifesavers are on duty, usually during the holidays and peak summer time. Not all areas are safe for swimming and it is best to check with the local information office before you venture into the water.
- Decide when to visit and what to pack with this info on seasonal weather in Brenton-on-Sea.
- Find all the area’s transport options with this guide on getting around.
- Check the tide when you explore coastal areas, low tide is generally safer and easier to navigate, especially if you are going for a walk on the beach.
- Keep in mind the weather in Knysna changes rapidly and you could unexpectedly be caught in rain or cold weather even in summer. Have sufficient water and sunblock with you and a warm jacket.