The best place to stay in Knysna: Villa Castollini

Now that the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival is over for another year, we give you our top 5 Knysna secrets: the best place to stay, lunch spot, place to eat dinner, spa treatment and farmstall stop on the way. Soon you’ll know all you need to know about Knysna….

One of the hardest things about any trip to Knysna is deciding where to stay – precisely because there are so many options. Every street seems to be lined with at least three B&Bs, guesthouses or hotels (usually more) and most of them look lovely from the outside. So which to pick?

Trust us (we just spent five days there) and go for Villa Castollini. Perched high above the Knysna lagoon an easy 10 minute drive out of town, Villa Castollini is a Tuscan villa in the heart of South Africa. With large, luxurious bedrooms, an open garden area and pool and a view that will take your breath away no matter what time of day you gaze out over the lagoon, you will feel as if you’ve been transported to another (more Italian!) holiday. The rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated, serviced by some truly lovely staff, and the whole place is kept ticking over by Nan Raturat, the extremely warm and ever eager-to-help manager.

It’s Nan, in fact, who cooks up the hearty breakfasts every morning – everything from kippers on toast for the brave to a full English breakfast, eggs Benedict or some of the finest French toast with bacon I’ve had in as long as I can remember. This is accompanied by a buffet of fresh fruits, yoghurts, cereals, baked goodies, cheeses and cold meats, so there’s no excuse to leave your hotel unprepared for the day ahead.

Nan also organised a trip on the Featherbed Explorer for us – an unmissable experience for any visitor to Knysna. The Explorer is a beautifully maintained catamaran that sets out to the mouth of the majestic Knysna Heads every day, and goes through the Heads into the open sea on the days when the swell isn’t overwhelming. It’s a wonderful trip – skimming across the still lagoon with only the wind in the sail for power, then carefully navigating the channels to the gap of ocean between the Knysna Heads, and seeing how truly powerful the ocean can be.

Of course, all adventures are more fun when you have somewhere cosy and safe to return to afterwards, and we couldn’t have been happier to get back into our suite at Villa Castollini when the rainclouds came rumbling in and sent a storm across the ocean! Next time you’re in Knysna, give Nan a call. She’ll make sure you have the best possible holiday…


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