You don’t have to be a recognised aficionado on ‘Semigration’ to recognise that Knysna and Plett have become the new buzz words in the boardrooms and living rooms of corporate and not so corporate South Africa. City life has become challenging to say the least and isn’t for everyone.
For those who are hankering for the life of yester year, where quality time spent with family and friends in an environment filled with natural beauty is a lifestyle choice, then pack your bags and join us in The Garden Route. Or if you’ve simply decided to chuck it all in and become a coastal executive (beach bum) you too are welcome (just don’t wear those silly strappy sandal things please).
Having to choose between Knysna and Plett is akin to choosing between a slab of Lindt Dark chocolate strewn with delicious crunchy bits of your choice and the biggest box of Ferrero Rocher chocolate that money can buy. Both tantalisingly tempting and completely sensible, yet undeniably, a matter of personal taste. Whichever destination you settle on, you are guaranteed to be more than satisfied.
Knysna is rumoured to have its roots steeped in royalty. Its history began in 1804, the year that saw the arrival of George Rex, the illegitimate son of King George lll, according to those in the know. He purchased the estate known as Melkhoutkraal on the shores of the lagoon and moved his entire family and considerable entourage down to Knysna to settle. As a town it’s always had an air of mystery and has captivated the imagination of many an artist and free thinking entrepreneur. Knysna is virtually synonymous with oysters and the Knysna Lagoon is one of the few places along the coast, in the world for that matter, which supports an oyster hatchery. And of course no visit to Knysna is complete without visiting The Heads, two great sandstone cliffs guarding the mouth of the lagoon which connects the estuary with the sea. This has to be one of the most ruggedly beautiful places on earth.
Right, History and Geography and possibly Biology covered, let’s move on to ‘Funology’. The Knysna Oyster Festival, the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival, the Literary Festival, the Rastafarian Earth Festival, the Knysna Wine Festival, the Knysna Cycle Tour…the list goes on and on. Suffice it to say that this is no sleepy hollow. There are so many different aspects to life in Knysna and the broad appeal is guaranteed to please even the toughest customer. If you are a culture buff then you really will enjoy Knysna with its rich heritage and colourful community.
Now to all the ‘Greenies’ out there. Knysna is no slouch when it comes to preserving the beauty and wonder of nature and its incredible resources. In fact, Knysna has been awarded the coveted Hope Spot. The Knysna Hope Spot became the world’s first estuarine Hope Spot when Mission Blue’s Dr Sylvia Earle launched it in 2014. It includes two separate estuaries: the Knysna Estuary, and the Goukamma Lagoon. Hope Spots, by the by, are all about the relationship between people and the marine environment and in Knysna this relationship is flourishing.
Did someone say outdoor sports? Calling all golfers, swimmers, cyclists, runners, water sport enthusiasts, committed adrenaline junkies and the like. Knysna is the proverbial ‘lucky packet’ for all sports fans! Every year in the June/July school holidays, thousands of runners, cyclists, swimmers and paddlers flock to her beautiful shores to test their mettle. No half measures here folks, that’s for sure. The competition is stiff, the rewards are great and the carbo loading substantial.
Golfers, you are in for a real treat. Knysna is home to a few of the most prestigious and picturesque golf courses in the country. If ever there was a good reason to relocate then this has to be the ‘hole in one’ of reasons. With too many prestigious tournaments to mention, there’s no shortage of opportunities to prove yourself as the alpha male in the group. There are therefore plenty of excellent reasons for choosing Knysna as your final destination. With such natural beauty and fun about, this one’s a no brainer.
If you are part of Generation X or on the peripherals thereof, then you’ve possibly been visiting Plett on your annual holiday for a good few decades now. Who knows, you could possibly have become acquainted with the ‘Jewel of the Garden Route’ as a raging matric student. There’s no doubt that when it comes to holiday destinations, Plett is the ‘Cool Kid’ on the block. What’s the bet that Bartolomeu Dias, after seeing Plett for the first time in 1448 and calling it “Bay of the Lagoons”, was rather miffed when he had to leave her beautiful shore to go back home again? In 1576, Manuel da Mesquita Perestrello, another intrepid Portuguese seafarer, renamed it Bahia Formosa, or “Bay Beautiful”. Between 1630 and 1777, various explorers came upon Plett’s shores, all of them reticent to leave. It was in 1778 however that Baron Joachim van Plettenberg, who was Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, arrived here via the Langkloof and named the region after himself. And everyone’s been trying to get a piece of the Plett action ever since. Young and old, local and international, none can deny the sheer beauty and magnetism she exudes with her vast, golden beaches, glorious forests and picturesque wine lands. There’s no end to what Plett offers not only the visitor but those who have chosen to lay down their roots on her beautiful shores.
Whether your passion is surfing, body boarding, walking or skydiving from a plane onto the soft clean sand, the beaches of Plett are an inexhaustible source of beauty, fun and relaxation. They have always been a very big attraction to both local and international holiday makers and season time is a jolly affair with beach umbrellas as far as the eye can see. Along with Knysna, Plett has also been awarded the coveted Hope Spot status and as such is very involved with all things wet and fishy. The local community is very proud of their environment and their great love for the ocean is visible in the care taken to protect and enhance her natural treasures and beauty. Plett has also recently received the TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Award as a preferred destination.
If you are a grape connoisseur, fermented that is, then Plett is your quintessential ‘grape escape’. Boutique vineyards are sprouting all over and many a success story has hit the national and international headlines of late with local Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Bubbly scooping up several gold and silver medals at various local and international award ceremonies.
With 18 new wine farms in the Plett area, it has been aptly named a ‘Wine of Origin’ region. This mild climate is conducive to enjoying outdoor activities whilst partaking of these tasty tipples. Cycle and hiking tours through the vineyards are a marvellous way of meeting up with the gurus of grape and capitalising on the hospitality of these fine wine makers. The yearly Sasfin Plett Wine & Bubbly Festival has become a great success and locals and visitors alike enjoy learning more about and tasting the various wines on offer.
Looking for a place to pop champers corks and rub elbows with the polo elite (the elegant arrow in that quiver)? Again, Plett does not disappoint. The Kurland International Polo Test held on the Estate for many years is regarded as one of the top ten polo matches in the world.
The polo season in Plett spans from December to April and attracts an ever increasing number of international patrons, top professionals and polo enthusiasts from around the world. There are many polo tournaments held in Plett over the polo season and these are considered must-do’s for seasoned holiday makers and jet-setters from around the world.
So it’s settled then. Be it Knysna or be it Plett, if you are looking to settle down in a beautiful, vibrant and fun filled, community based town, you will do well in choosing either of these two incredible destinations. We look forward to getting to know you better and welcoming you heartily at our next get together.