KNYSNA BUSINESS NEWS - One of the first items on my bucket list when I first moved to Knysna two years ago was to visit the Featherbed Nature Reserve, as I had heard of the amazing walk you could go on – their eco tour – and the unforgettable views it offers.
To my utter disappointment though, the June fires of 2017 razed much of the reserve and I thought my list of must-sees would just have to suffice with an empty slot – between paragliding in Sedgefield and getting to spot one of Knysna's elusive elephants.
But lo and behold, Featherbed would bounce back, and just in time for the festive season this year – their grand new reopening of their eco-tour finally gave me the chance to tick that box on my bucket list.
The company Featherbed Co has been rebuilding the infrastructure of the tourist facilities and rehabilitating the reserve like their lives depended on it, and what they have created – especially on the 2.2km walk through coastal forest fynbos – blew my mind away.
I had heard the views before the fire were spectacular, but one positive thing that could be taken from the blaze is the fact that the current views have opened up a whole new world, so to speak. According to one of my intrepid guides, these views haven't been seen in many a decade.
They include almost uninterrupted, panoramic views of the famous Knysna Heads – which apparently bore witness to many a shipwreck back in the day; Thesen Island and Leisure Isle, with the latter, according to the very informative guide André Ackerman, having been completely separate from the Knysna municipal area in former years; and vistas of Coney Glen and the rocky coastline it connects to as far as the eye can see.
What's that famous television commercial line? "But wait, there's more!"
Return ferry trip to boot
Not only is the Featherbed Eco-Tour a wondrous journey of splendid views, hidden rock pools and formations, and an insight into indigenous flora and fauna, but it includes a return ferry trip on the Knysna Estuary with fun, history lessons to boot, served up with some of André's dry humour; a 4x4 Unimog vehicle and trailor drive up to the headland of the reserve; and a tasty buffet lunch under a canopy of milkwood trees at their outdoor restaurant afterwards to replenish the body.
After losing almost every aspect that drew visitors to the Featherbed Nature Reserve to the fires, the team has truly banded together and now offers an even more magical experience to locals and tourists. Guests, including members of Knysna's tourism industry, called the experience "phenomenal", "wonderful", and wondered to themselves why they had not paid a visit to the reserve years before.
Don't miss out on one of Knysna's most spectacular offerings – get up, get going, and visit Featherbed tomorrow! I've already added it to my bucket list to visit Featherbed a second time.
'We bring you the latest Garden Route, Karoo, Hessequa news'