Steeped in history, The Featherbed Company (Featherbed) is one of the largest tourism based companies in the Southern Cape. Relatively recently acquired by businessman Kobus Smit from previous owners William and Jenny Smith, Featherbed remains dedicated to the ‘conservation through education’ philosophy begun by William’s father, the renowned ichthyologist Professor JLB Smith.
The iconic Featherbed Nature Reserve (FNR) on Knysna’s Western Head was opened to the public in 1985 and has since been awarded South African Heritage Site Status. This unique and priceless tract of land lures tourists from all corners of the globe. One of the highlights of Featherbed’s FNR offerings is a wonderful 4 hour eco tour comprising a return ferry trip across the Knysna Lagoon to the Western Head, a 4x4 vehicle and trailer ride up the headland to the Reserve, a guided walk through fynbos and coastal forests to ancient sea caves, ending with a sumptuous buffet lunch at a restaurant set in a mature milkwood forest. When Featherbed recently extended an invitation to various accommodation establishments in Knysna to the opening of their new buffet room at FNR, Bamboo jumped at the opportunity! We all met at the Featherbed Ferry Terminal and boarded the Paddle Cruiser, the only paddle driven vessel in the country. Our leisurely ride across the Knysna Lagoon to FNR aboard the double-decker Paddle Cruiser was fantastic, as was the hospitality of our hosts on board, namely Sonja Smit (Featherbed GM), Dianne Pepler (Featherbed Sales & Events Manager) and Brian Bishop (Cruise Café Manager). Upon disembarking at FNR we all headed straight for the Forest Restaurant nestled outdoors amongst magnificent milkwood trees. The new buffet room is stunning, as was the feast the chefs had laid on for us. After a few words from both Sonja and Dianne we all sampled the superb cuisine – the presentation of the dishes was top drawer and one felt a bit guilty ‘ruining’ these masterpieces! After a rather extended lunch we headed back to Knysna replete, relaxed and most impressed.
Bamboo’s Featherbed experience was capped by a wonderful evening at Cruise Café on Saturday night, courtesy of invitations from Rob and Brian. Cruise Café, also part of the extensive Featherbed family, is perfectly situated on the Knysna Lagoon and offers diners a relaxed yet sophisticated ambiance. Gordon, Jaynie, Liz and I arrived to a warm welcome at Cruise Café and, after receiving our drinks, decided to order 4 different dishes so as to sample a range of menu items. The food was delicious and tastefully presented, the service was of the highest standard and the setting and atmosphere were great. I ordered the market fish (fresh cob on a bed of crisp veggies with a parsnip mash) – my taste buds were dancing! I also tasted the tiger prawns, rib-eye steak and braised pork neck – all fabulous! Lloyd and Farrel went out of their way to ensure that we all felt welcome and were satisfied with our Cruise Café dining experience.
We are indeed fortunate to have a well rounded and well run organisation such as The Featherbed Company in Knysna – the Featherbed experience is a must for all visitors to our beautiful town, be it an eco tour, a dining experience at Cruise Café or aboard the John Benn or the Paddle Cruiser or a sailing cruise on the Heads Explorer.
Many thanks once again to all at The Featherbed Company for affording us the opportunity of enjoying some of the magnificent experiences you offer visitors to Knysna.
Visit Featherbed for further information.
NB. All photos courtesy of The Featherbed Company.