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South Africa Safari

Belvidere Manor Hotel

Knysna, Garden Route, Western Cape, South Africa

The historic Belvidere Manor Hotel in Knysna was built in 1849
Return to Map of Knysna / Plettenberg Bay          © Belvidere Manor

View images of Belvidere Manor Hotel: Belvidere Images


Belvidere Manor Hotel overlooking the Knysna Lagoon on South Africa's Garden RouteIn these times it seems that Knysna is on everyone's lips - a place to visit, a place to move to, a place to drive through (a problem at Christmas), or a place to avoid. But still it seems that Knysna holds a special place in people's hearts, - memories of family holidays in year's gone by, festive afternoons spent at Tapas in the middle of the lagoon, or stolen weekends spent exploring forests and beaches and then huddling around roaring log fires in winter.

With its popularity has come the inevitable change and development, and today those memories of the quaint village are becoming foggy, as that little village has become a bustling town with its myriad of interesting shops, the Knysna Quays waterfront and a growing population.

But one corner of Knysna still retains it's olde worlde charm, beauty and serenity and that is Belvidere, on 10 acres of land on the western shore of Knysna's lagoon. And at the centre of Belvidere lies the old manor house, Belvidere House, built by the founder of Belvidere, Thomas Duthie, in 1849. This stately house has been lovingly restored, proclaimed a national monument, and is now the focus of Belvidere Manor Hotel, a gracious establishment which offers the traveller a relaxed and tranquil environment from which he may contemplate the more frenetic activity at the opposite end of the lagoon.

The Manor House now houses the reception rooms of the hotel. Two elegant dining-rooms are situated in the front of the house, and meals are also served on the verandah when the weather allows. Enjoying the fine cuisine on a summer's evening, whilst watching the moon rise over the lagoon is surely one of the most romantic settings in the country. In times gone by, the small drawing-room on the north side of the house was used as the Post Office for the area, and a copy of a letter with a Belvidere postal stamp may be seen in the entrance hall.

A favourite meeting place for the locals living in Belvidere is The Bell Tavern, a quaint pub housed in the recently restored original farmhouse. A feature is the wine cellar which can be viewed through a glass panel in the floor, and which was the original cellar in which the game shot locally was stored by the family. The Duthie family lived in the small farmhouse from 1835 when the estate was founded, but the small cottage became a tight squeeze with 12 children, and Mr. Duthie built "New House" and moved in November 1849 - a 150th anniversary which was celebrated recently.

Belvidere Manor Hotel is popular with international and local travellers alike, not only for its relaxed and tranquil atmosphere, but for its feeling of home away from home. Guests enjoy the privacy of having their own cottage, but with the advantages of excellent service and superb cuisine. Amenities such as the sparkling swimming-pool, tennis courts and boat trips on the lagoon may add to the fun, but a quiet corner to read a book or a cosy log fire and a glass of wine at the end of the day is often all that is required.

When the need comes to enter civilisation again, it is but a short drive to Knysna's many attractions, arguably the best beaches in the world, and some of the most beautiful forests in the country - all of which need no further explanation.

Accommodations            For images of Belvidere Manor Hotel, click Belvidere Images
The accommodation at Belvidere Manor is in self-contained rural Cape style cottages situated in park-like gardens overlooking the lagoon. A boardwalk takes one down onto a jetty where boats are moored, and boys fish.

The accommodation at Belvidere Manor consists of 30 cottages, some of which have a view of the Knysna lagoon and some of which have a view of the gardens. Each cottage is tastefully decorated with comfortable sofas and log fireplaces, and other fine furniture reflecting the indigenous woods of the area. The cottages includes a living-room opening onto a wide veranda with views across the gardens and the water, a fully fitted kitchen, a choice of one, two or three bedrooms, with bathrooms en suite, television with satellite channels, and overhead fans. They are fully serviced. A number of the cottages are double storey, the main bedroom being situated upstairs with its own balcony offering further magnificent views.

