Featherbed Co. gives visitors to the Garden Route ‘an unforgettable experience on the Knysna Lagoon’. The Lagoon, more accurately defined as an estuary, has five freshwater rivers flowing in from the surrounding Outeniqua Mountains meeting with the surge of seawater from the Indian Ocean through the mighty headlands – known as the ‘Knysna Heads’ – the grand sandstone cliffs towering above the entrance to the Knysna Lagoon.
There are various family activities in Knysna, of which Featherbed Co. offers several unique activities. Included is our own private nature reserve & trail, restaurants and a fleet of various boats. We can offer activities such as cruising the lagoon, nature trails and hiking the Knysna Heads, as well as hosting private functions, conferences, and weddings at any of our venues.
Our boating fleet includes a 45ft Catamaran sailing boat, a one-of-a-kind Paddle Cruiser, the famous John Benn and a Rivercat ferry. All (with exception of the Rivercat) offer restaurant and bar facilities to cater for luncheons and dinner cruises, perfect for private charters, weddings, conferences, and other functions such as product launches. The Featherbed Nature Reserve, situated on the Western Head in Knysna, is the premier eco-experience on the Garden Route.
• Return ferry trip on the Knysna Lagoon to the Western Head.
• 4×4 vehicle & trailer drive up the headland onto the Reserve, stopping at spectacular viewpoints.
• Specialist guide giving information on history, fauna & flora.
• Optional guided 2.2km walk through coastal forest and fynbos into ancient sea caves.
• World-renowned buffet lunch at an outdoor restaurant setting under a canopy of Milkwood trees.
• The wonderful family outing, suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
The Paddle Cruiser is South Africa’s only paddle-driven vessel, offering a unique and unforgettable experience on the Knysna Lagoon.
• Cruise in style on the Lagoon to the famous Knysna Heads aboard this unique paddle-driven vessel.
• A fine dining experience.
• Contemporary decor – luxury with great ambiance.
• Magnificent 360° Lagoon views.
• Great for cocktails and sundowners.
• A wonderful dinner venue – leave at sunset, see the Heads at twilight and return under the stars.
• Speciality Mediterranean cuisine with superb service.
• The menu caters for all dietary requirements.
• Two full bars, one on each deck.
• Fully enclosed – not dependent on the weather.
• Oyster and sparkling wine cruises by arrangement.
• A unique function and wedding venue.
• An unconventional conference venue.
The John Benn is a double-decker floating restaurant offering daily Lagoon cruises to the Knysna Heads. A memorable family activity on Knysna Lagoon. One of the best floating restaurants in Knysna.
• Cruise to the Knysna Heads, on a boat steeped in history, named after a legendary pilot of a bygone era.
• Comfortable and cozy with a classic wooden finish.
• Friendly and hospitable service.
• Optional a la carte and tapas menu available on board with fresh Knysna oysters, local beer & sparkling wine
• Special group menus, wine and dine whilst cruising.
• Two full bars on upper and lower deck.
• Fully enclosed – not dependent on the weather.
• A wonderful function and wedding venue.
The catamaran yacht, ‘Heads Explorer’, is for the adventurous and romantic, creating another unforgettable experience, sailing on the Knysna Lagoon to the Heads and beyond (ocean conditions permitting).
• Sail in style on the Knysna Lagoon to the famous Heads.
• The catamaran yacht is licensed to go through the Heads and into the Indian Ocean.
• Sailing with your experienced skipper is an exclusive way to enjoy the splendor of the Lagoon.
• View dolphins, seals, birds and, in season, whales.
• Sunset cruises accompanied by a delicious sundowner / anti-pasta platter and a choice of wine.
• Optional extra oysters available on request; cash bar available.
• Special stop-off at Featherbed Nature Reserve by arrangement.
• For small and exclusive groups.
• A romantic way to experience the Knysna Lagoon.
If time is limited, join Three Legs for a 75-minute cruise with a difference!
• This is a fun and adventurous cruise to and INTO the Knysna Heads between the cliffs (ocean conditions permitting), visiting Otter Cove, Island Rock and passing the beachcomber caves.
• This unequaled experience takes visitors back in time to the days when Knysna was a port and shares with those on board the thrills and spills of Knysna and its past.
• Three Legs is an open ferry with a sun-deck or shaded seating. There are roll-down weather blinds, fold-away tables, and cushioned seats. There is also a cash bar and snack menu on board (in season, or on request with prior bookings)
• This cruise is ideal for groups, so enjoy the sun on your face, the wind in your hair and experience the excitement of being on the water!
Featherbed is a privately-owned, registered Nature Reserve and a South African Heritage Site, No.59. It is a pristine piece of paradise situated on the Western Head of Knysna and is accessible by ferry only.
