A visit to Noetzie, with its corrugated dirt access road now lined by shacks at its confluence with the N2, and the 116 stairs down to the beach – and, more importantly, up again – certainly feels like a pilgrimage. It’s not especially easy to access given its proximity to Knysna.
I last visited it in 1995. The castles are still there
but the surrounding land has been annexed by Pezula, so that Noetzie now feels almost like a private beach which the public are lucky to be allowed to access.
It is still very beautiful, magical in its relative isolation. The sea is wild and blue, the cliffs are burnt umber, and the milkwoods impossibly green. The trickle of water from the river to the sea was filled with tiny fish that made my artist’s heart leap.
This scene reminded me of a tongue in cheek Jack Vettriano:
It’s astounding how, despite the physical effort to get there, so many manifestly unsuitable South Africans attempt the walk down the steep path and the many steps. I am amazed that more of of these people do not succumb to heart attacks as they heave their lumbering selves back up to the parking lot.
One of them even stopped to give his lungs a breather:
It was an effort – both of us were panting after those stairs – and so the visit felt all the more special for that. Sometimes things should not be too easy.