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Featherbed Nature Reserve

Uncover the Garden Route’s gem: Featherbed Nature Reserve. Dive into lush forests, cliffs, guided tours, and serene picnic spots in this natural wonderland.

Featherbed Nature Reserve

Immerse Yourself in Nature’s Tapestry Along the Garden Route!

Nestled along the picturesque Garden Route of South Africa lies a hidden gem of unparalleled beauty: the Featherbed Nature Reserve. Encompassing a pristine stretch of land, this reserve offers visitors a rare opportunity to reconnect with nature in all its splendour.

Situated in the heart of Knysna, the Featherbed Nature Reserve is an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike. Accessible only by ferry, the journey to the reserve sets the tone for an unforgettable experience, as you glide across the tranquil waters of the Knysna Lagoon.

A Tapestry of Biodiversity

As you step into the reserve, you are greeted by a kaleidoscope of natural wonders. From lush forests teeming with endemic flora to rugged cliffs overlooking the azure expanse of the Indian Ocean, Featherbed Nature Reserve is a sanctuary for biodiversity.

Biodiversity in Featherbed Nature Reserve.

The Featherbed Nature Reserve hosts a breeding program for endangered species like the Knysna Loerie, Knysna Seahorse, and the rare Blue Duiker, a petite antelope standing about 30 cm tall. The iconic blue duiker is one of the smallest and most endangered antelope species. The name “Knysna” originates from the Khoi Khoi language, meaning “place of wood” or “fern leaves,” reflecting the area’s lush vegetation. The indigenous Outeniqua Khoi tribe once inhabited this region.

A walk through milkwood forests onto sandstone cliffs and into sea caves, once stomping grounds of the Khoi Khoi, is a highlight. Indigenous fynbos and coastal forests thrive here. The reserve boasts the Knysna Sands Fynbos, a critically endangered subset of the fynbos, with only about 1600 hectares surviving. Signs along the walk share traditional uses and medicinal values of plants. Keep an eye out for Southern Right whales, humpback whales, and dolphins in the sea below. Visitors may also glimpse the Black African Oystercatcher, a rare coastal bird.


Guided Tours

To fully appreciate the splendour of the reserve, guided tours are available, led by knowledgeable and experienced guides who share insights into the rich history and ecological significance of the area. Whether you choose to explore on foot or aboard a vehicle, each excursion promises awe-inspiring encounters with the wonders of nature.

Featherbed offers a 4-hour eco-experience featuring a return ferry ride on the Knysna Lagoon to the Western Head. Guests can also enjoy a 4×4 drive to the headland summit for breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean, Lagoon, and forested mountains.

A knowledgeable guide shares insights on history, flora, and fauna. Opt for a guided 2.2km walk through coastal forest and fynbos to ancient Khoi San sea caves. Conclude with a buffet lunch at the forest restaurant nestled under a canopy of Milkwood trees on a rustic wooden deck.

Guided Nature Reserve Tour.

Hiking Trails

For those seeking adventure on foot, Featherbed Nature Reserve offers a network of well-maintained hiking trails that wind through diverse landscapes. Traverse ancient forests, meander along scenic coastal paths, and ascend to breathtaking viewpoints that offer panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape.

The Knysna Heads

One of the most iconic features of the reserve is the Knysna Heads, a pair of towering sandstone cliffs that guard the entrance to the lagoon. Standing sentinel over the shimmering waters below, these majestic formations are a testament to the power and beauty of nature.

The Knysna Lagoon, technically an estuary, is fed by five rivers from the Outeniqua Mountains and meets the Indian Ocean at the imposing Knysna Heads. Cruise options include the unique John Benn paddle cruiser and Rivercat ferry, offering dining facilities for various events. The 75-minute cruise explores the lagoon, passes through the Knysna Heads, and visits landmarks like Otter Cove and Island Rock. Departures vary by season and are subject to weather conditions, departing from the Featherbed Ferry Terminus at Cruise Cafe Restaurant.

The Knysna Lagoon

Picnic Areas

For a leisurely interlude amidst nature’s embrace, the reserve boasts tranquil picnic areas where visitors can relax and savour a delicious meal while soaking in the serenity of their surroundings. Whether you opt for a gourmet picnic basket or choose to bring your own picnic basket, dining and taking a break amidst the beauty of Featherbed Nature Reserve is an experience to cherish.

Plan Your Visit

Featherbed Nature Reserve welcomes visitors year-round, offering a range of activities and experiences to suit every interest and inclination. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or simply a moment of quiet contemplation, this sanctuary of natural beauty invites you to immerse yourself in its timeless embrace.

Daily Departure

  • Summer – 14:15, 15:45 and 17:15
  • Winter -14:30 and 16:00
  • Other times are available on request for 10 or more.
  • All departures are subject to the minimum pax requirement achieved.
  • All our departures are subject to weather conditions.

Departure point: Featherbed Ferry Terminus at Cruise Cafe Restaurant, Remembrance Drive.

Featherbed Ferry

Experience the Magic of Featherbed Nature Reserve

Embark on a journey of discovery and wonder as you explore the enchanting landscapes of Featherbed Nature Reserve. From the whispering forests to the rugged coastline, every step reveals a new facet of nature’s splendour, leaving unforgettable memories that linger long after your visit has ended.

Contact Information

Featherbed Nature Reserve

Address: Featherbed Company, The Waterfront, Knysna, 6570, South Africa

Phone: +27 (0)44 382 1693



For an unforgettable holiday filled with fun, the Garden Route stands out as the ultimate destination. Hello Garden Route has got you covered if you’re wondering where to stay and what to do during this festive season. Visit our website and have a look at our various holiday accommodations in Knysna.

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