In order to protect the splendor of the natural beauty, access to the Reserve is controlled. Numbers are limited and visits are only permitted in the company of the Reserve’s specialist guides.
This 4hour excursion departs daily and reservations are essential. It is a wonderful outing for all ages and fitness levels. Good walking shoes are recommended and remember to bring your camera, hats, and sunblock in summer and a warm jacket for the ferry trip in winter.
The nature reserve offers Knysna adventure activities not to be missed. A perfect outdoor family holiday activity to be enjoyed by both young and old.
A Knysna Wedding at Featherbed Co. offers you the ultimate in romance and elegance, with the romantic sound of the sea lapping in the background.
Whether you dream of a sunset beach wedding, with soft footprints in the sand… or a ceremony on the unforgettable Knysna Paddle Cruiser… or saying ‘I do’ while the breeze softly whispers against your cheek as you breathe the scent of ancient Milkwood trees at the idyllic Featherbed Nature Reserve…. We can make those dreams come true.
HOW ROMANTIC – HOW SPECIAL – HOW VERY DIFFERENT
Our Chefs prepare food fit for a king, buffet menus made from only the freshest and tastiest ingredients sourced locally. We offer a glorious mix of contrasts with something for everyone, an unforgettable venue for your most special day…
Morning, noon or nighttime beach weddings can be arranged on our exclusive beach at Featherbed, with the tranquil lapping of the “blue lagoon” at your feet and your loved one’s hand in yours… rise from your slumber, awake from that dreamland and contact us to make your dream day a reality.
Cruise Café offers the most spectacular sunset deck in Knysna, seating up to 100 guests, under a white wedding marquee tent or a more intimate occasion inside the modern styled restaurant.
We make the most delicious cocktails which your guests can sample while waiting for you to arrive on your special day.
The Paddle Cruiser lends itself to an unforgettable ceremony while cruising to the infamous Knysna Heads.
Celebration drinks can be enjoyed on the upper deck afterward… dependant on the size of your guest list.
FEATHERBED NATURE RESERVE
Featherbed Nature Reserve will cater for receptions in excess of one hundred guests… where we would ferry you across the mystical Knysna Lagoon, “weigh anchor” at the idyllic Forest Restaurant on the unspoiled Western Head of Knysna for an unforgettable wedding reception under the ancient canopy of Milkwood trees.
The Paddle Cruiser is a unique and exciting venue.
The vessel has a modern sophisticated feel and offers you the opportunity to have a conference and or lunch in the same venue saving costs. The vessel has an upper and lower deck.
The upper deck can be set up for the conference in either cinema style max 100 or conference style max 25. The vessel is equipped with a roll down screen/data projector. You are required to bring your own laptop.
Conferencing is done static, (vessel at the jetty) Later on, the delegates can move downstairs to the lower deck area where a sumptuous buffet lunch awaits. During recess, tea/coffee and homemade tiny treats are served to replenish the energy for the next round of conference.
Corporate events include dinner, wine/whiskey tasting/oyster presentation and tastings/music trivia/poker evenings.
Chartering of the vessel for private events is also available.
THE CHARTER FEE INCLUDES:
• Setup of the vessel
• All crew and restaurant staff
• 2-hour cruise and 2 hours dockside (we are flexible on the time spent on the vessel as long as there is revenue on a bar
• White linen tablecloths and napkins
• The charter fee does not include flowers, table decor, music or special requests.
• Individual deck chartering is also available depending on group size.
• The Paddle Cruiser offers a selection of Buffet menu’s to choose from when chartering the vessel. Prepared by the onboard chef and his team.
FEATHERBED NATURE RESERVE
Featherbed Nature Reserve the venue with a difference.
• Dinner under the canopy of Milkwood trees. At the Lagoon side Restaurant
• In the event of adverse weather conditions – indoor enclosed conference area.
• Access by boat
• Full bar facility
• Waitrons in attendance
• Buffet dinners
• 180 seater restaurant
• Stage area for live entertainment
• Beach braai on a private beach
• Team Building
• Trail Running
BLUE DUIKER / BLOU BOKKIE (Cephalophus monticola)
When South Cape author Dalene Matthee came to describe the blue duiker in her novel Circles in the Forest, she said that they were “the most beautiful of them all … So tiny, so nimble of foot…”
WHY THE BREEDING PROGRAMME ON FEATHERBED NATURE RESERVE?
The blue duiker appears on the Endangered List and is facing extinction in its natural habitat. The destruction of approx. 200 000 ha of the Southern Cape’s indigenous forest over the past two hundred years, has severely limited the blue duiker’s range and has impacted heavily on their breeding status.
