We were all seated and excited to reach the Featherbed Nature Reserve which is situated on the Western Head in Knysna, the ferry was full and the guide was ready to unravel stories, mysteries and folklore.
As we slowly sailed across, Grant our specialist and knowledgeable guide started with introducing us to the history of the Knynsa lagoon and Knysna Heads. We found out, it was not really a lagoon but a true river estuary. The difference between a lagoon and an estuary is; a lagoon is cut off with a high sand bar. This was an estuary where the ocean flows freely through the infamous Heads with mainly salt water and only 14km upstream does it become fresh water.
The Featherbed was aptly named after sailors who would stop on their way in and enjoy lying on the vegetation and fynbos which felt like a featherbed to them.
We arrived at the newly upgraded Restaurant that marked the beginning of our 2.2km nature walk to witness the gift Knysna had received, an abundance of nature, Visit Knysna! This walk is optional. The towering restaurant and entrance looks out and sits tightly on her marked spot. She was burnt down and ripped in the devastating fires but now sits proudly with new timber lines and glass fronts protecting her from the wind.
We had time for a quick toilet stop before heading to the tractor for our trip to the top of the Reserve where spectacular viewpoints were waiting to show their beauty to us. This is when Aerial decided she was not coming with, the glass and wooden tables appealed to her earthy side and she got lost in her own world.
The rest of us were seated and the tractor slowly puffed up the steep hill with various stops to view the magnificent waters below and at the same time changing gears.
Some of the trees still had the scars of the fire but were now alive and growing well. The vegetation consists mainly of fynbos and various grasses, which were starting to reach the sun once more. Proteas and Sugar bush birds were again reunited to begin scattering seeds and growing nature’s garden.
At the top we got out of the tractor and started our descent to the restaurant, working an appetite for lunch at the same time. The walk was through breath taking nature, coastal forests, trees and fynbos while stopping to capture a butterfly on camera and listening to the birds as they cheered us on.
We continued down 150 steps to the sea caves as a detour (this was also optional). Caves open onto the sea offering photo opportunities to capture her beauty from within.
Finally our Guide gave us the call to go back up; some heard him while others were besotted with the sounds of the ocean. We finally scraped ourselves out from the caves and made our way back up, to continue the down walk, we still had 80 more steps till the finish line.
All along the paths were signs offering information on trees and shrubs in the Reserve. And then I found a burnt tree and reminded me of the sea-horses of Kynsna? What do you think? Do you see it?
We reached a parallel wooden pathway next to the lagoon and walked slowly as we had one eye on the path and the other eye scanning for photo opportunities.
It was low tide and we passed coffin bay named from the way the rocks were situated in a coffin shape.
Finally we reached a tunnel that offered more exhilarating views to capture. Individually planted geraniums were on one side and pelargoniums on the other, often mistaken for the true geranium. We brushed our hands through the plants to activate the fresh lemon scent.
When we finished our walk, Aerial was waiting on the steps to join us for lunch.
Our buffet lunch felt like an Awards evening as we finished our walk. Starters included salads and biltong pate.
The main meal catered for everyone’s taste and preference from fish to chicken and the softest lamb carvings, vegetables and sauces to compliment the main meal.
Dessert included ice cold round scoops of vanilla ice-cream with icy vapour escaping the bowl, delicious traditional milk tart and malva pudding with custard. Chocolate sauce to drip over and mini cheesecake portions to taste. The beers and wine flowed as we savoured each course. It was a lunch fit for a king.
We had enough time for lunch, as well as the smokers who needed to end with a puff before embarking again, as no smoking or vaping was allowed on the vessel. This trip was a wonderful way to uncover nature’s gift of Knysna and enjoy the views of the estuary at eye level. All that was left to do was have an afternoon nap to finish the day.
And on all my trips I am blessed to always find a heart in everything!!
Bookings can be made with Featherbed Co for this amazing Premier Eco-Experience on the Garden Route in Kynsna, be warned I took just over 700 photos! So if you into photography, nature or love walking, book at firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.knysnafeatherbed.com/experiences.html http://www.knysnafeatherbed.com
This article was not paid for by Knysna Featherbed.