Garden Classic
Situated in the grounds above the Manor House, a single storey, 2 or 3 bedroomed cottage.
• 1x 2x twin-bedded rooms
• 2x 1x Queen size bed, 1x twin-bedded rooms
• 1x 1x King-size bed, 1x twin-bedded rooms
• 1x 2x King-size bed, 2x twin-bedded rooms

Garden Deluxe
Situated in the grounds above the Manor House, a double storey cottage offering the main suite upstairs and the second suite with twin beds downstairs.
• 4x Queen + twin beds
• 3x King + twin beds

Garden Superior
Situated in the grounds above the Manor House, single or double storey, double suite cottage with an additional sundeck.
• 1x Single storey King + twins + twins (2 bathrooms en-suite)
• 1x Double storey King + twins + twins
• 1x Double storey King + twins + single

Lagoon Classic
Situated in the grounds below the Manor House, a single storey, single suite cottage
• 6x Twin bedded rooms
• 1x King

Lagoon Deluxe
Situated in the grounds below the Manor, a single storey, double suite cottage
• 4x King + twins
• 3x Queen + twins

Loerie Cottage
Situated in the grounds below the Manor House, a secluded single storey, double suite cottage
• 1x King + twins

It is the policy of Belvidere Manor not to accept any children under the age of 10 years.

Relax alongside the pristine swimming pool; order a picnic to take to the beach or into the Knysna forest. Treat yourself to tea and scones in the gazebo overlooking the ever-changing colours of the lagoon.

Knysna is fast becoming a very popular wedding and honeymoon destination and where could you find a more romantic setting for a wedding, than right on the edge of the Knysna Lagoon. Wedding packages are tailor-made to suit the client.

Belvidere Manor provides full conference facilities for up to 25 delegates.

Breakfast is served on the verandah of Belvidere House. Light lunches are available throughout the day, on the verandah and from The Bell Tavern, which is housed in the original farmhouse. Belvidere House Restaurant offers a gourmet a-la-carte menu each evening accompanied by fine Cape wines.

The Restaurant at Belvidere Manor
You are invited to the Restaurant at Belvidere Manor where an à la carte menu is served each evening. Guests are seated either in the dining-rooms in the House, or outside on the verandah when weather permits. With the hue of polished yellowwood, and gentle candlelight the food permeate the senses.

On the Garden Route excellent natural produce is sourced, such as locally produced cheeses, ostrich meat and Karoo lamb. Knysna is justifiably famous for its oysters, both cultivated and wild, and Calitzdorp claims to be the Port capital of South Africa. A selection of dishes is on offer, which will give you a taste of the local produce.

The Bell Tavern
Knysna's smallest pub is housed on the site of the original Belvidere farmhouse, and indeed a feature of the pub is the wine cellar viewed through the window in the floor, where freshly caught game would have been hung. With a yellowwood ceiling and ironwood block floor, The Bell is a quaint favourite of the Belvidere locals.

Relish pub meals served outside in the garden in summer, but in the winter enjoy the cozy warmth of the wood-burning stove. A wide selection of beers, wines & spirits are available.

Golf Courses in our Area:
Sparrebosch (Knysna)
Knysna Golf Club: (Knysna)
Plettenberg Bay Golf Club
Goosevalley: (Plettenberg Bay)
George Golf Club
Mosselbay Golf Club
Oudtshoorn Golf Club

Nearby Attractions
George and Plettenberg Bay airports are less than 50km away, and helicopter-landing facilities are available on the estate. Cape Town is 500 km away and Port Elizabeth, only 290 kms.

Enjoy the view
• The ultimate view - Take a Helicopter trip to Plettenberg Bay, or Wilderness or all the way to Storms River. Details from Reception.
• Take a drive up to the Eastern Heads View Point for a panoramic view of the town, the lagoon and the Ocean. Or take the road to Brenton-on-Sea and see Belvidere and the coast from the ridge.
• Go on a Lagoon Cruise - Take a relaxing cruise on "Caroline", Belvidere's boat and view the prolific birdlife upriver, towards Old Drift. Refreshments are available on board and bookings may be made at Reception.
• A number of larger ferry trips on the lagoon are available daily, weather permitting. Most trips take approximately one and a half hours.
• Take a scenic drive on Knysna's country roads and enjoy a spectacular ramble along the Outeniqua Mountain ridge through forest and farmland, over old stone bridges and across mountain rivers. Maps available from Reception.
• Visit the Featherbed Nature Reserve. A ferry ride across the lagoon (daily at 10h00 but other times are offered) brings you to the Featherbed Nature Reserve where a 4x4-drawn trailer takes you to the top of the Western Head. You may then choose to walk back to the landing point along the breathtakingly beautiful Bushbuck trail (an easy 2.2 km walk) or stay on the trailer. Refreshments are available at the restaurant. The tour lasts approximately four hours.
• Take a ride on the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe - the Garden Route's very own steam train that operates every day except Sunday. The morning train leaves Knysna station at 09h45, arrives in George at 12h30 and leaves again at 13h00 for the return journey that ends at 15h35. The afternoon train is only a one-way trip and leaves Knysna at 14h15. Any one of the shuttle services listed below will assist you with your return journey.

