Fynbos Ridge Country House: Our full report
Fynbos Ridge County House and Cottages is a small, owner-run guesthouse, only ten minutes’ drive from Plettenberg ...... Bay on South Africa’s famed Garden Route. From its hillside location in a private fynbos nature reserve, it has stunning views of the valley below and the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains beyond. There is birdlife galore, with over 85 recorded species, and indigenous plants that make the area a botanist’s dream.
Owned and run with an emphasis on flexibility by Brian and Liz Phillips, Fynbos Ridge consists of a Cape Dutch-style manor house and three self-catering cottages. It’s a very family-friendly and homely place, thanks in part to the two giant pet pigs that follow Liz and Brian everywhere, and their two elderly dogs, which wander around occasionally from the owners’ home next to the Manor House.
The focal point of the property is the Manor House, its polished wooden floors, high ceilings and sash windows lending an old Cape Farmhouse feel. Log fires warm both the formal and informal lounges, and the dining room has french doors leading out onto a covered veranda, so meals can be eaten inside or out. Both offer lovely views of the fynbos gardens, the valley and the mountains beyond.
Accommodation is split between the Manor House and three individual self-catering cottages:
- In the Manor House itself you’ll find five spacious bedrooms: four “luxury” rooms and one “superior” room. All are tastefully decorated in soft pastel tones, with king-size beds, and en-suite bathrooms with complimentary toiletries. Upstairs, with its own entrance, there is also a self-catering apartment, which has a large bedroom, a bathroom with shower and separate bath, and a lounge/dining room complete with fully equipped kitchen.
- Winding brick pathways lead through the lush fynbos to three very well-appointed self-catering cottages. Each consists of two double en-suite bedrooms (where extra beds can be added to accommodate larger families), plus a central lounge and dining area, and an open-plan kitchen. Both bedrooms and the lounge have open log fires, and both have french doors that open onto a private patio with built-in barbecue. As at the Manor House, the views from here into the valley and across to the mountains are fantastic.
Guests in the cottages who prefer not to self-cater are welcome to wander up to the Manor House for breakfast, with advance notice. In addition, dinner can be brought to your cottage to enjoy privately.
Beside the cottages, down a sandy pathway through the fynbos, is a big swimming pool and a well-manicured lawn, surrounded by plant and rock gardens. It's a beautiful, tranquil spot to soak up both the sun and the views, perhaps from one of the sunloungers on the pool deck.
There's a noticeable emphasis at Fynbos Ridge on conservation and sustainability, and they have been awarded “carbon neutral approved" status by “Planet Green Ocean Blue", part of the ORCA Foundation. They provide their own solar heating and have their own biological sewage-treatment plant. They recycle refuse and conserve rainwater. They also grow their own organic herbs and vegetables that are used as much as possible in their cooking. Brian is a qualified chef and he is happy to provide dinner on request, as well as breakfast, of course!
Over the years, Liz and Brian have cleared the property of invasive alien vegetation to allow the local fynbos, such as proteas and ericas, to flourish. Fynbos Ridge is also a lovely spot for birders, with 85 different bird species identified on the property. One particular rarity, which is endemic to this area, is the Knysna woodpecker. During one of our visits we noticed a flock of guinea fowl on the lawn, very close to the Manor House, and Liz commented that this was the closest she had seen them come to the house. It is also popular with lepidopterists – with many species of butterflies spotted here too.
Although Fynbos Ridge doesn’t offer any activities as such, there are two short walking trails on the property – one to the bottom of the valley and the other a gentle stroll along the top of the ridge. Brian and Liz are also happy to help arrange excursions in the area, such as the whale-watching boat tour that Liz booked for us in Plettenberg Bay on our most recent visit in July 2018. We spotted both southern right and humpback whales, seal colonies with hundreds if not thousands of seals, and to top it all, a great white shark.
Other nearby attractions include the Knysna Elephant Park, Monkeyland and Birds of Eden.
Fynbos Ridge is comfortable and unpretentious, and the owners' commitment to the environment is very noticeable. It is located in tranquil, rural surroundings and yet is within easy reach of various tourist attractions and the nearby restaurants and beaches of Plettenberg Bay.
South Africa expert
- Plettenberg Bay | Garden Route, South Africa
- Ideal length of stay
- Three or four nights is ideal to explore this part of the Garden Route.
- Take the N2 and drive east through Knysna. After 23km you will see a brown national road sign on the left-hand side of the road marked “Fynbos Ridge”, (and with a picture of a bed). Some 200m after this sign, turn left into the entrance and follow the signs to Fynbos Ridge.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- For guests staying in the rooms in the main Manor House, breakfast is included in the room rate. For guests in the self-catering cottages, breakfast is available on request and can be paid for directly to the lodge. In July 2018 there was a buffet of cold meat and a selection of cheeses, along with freshly baked bread and flapjacks, a variety of cereals, and fresh fruit and yoghurt. A cooked breakfast is also available – and Brian has been known to cook the best cheese and mushroom omelette on one of our trips!
Dinner is available on request, with 24 hours' notice. Normally there is one starter, a choice of two main courses (meat or fish) and a dessert.
Lunch is not normally provided as most guests are out sightseeing during the day and there are many local restaurants in the area.
- Family holidays
- With wonderful open grounds for children to run free, well-equipped self-catering cottages and a swimming pool that’s big enough to swim lengths, Fynbos Ridge is a good choice to include in a family holiday along South Africa’s Garden Route.
- See ideas for Family holidays
- Fynbos Ridge is a lovely spot for birding in South Africa, with 85 different bird species identified on the property. Look out in particular for the Knysna woodpecker, which is endemic to the Plettenberg Bay area.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Attitude towards children
- Children of all ages are welcome at Fynbos Ridge.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There is no age restriction .
- Special activities & services
- The guesthouse members of staff are available to babysit, with payment going direct to them, but please note that they are not professionally trained childminders.
There is extensive information, including maps, in each room explaining all the activities that are available in the area, including many suitable for children.
- Cots and highchairs are provided on request.
- Generally recommended for children
- Yes we recommend Fynbos Ridge for families – especially the two bedroomed self-catering cottages.
- The swimming pool is not fenced so parents need to supervise children at all times.
- There is good cellphone reception at Fynbos Ridge and there is a phone in the office for guests to use in an emergency. Complimentary WiFi is available at the Manor House and in the cottages.
- TV & radio
- Each room has satellite TV.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- The lodge has a borehole, whose water is tested regularly and is considered safe to drink.
Health & safety
- Medical care
- Fynbos Ridge is located only 5km from doctors and a hospital in Plettenberg Bay.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- The property is surrounded by a fence and the security gates are locked at night, when security guards patrol the property.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in the Manor House and at each cottage
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry can be handled on request, and is charged by the weight.
- There is a safe in each room. There is no currency exchange but there are many banks and cashpoint machines in Plettenberg Bay.
- Accepted payment on location
- All major credit cards are accepted as well as cash in South African rand.
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