Kurland: Polo Playing Luxury
Kurland is unquestionably, the most desirable location on the Garden Route, a 700 ha estate consisting of a small luxury hotel and a polo complex. Helicopters land on the lawn and bumping into international polo players is not uncommon. This family estate, established by Baroness Dianne Behr is minutes from the finest beaches of Natures Valley and Plettenberg Bay. It resides on Tatler magazine’s 2004 and 2003 list of 101 Best Hotels in the World.
This luxury boutique hotel has just twelve rooms, so exclusivity is guaranteed. Ten of the rooms have adjoining loft rooms, which are specifically designed for children of all ages. Each room is unique, and spectacular, decorated to provide gracious comfort and ultimate luxury for the entire family.
Professionally trained ponies are provided to meet the needs of any level of player. Kurland also has an extensive network of soft roads through forests and pastures for leisure riding.
The polo complex comprises four boarded fields, a 50m x 100m polo arena, fully equipped stables and veterinary clinic, and a one kilometer sand exercise track and paddocks for up to 300 horses. Experienced grooms care for the horses and a vet and farrier are permanently on standby.
Mossel Bay: Whale, Dolphin & Seal Adventures
You can hire a yacht in the Mossel Bay harbour and watch whales, dolphins and seals at play from the deck. For close up views, take a 3-hour boat based whale-watching trip.
In season, (June to November), the 65 km Whale Route along the greater Mossel Bay coastline is fabulously suited to view whales. Four species are seen along this route. The Southern Right Whales are the most commonly sighted as they come into Mossel Bay to calve; there is also the Humpback’s, Bryde’s and Killer Whales that frequent this route.
Mossel Bay also forms part of the Cape Whale Route, stretching for 900 km from Doringbaai on the West Coast to Storms River Mouth in the Tsitsikamma National Park. The greater Mossel Bay Whale Route [http://www.visitmosselbay.co.za/listings.php?cat=10&show=12] runs along Vleesbaai, Boggomsbaai, Danabaai, Mossel Bay, Hartenbos, Klein-Brak River, Reebok, Tergniet and GreatBrak River. Informative whale interpretation boards situated at specific view points create an ideal educational experience as you view these great mammals for the first time.
View Seals and Dolphins
The greater Mossel Bay offers an abundance of other marine life. Seal Island in the bay is home to a breeding colony of hundreds of seals and their cubs. They can be viewed during an island cruise or from land. Schools of up to 500 dolphins can be seen at play in the bay and along the St Blaize hiking trail. The most common dolphins found during the year are Heaviside’s Dolphin, Common Dolphin, Dusky Dolphin and Bottlenose Dolphin. The Jackass Penguins – flightless seabirds found at the south and west coast – occur in the Mossel Bay area. They utter a loud bray, like a donkey, hence the name Jackass. They are excellent divers and move extremely fast and quietly, lying low in the water.
Private Nature Reserve: The Featherbed
The Knysna Heads are famous, not only for their grand sandstone cliffs, which tower above the entrance to the Knysna Lagoon, but also for the many recorded shipwrecks that have happened over the past 150 years. The entrance at first glance does not appear to be hazardous, but submerged rocks and two sandbars – which deflect winds and powerful currents – make it highly regarded by even the most experienced skippers.
The Featherbed Nature Reserve is situated on the Western Head and is privately owned by Mr William Smith – the Maths and Physics guru of the Learning Channel. He inherited this property from his father, Professor JLB Smith, the world renowned scientist who identified the Coelocanth – a fossil fish thought to be extinct 180 million years ago. Apart from the Nature Reserve, which is a South African Natural Heritage site, The Featherbed Company has operated as a family business for the past 20 years, and offers ferry trips on the Knysna Lagoon: sailing aboard a luxury yacht; fine dining on a paddle cruiser; and an exclusive eco-experience in the Featherbed Private Nature Reserve.
Noetzie: A Place of Castles
Situated on the Garden Route between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay is a pristine cove, called Noetzie. This place is a well-kept secret, with miles of unspoilt pounding surf and magnificent castles. To stay in a modern-day turreted castle on the beach is sublime if not spectacular! To stay in a castle, with candles and roaring fires – watching the pounding surf, make evenings unforgettable! Bordering on the Sinclair Nature Reserve, activities such as hiking, fishing, whale watching, forest picnics, walking trails and swimming are available. Otters, bushbuck, whales, dolphins and numerous bird species inhabit the area.
Nearby Knysna (a 20 minute drive) offers numerous activities from golf to an unforgettable train journey along the coast, as well as boat trips and canoeing and a morning spent with the Knysna elephants is an experience not easily forgotten.