It was with this in mind that the owner of Featherbed Nature Reserve decided to start a breeding programme on the reserve in 1985. This programme has been a great success. The size of the breeding camps (although seemingly small) are ideal to encourage mating while providing adequate shelter and protection.
The public is not permitted into the main breeding encampment on the reserve. The intention of this encampment is to allow the visitor to see only a few of the blue duiker easily. These blue duikers have become accustomed to limited interaction with people, which has made them quite tame. Sometimes they may even lick your finger through the fence …. enjoying the taste of the salt on your skin.
Sweet natured and beautiful in appearance, the blue duiker deserves every conservation effort.
CLASSIFICATION & DISTRIBUTION
Sixteen subspecies occur in sub-Saharan Africa, of which three, with distinct color forms, are found in Southern Africa. The sub-species of the Southern Cape ( those found at Featherbed ) is known as Cephalophus monticola with the common name being Blue-duiker or Blou Bokkie.
The blue duiker is also found on the Eastern Coasts of South Africa, throughout Kwa-Zulu Natal, Swaziland, Mozambique & Eastern Zimbabwe.
During courtship the male prances before the female, nibbling at her back & shoulders, rubbing his pre-orbital glands against her cheeks & presenting his horns.
The gestation period is approximately 4 months. One lamb is born weighing about 490g & doubling his/her weight within 30 days.
The male may cover the female again within 14 days. Males reach sexual maturity at 9 months & females at 16-17 months.
They breed throughout the year and may take temporary mates or mate for life.
Their ideal natural habitat would be dense bush, thickets or forests where water is readily available.
Within these environments, they are most active in the early morning and late afternoon.
At night they come into less sheltered areas at the forest’s edge. During the daytime, they are very alert & approach these areas with great caution.
FOOD (In Nature)
The blue duikers in the breeding camps are fed: sheep pellets; fruit; leaves and soft stems of the rooikans (Acacia cyclops) branches.
They also eat a variety of leaves of the underbrush, ferns, shoots forest herbs and fallen fruits found in the forest.
They drink plenty of water.
ENEMIES (In Nature)
Common enemies in the area are the Rooikat ( Lynx / Caracal) & the Mountain Leopard.
The Blue Duiker is also preyed upon by Crowned Eagles, pythons.
Have been and are heavily poached by man.
A snared or otherwise caught Duiker gives utterance to pitiful, loud and strangely cat-like meowing.
Duikers leave well-marked trails or paths as they need to drink water every day, so they are easily trapped in snares.
Smallest antelope in Southern Africa, approx. 30 cm at shoulder height (although smaller in height than the Damara dik-dik, it is heavier in mass).
Adult males weigh approx. 4kg & females 4.6kg.
Colour varies from dark reddish-brown to dark greyish-brown. They are darker on their backs with a bluish sheen, while their bellies, throats & chests are slightly lighter in color. The tail is white underneath as is the front of their rounded ears, the back of their ears is dark grey.
Both sexes have short horns (males approximately 45mm & females approximately 30mm). The horns slope backward following the line of the face.
Blue Duikers are equipped with pre-orbital glands, (on the sides of the face, below the eyes ) which are a type of scent gland, used for marking their territory & also during the mating process.
They have pedal glands between their hooves for marking their movements in their forest habitat.
Very shy, secretive, silent, timid creatures & are seldom seen.
Commonly live in pairs, sometimes with sub-adult offspring.
Highly territorial, and each breeding pair usually remains within a limited area of between 4 and 6 ha.
Both male & female scent markings are present in their chosen territory.
They usually forage, sleep & rest close to or next to one another.
Established pairs groom each other frequently & often go through extensive greetings – rubbing noses, pre-orbital glands, head tufts & shoulders. These extensive greetings occasionally occur between “foreign” Duikers as well.
After weaning, males are usually more protective & are more often seen with the young. Lone females are also known to be very protective, however, it is not known how long the mother and lamb stay together.
Like all Duikers, the Blue Duiker has a jerky, zig-zag action as it darts through the bush.
Being so small, it can move freely below the undergrowth, and it is well camouflaged, making it almost invisible, it may only be spotted due to the constant flicking of its tail which exposes the white in tiny flashes.
DID YOU KNOW ?????
The male blue duiker while courting a female, nibbles her neck and shoulders in order to wipe his scent glands on her face.
both the male and female have horns
the male is called a ram, the female ewe and the baby a lamb
the word ‘ duiker ‘ comes from the Afrikaans word meaning diver, this describes its characteristic ‘ diving ’ action when fleeing
that the blue duiker is known as one of the DWARF antelope species in Africa, the smallest antelope in Africa is known as the Royal antelope – Neotragus pygmeus found in West African forests.
the blue duiker is the size of a long ruler that learners use at school.