Africa Deluxe Tours Featherbed Nature Reserve

Featherbed Nature Reserve

The mouth of the Knysna Estuary is in fact a narrow channel, which is difficult to navigate for those not familiar with it. The channel is often dramatically depicted framed by two huge rocky promontories, known as The Knysna Heads. The Western Head falls within the privately owned Featherbed Nature Reserve. It is covered with indigenous vegetation and is conserved by the proprietors. The Nature Reserve gets its name from the safe anchorage it provided to 18th century wooden sailing ships. The ships had to navigate the treacherous channel to enter the Estuary. The small sheltered cove, featuring a sandy bottom, just past the channel and on the inland side of the Western Head, was viewed as a 'feather bed' on which the battered ships could come to rest.

Today a wooden jetty welcomes a twice-daily scheduled ferry delivering visitors to the reserve. Beyond the jetty is a partially open-air restaurant and visitors centre to welcome you. On arriving at the visitors centre you are taken on a tractor / 4x4 truck (Unimorg) ride to the top of the Western Head. You make your way back on foot via a scenic path through a Milkwood forest. Enjoy amazing views going up, at the top and going down. On your return you may have a meal at the restaurant before enjoying the pleasant ferry ride back to town.

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Featherbed Nature Reserve attractions

Knysna Estuary and the Western Head, where the Featherbed Nature Reserve is located, as viewed from the Eastern Head.


The town of Knysna is at the heart of the popular Garden Route. There are a host of activities to engage in and attractions to explore. In our opinion the top ones are exploring the surrounding forests and embarking on an excursion to the Featherbed Nature Reserve.

The Knysna Estuary and Heads.

Knysna Estuary

The Knysna Estuary is often referred to as the Knysna Lake. It is however an estuary and not a lake - even though it resembles a lake in appearance. Most tourists explore the estuary by ferry. A number of these rides are on offer. The most popular is the outing to the Featherbed Nature Reserve

The Heads Explorer sailboat between the Knysna Heads, in the mouth of the Knysna Estaury.

Knysna Heads

The mouth of the Knysna Estuary is a narrow channel leading to the Indian Ocean. The channel is often dramatically depicted framed by two huge rocky promontories, known as The Knysna Heads. The Eastern Head is covered by residential development and the Western Head belongs to the Featherbed Nature Reserve.