Beaches of the Garden Route: Buffalo Bay

Buffalo Bay beach, Knysna

Buffalo Bay beach, Knysna

It may not be the biggest, and it may not be the best, but Buffalo Bay Beach is one of my favourite places in all the world.

It’s been the scene of many family dramas over the years. (That time when my eldest – then just a young teenager – got stuck for a lift home, me in Cape Town on business, and the only solution I could think of was to call him a taxi. That time I learned that long-distance taxis aren’t cheap. That time when my eldest got married on the beach and we had the reception at Endlovana Coastal Hideaway, the whole family staying in Endlovana’s permanent tents for the weekend, shushed to sleep by the sighing and rolling of the waves across the sand.)

It’s been the scene of some of my most memorable walks. (From west to east it’s about 3 km – best done around low spring tide, when the sand is hard and wide.)

And it’s been the scene of some of my most memorable surf sessions. (But we don’t talk about surfing. Haven’t been in the water in five years or more.)

But it’s also been the scene of some our most memorable family holidays (even though we live almost round the corner – just 30 km away – in Knysna.) And that’s where you come in.

Buffalo Bay beach facilities

TBH, the facilities on the beach at Buffs are basic: a general dealer, a restaurant, clean ablutions, showers, fresh water, a few braai places. But who needs more than that? This is a beach for old-fashioned downtime: beach bats, cricket, touchies, umbrella and towels, a good book or an idly interesting magazine. And swimming, of course (with life savers on duty during the summer holiday season.)

Bring a picnic. I’ll see you there.


Rent a self-catering house, (generally good value for money, but you might struggle to find anything in high season when the owners generally use them themselves), or a caravan or campsite.

Goukamma Nature Reserve

Buffalo Bay’s closest neighbour, Goukamma Nature Reserve covers 2,500 hectares of coastal dune forest, and includes the Goukamma River Lagoon, and the fresh water (bass-fishing) lake at Groenvlei. It’s great for hiking and birding (more than 220 bird species) – and wonderful for dolphin-watching and land-based whale watching. And there’s Buffalo Valley, with its wooden, self-catering cottages.

Oh, and it’s a World Heritage Site, and a marine protected area, too.

Why wouldn’t you want to explore it?