Karatara & Barrington

Here you can discover Dalene Matthee’s world of the magical forests of Knysna. Explore the lush, sun dappled cycling and hiking trails, drive through wide, open countryside and awe-inspiring mountain passes.

Living in a holiday destination, we have all the advantages of mountains by the seaside, fynbos next to forests and lakes and rivers in all their glory. Lesley-Ann Hoets, potter

Don’t miss

  • The Karatara Pass is part of the famous Seven Passes Road, a must-do self-drive route in Knysna.
  • The Garden Route Trail Park offers exciting, fun and challenging running trails and single track mountain biking trails.
  • The annual Karatara church bazaar is held towards the end of October – don’t miss it!
  • Visit Trees South Africa in Barrington, just east of Karatara. A wholesale nursery, the company has been cultivating container grown mature trees since the 80’s ranging from 2.5 to 15m.

Things to do

Get on your bike

The Garden Route Trail Park has over 20km of hand built single tracks perfect for every level of rider, looking for every level of excitement from easy fun to adrenaline fuelled exhilaration. Runners have free reign of flowing forest trails that take them to the upper reaches of the Karatara River, with its rock pools, waterfalls and boulders.

Garden Route Trail Park

Alternatively, park your car at the church and explore the settlement or the nearby sections of the Seven Passes Road on your bike.

Take a shortcut through the Seven Passes Road

One of the most impressive self-drive routes in South Africa, the Seven Passes Road takes you through breathtakingly beautiful forests and farmlands, crossing rivers, streams and gorges along the way. Meandering from Knysna to George, driving the full route will take some time. Karatara is, however, situated at the end of the Karatara Pass (one of the famous seven), and within easy reach of the N2 national highway. This makes a loop from Knysna to Karatara, or Karatara to George an easy, shorter section of this magnificent route, and gives you more time to explore the rest of the greater Knysna area.

Seven Passes Road

Visit a Raku studio

‘Raku’ is a Japanese technique of firing ceramics that creates a reaction in the copper of glazes. This creates a sense of ‘fire magic’ and crackles within the glaze. The process also causes unglazed areas to fire black. High above the Karatara River, visit Hot Art to view this fascinating firing process and meet internationally acclaimed ceramic artist, Lesley-Ann Hoets. Hot Art also manufactures ceramic fireplaces. Be sure to visit their website to make an appointment.

Some history

The burgeoning timber industry saw many woodcutters and their families making their homes within the Knysna Forest. In 1939, new laws prohibiting the unregulated harvesting of the indigenous forests left these hardworking people out of work and, effectively, homeless. The woodcutter families were relocated to the settlement of Karatara, founded on this plateau in 1941. Set out in a grid, the 40’s style houses now reflect their occupants’ colourful personalities. The area also has a number of churches, a superette, a primary school and a tertiary education facility.

Useful tips

  • The area has many routes to explore – make sure that you fuel up your car.
  • The roads are suitable for most cars, but you’re sure to end up on a dirt road or two. Check the state of the roads at the Visitor Info Centres before starting your adventure.
  • There is a superette in Karatara, but it is always a good idea to pack snacks and drinking water.
  • Be sure that your device is charged and ready to take lots of photos.