Take to the water
• Enjoy the Knysna Lagoon - swimming, boating, canoeing, fishing, scuba diving and snorkelling are just some of your options.
• Go Whale and Dolphin Watching. Prolific sightings between the months of July and November, but species of these mammals can be seen the year round. Contact Reception for the daily report from the MTN Whale Watch, or contact the Centre for Dolphin Studies in Plettenberg Bay.
• Explore the Knysna Quays, a waterfront development, which boasts fine vintage wine, fresh seafood, including Knysna oysters, curios and much, much more. Shop, eat or simply sit on the quayside and watch the boats rocking on the tide.
• Soak up the sun on any one of our beautiful beaches - Brenton, Buffalo Bay, Bollard Bay and Noetzie offer soft sand and lazy days.

Head for the Forest
• The Knysna Forest can be enjoyed on foot, on horseback, by bicycle or by car. A map of the forest area is available from reception which shows all the roads, routes and walks you can explore. The walks range from easy to difficult and from short (1km), to long (9 km), so that you can choose which one suits you best. The route in the Garden of Eden is wheelchair friendly.

Go back in time
• Visit the Holy Trinity Church in Belvidere - a beautiful example of 12th Century Norman architecture. Belvidere's founder, Thomas Duthie is buried in the churchyard.
• Visit The Old Fort, the most southerly fort built during the Anglo Boer War 1899-1902, and enjoy the breathtaking view.
• Built to house convicts, the Old Goal Complex is now home to the Knysna Art Gallery and the Maritime Museum and offers a number of interesting ways to delight the heart, the tummy and the eye.
• Visit the actual Millwood Goldmines deep in the heart of the forest, where you can see the mine shafts and old mining equipment.
• At Millwood House Museum unique old photographs of Millwood in bygone days and scenes of old Knysna bring history to life.
• The original St. George's Church completed in 1855, features exposed hammer trusses, a timbered ceiling and lovely wide yellowwood floorboards.
• Or simply opt for one of the Historic Walking Tours around the town which will introduce you to a collection of the quaint and historic buildings that give Knysna its unique appeal.

Catch a glimpse of Africa
• Visit the three tame elephants at the Knysna Elephant Park. The park, which lies 25km from Knysna on the Plettenberg Bay road, is open every day from 08h30 to 16h30.
• Go bird-watching at Pledge Nature Reserve or Goukamma Nature Reserve at Buffalo Bay.
• Catch a glimpse of the famous Knysna Sea Horse at the NSRI Aquarium on the road to the Eastern Heads. Open every day from 09h00 to 16h00.
• Visit Monkeyland, a sanctuary devoted to monkeys of all kinds. Wear comfortable walking shoes as much of your visit is spent moving through the large forest-filled enclosures. Open every day from 08h00 to 18h00.

Explore the arts
• If you are an Arts and Crafts enthusiast, you will find much to delight the eye in the fine range of local, national and international art on offer. From creative offerings at the flea market to exquisitely crafted sculptures and spectacular paintings, Knysna has it all and more. An Arts & Crafts Map is available from Knysna Tourism Bureau.

Eat, Drink and be merry
• Apart from the Belvidere House Restaurant and The Bell Tavern, you can wine and dine your way through a formidable array of fine restaurants, seafood taverns, pubs, coffee shops and eateries. Ask at Reception for recommendations.
• Almost every evening there is some form of music and live entertainment - so boogie your way down town.
• For a truly African Experience visit Knysna's vibrant township and discover real African hospitality. Guided tours take you into the township where you can meet a sangoma, taste local food and move to the rhythm of the Africa beat.
• Visit the Knysna Oyster Farm and get a taste of the delectable Knysna Oyster, freshly harvested from the lagoon. Open every day from 08h30 to 16h30.
• Go to the Cinema. Check with Reception for the week's programme.

Take a walk on the wild side
• For the truly adventurous there's canoeing, abseiling, hiking, biking, fishing, diving, bungi jumping, creeking, paragliding, low level flying, etc., all tailor-made for the adrenalin junkie.

Top           Return to Map of Knysna / Plettenberg Bay          Return to Map of Garden Route

Tour the Cape: Cape Town Tours             Weather: Cape Town Weather

For tourist information and activities in the Garden Route, click More Garden Route
For tourist information and activities in the Western Cape, click More Western Cape
For further information about South Africa, click More South Africa

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