The legendary tale of the castles along our coastline


You don’t expect to stumble across a castle in South Africa, let alone six in one spot. But on Noetzie Beach, that’s exactly what you’ll find. Towering forts rise up from the dunes, their turrets forming an unusual addition to the local landscape. Overlooking the ocean, these eccentric castles hold an air of mystery. For architect Leon van der Westhuizen, it’s an endless source of inspiration.

The first stone building was constructed in the 1930s as a holiday home. Legend has it that a neighbour suggested adding turrets, as it already resembled a castle. Over the decades, more families built houses along the shoreline, mimicking the style of the original. These manors aren’t from medieval times, but they bring a sense of antiquity to the area. “Noetzie Beach helped me imagine what life must have been like centuries ago,” Van der Westhuizen says. While the castles have captured the curiosity of South Africans, the beach remains relatively secluded, as getting there takes patience and strength. There are 116 steps to reach the destination from the parking lot, but it only adds to the mystique.

Just half an hour away from Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, the beach alongside the Sinclair Nature Reserve is protected by the Noetzie Conservancy. Visitors like Van der Westhuizen can admire the natural surrounds of the forest and ocean. As mist settles over the shore, the castles perfectly add to the magical atmosphere. In South Africa, places that could only be found in fairytales are real.