This Road Leads to Adventure

The last 300m of Askop Road, outside the Brackenburn entrance gate, had never been tarred. The District Council assured me that according to their records, I was wrong in suggesting it needed tarring, the whole road was in fact tarred for its entire length of 2 km.


The section of road before the entrance gate was gravel top and in urgent need of refurbishment.

From long experience, I knew that arguing with bureaucrats is a tedious waste of time. Being a person of little patience when arguments lead nowhere, the discussion ended there. The problem would be dealt with differently.

A giant machine arrived to restore the road2Thanks to wonderful local contractors; a dear neighbour called Kappie, who makes magic happen; and my long suffering brother, Brackenburn has a spanking new approach road of well rolled aggregate; good rain water gullies; no potholes and enough space for cars to navigate the way in safety.

Then another one took over!2The first rains of winter have come early. The days are cold and wet. Thank goodness the road was fixed in time. The gullies cut along the side of the road work well, leading rain water towards the rivers on both sides of the ridge leading into Brackenburn.

Phoebe inspected the work once everyone had completed the job2The roadway to Brackenburn has always been regarded as a gateway to another world.
The approach runs along a raised plateau. The ground falls away steeply on both sides; on the east side more dramatically so than on the west side as the ravine is deeper.

The Buffels River enters the property on the east side in a deep gorge which cuts through and curves round on itself forming an incredible aerial picture of two camels following each other.

The land itself is thickly forested in beautiful old indigenous trees which climb up the walls of the gorge forming a great blanket of a myriad greens and bronze and gold.
There is only one navigable spot to enter Brackenburn and that is through its entrance gate, hence the portal effect.

Thorn bush and forest make access very hazardous and uncomfortable to anyone attempting to enter elsewhere on foot.

This remoteness creates the other worldly feeling of the reserve. The forest and river host such a varied and health selection of creatures, from the tiny Red Finned Minnows spawning amongst the rocks in the river to the long crested eagle soaring high above the forest. There is always something to hold the attention and to marvel at. The forest trails and accompanying guides are adored by guests from all over the world.

Now that the last section of Askop Road is up to scratch, I trust visitors to Brackenburn Private Nature Reserve will enjoy their journey from Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and the surrounding lodges even more.

Chickpea and Baloo gave it the thumps up as well2We even have a refurbished N2 National Road, which, besides driving the locals mad, has received months of attention from contractors putting down new tarmac and sprucing up the highway. Work in progress at present, (April/2015), soon to be completed. Yippee! So please come and visit Brackenburn and Brackenburn C.R.E.W. soon. We would love to show you all more of the “Best Kept Secret” that is Brackenburn Private Nature Reserve.

Stay over in our beautifully appointed Katuri Cottage which sleeps 6. See our Rates Page for Rates.

In so doing you are availed of more time to spend exploring this section of the Garden Route. There is so much to see in and around The Crags that spending a few hours simply won’t get you far.

Monkeyland, Birds Of Eden, and Jukani are an absolute must- Three incredible sanctuaries at our doorstep. Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary has the most comprehensive collection of snakes I have ever seen and you are accompanied by very knowledgeable guides. Forget the fear factor! These snakes are well looked after, comfortable and stunning to observe.

If you want extreme adventure, there is Africanyon, which offers guests an abseil into the Salt River Gorge where you experience the amazing tea coloured river water so typical of the short, swiftly flowing mountain streams of the Tsitsikamma. Excellent guides accompany you on a trip downriver, towering crags rise up high above you, ferns and dripping water surround you as you float through the Salt River gorge. Big climb out again!
Or you may want to experience a bungee leap off the Bloukrantz Bridge- The highest bridge jump in the world. Mind blowing and very popular.

Swim with seals off Plettenberg Bay at Robberg Peninsular, or take a boat trip on the Bay to observe whales and dolphins. Do a fishing charter trip, skydive… all these accompanied by wonderful back-up.

There are things to do in our end of the woods that will keep you very busy for a week or three.

Come home happy and exhausted to a cosy, quiet, comfortable bed at Katuri Cottage on Brackenburn Private Nature Reserve, after your day out. Please check out the following website for more information as the list of things to do really is endless. There are places to shop; eat; sample local wines; swim; sail; dance; kayak; buy an ice cream; get married….EcoAtlas

Let Brackenburn be the start of your life long road to adventure. You will be very glad to have found this magic spot. It could become the secret you will tell your grand children one day!The inspection team on their way back home again2


A November storm had left the lawn grass spangled with a great field of rain drops which sparkled in the beam of torch light. It was so beautiful I stood mesmerised by the simplicity of this natural gift. Abundance and wealth expressed in millions of droplet diamonds which covered the night time lawn as surely as Midas would have, had he so desired to express his immense wealth. Given a few hours and the rising sun, I knew this moment of plenty would fade. The grass would just be green; the morning heat would chase the splendour to memory. So the nightly ritual of “piddling the dogs” was extended. Torchlight floated over the green blanket of priceless gems. Diamonds, Sapphire, Citrines, rubies, emeralds, all mine, always. Even the dogs enjoyed rolling and stretching in the delicious wet lawn and then shaking their coats free of an immense treasure before loping back inside and upstairs to bed

Down to the river

The river, oh the river! How that dark burbling stream worked its magic on our decision to buy this perfection.
It took a steep hike down a well cut track to reach the stretch of Buffels River that hosted the water pump. Down a winding path beneath the forest canopy. Stopping to marvel at new finds of fungi, miniature orchid, a squirming, multi- legged invertebrate that would be remembered and identified later, lichens, butterflies, baby trees. The ever present sighing forest, old and growing older, indifferent to our trespass. Everything still and seemingly asleep, till focus brought a watching bush buck into view. The forest protected us all, hid all, offered us all time to see and learn the things which were to mean the most in our lives.
The track opened onto a thickly ferned bank which sloped down to a fast flowing, tea coloured stream. The rock pools were filled with Red-finned Minnows. Fully grown, these tiny fish measure in at barely 10cm in length, so they are really small.Red Fin MinnowThe rock pools! Dark and inviting. Always busy, always overflowing one into the next. The river gushed on below the canopy and disappeared round the steep walls of quartzite and dripping ferns.
How many dogs over the years have withstood the temptation to bound into those pools and snap happily at the rushing water? Too many to recall. It surely was one of the most joyous places on earth. Also one of the most sustaining and honouring places if peace was sought or direction begged.
Tree fern stood sentinel amongst Cape Chestnut that stretched over the river from one bank to the other. Epiphytic ferns clung to the bark and tiny white orchid flowers hung in minute clusters from their mother plant growing high above the river.
Dappled light played with bold sunbeams and dragon and damsel flies wafted up stream. In the eddies shiny little River Boatmen swirled to and fro. Forest leaves floated by.
The river in any season has never been less than magical.