Knysna isn't as well known for its beaches as fellow Garden Route towns Plettenberg Bay and Mossel Bay, but one of its beaches does rate amongst the most beautiful and unusual on this coastline. This beach is called Noetzie. The name Noetzie is a Koisan word meaning "dark water" and it refers to the water of the lagoon that is darkened by tannin picked up by the river as it flows through the forests and fynbos upstream..
People have been coming here to camp and relax since the early 1800's when ox wagons followed a rough track down the hill. Visitors in those days, and still today, enjoyed the beach, swam in the clean dark waters of the lagoon, fished and enjoyed the surrounding forest while the oxen were let loose to graze on the dune vegetation.
When the mining houses at Millwood were taken down and moved to Knysna in the early 1900s, some of them were brought down to Noetzie by ox wagons to be used as holiday cottages. The first of the castles, for which Noetzie is famous for, was built in 1932 and today there are a number of these castles next to the beach.
The residents of Noetzie have always been aware of the area's natural riches and has for a long time fought for its protection. In 1999 Noetzie was officially declared a conservancy which means that the natural beauty and biodiversity of the area will stay protected. The one catch with visiting Noetzie is the fact that you have to park at the top of the hill and walk down a steep path and a number of steps before basking in the glory of Noetzie.