The Phantom Forest Eco Reserve is well worth considering if you are hoping to visit Knysna and surrounds from a peaceful base camp! Providing a very peaceful setting from which to explore the region and not accepting children aged under 12 years, the Phantom Forest Eco Reserve boasts a hideaway feel and is perfect for a romantic break.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The reserve is accessed via the N2 highway. If you are travelling from Knysna, you will need to take a right turn after you have crossed the river, while visitors from Cape Town need to look for the left turn just before the river bridge. This places you on the Phantom Pass. After just over one kilometre, you will see the lodge on the left and you will be able to park next to the gatehouse. Welcoming staff will escort you in to the timber, stone, and thatch communal building.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
A relaxing lounge awaits – this room features comfortable and colourful seating, and an amazing view across the reserve through wide windows. There are two restaurants – The Boma, for a fusion of local and international cuisines, and The Chutzpah, for Moroccan dishes. Phantom Forest has a mini-gym too, as well as a spa, a sauna, and a hot tub termed the bubble barrel! The property provides plenty of outdoor decking spaces where you can sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest. One of the larger decks includes a lovely freshwater nature pool, surrounded by beautiful scenes across Knysna river. This really is a magical setting, well away from the tourist trail!
Guest accommodation at The Phantom Forest Eco Reserve consists of three categories of tree suite – Classic Tree Suite, Upper Tree Camp Suite, and Moroccan Tree Suite. Each of the six Classic Tree Suites is named after a type of indigenous tree and elevated into the tree line. This option features an entrance hall, a bedroom, a seating area, and well-appointed en-suite facilities of separate flush toilet, bidet, twin washbasins, shower, and double-ended bath. The bath area boasts spectacular views through the forest! The four Upper Tree Camp Suites – each named for a species of fynbos – are similar in style to the Classic option, but these have an even more secluded location and benefit from a hot tub on a private deck. The décor throughout these two categories uses a palette of black, creams, and earth tones for a soothing effect. The Moroccan Tree Suite, however, is a much more sumptuous option, featuring mosaic embellishments, handcrafted lamps, and gorgeous textures such as silk and velvet. Every suite of this type includes a large lounge, so it is ideal for travellers who would like some extra space!
As far as activities are concerned, The Phantom Forest Eco Reserve is very well placed for visitors to enjoy all sorts of attractions both within the reserve and along the Garden Route. You could begin by exploring the reserve! With its combination of temperate rainforest, coastal fynbos, and wetlands, this area hosts a number of wildlife species, such as bushbuck, bush pig, grysbok, blue duiker, and 150 types of bird. There are many other forests around Knysna, worth visiting if you are a keen hiker – some of the forest trails adjoin the Outeniqua Mountains, great for a really challenging trek!
The waters around Knysna, including the beaches, provide opportunities for swimming, sailing, fishing, kayaking, and more besides. Knysna town centre has a wonderful range of shops and restaurants, as well as Mitchell’s Brewery. Farther afield, a number of day trips are possible. Extreme sports fans could consider shark cage diving, bungee jumping, and exhilarating canopy treetop tours, while wildlife lovers will appreciate Featherbed Nature Reserve, Knysna Elephant Park, Monkeyland, Birds of Eden, Eagle Encounters, and Butterfly World! And golfers have a choice of ten courses within driving distance of Phantom Forest. There really is a wonderful variety of things to do in this region of South Africa!