Belvidere Estate comprises 223 character family homes, a retirement village and hotel.  This tranquil estate has extensive parklands, hiking and biking trails, play parks, picnic spots, and provides easy access to Knysna’s only beach.  It is simple to see why so many  choose to call this charming lifestyle estate, home.  

The estate has a strong English country village feel with its famous 170-year-old Holy Trinity Church, ancient oaks and historic homes. The development concept was designed to preserve this image by grouping the stands in cul-de-sacs with stretches of open fields and indigenous bush between them.

The architectural theme of the estate is Eastern Cape 19th  century homes (Georgian and Victorian style).  Building standards are firmly maintained by an Architectural Committee which underwrites the value of your lifestyle investment.     

MAP OF BELVIDERE

Belvidere Estate is tucked into the western shore of the picturesque Knysna Lagoon.

History of Belvidere Estate

The Belvidere Estate story begins in 1830, when land known as ‘Uitzicht’ was acquired by George Rex, the ‘squire and proprietor of Knysna’. George added this lovely property to his estate which then amounted to more than 24 000 acres and renamed it Belvidere (‘a raised place commanding a beautiful view’).

In 1833, a young Scotsman named Thomas Henry Duthie, who was serving in the British Army, married George’s daughter, Caroline.  In 1835, Thomas paid his father-in-law £750 for the farm Belvidere, built their first cottage (near the site where the Bell Tavern now stands) and moved in.

The family outgrew the cottage and in 1848 foundations for their new, bigger home were laid.  According to his diary, in November 1849, the family had their ‘first dinner out of new house – good!’  With its simple design and indigenous wood interior, Belvidere House became an important example of English Georgian architecture in the Western Cape.

The house served as a post office during several periods in the 19th and 20th century.  Duthie was also the driving force behind the building of the historic Norman-style sandstone Holy Trinity Church, which was consecrated in 1855.

The last direct descendent of Thomas Duthie to live at Belvidere House was Augusta Vera (Avie).  At the age of 14 she went to Huguenot Seminary for Girls in Wellington and graduated with a BA degree in botany in 1901.  She became a lecturer at Victoria College (later to become the University of Stellenbosch) where she remained until she retired in 1940, whereafter she returned to Belvidere.  When she died in 1963, the primary purpose of her will was ‘to preserve the tradition and atmosphere of Belvidere as laid down by its Founder’.

Old Belvidere surrounds the church and the graves of the Duthie family whose remains rest in their beloved Belvidere.  Amongst the sounds of guinea fowl, plovers and herons, their memory lives on.