The quest for the perfect beach – Buffelsbaai


Let’s start off by saying that any beach is a perfect beach for me: all I need is a lounger, a beach shelter, a kindle, sunscreen and a hat. With all that, I’m good. I’m definitely not much of an ocean swimmer, and will maybe venture in to dip my toes and crest a wave or two. The experience for me lies in the fresh air, the sun and the not-doing-anything part. So really, I’m not fussy.

Not Craig! He is always on the hunt for the perfect beach, and his criteria is most specific, and most demanding. It includes the right water temperature, the right sand, the right strength of waves, the right wind speed, and some other intuitive points that he cannot verbalise but “feels in his gut”. I just roll with his quirks and humor him.

So whenever we get to a new holiday destination, Craig’s first mission is to explore…he can drive for hours north and south, east or west of wherever we happen to be staying, stopping at every beach and trying it out. He then rates the beach, and moves on to the next one. After a couple of days of this, he will – eventually and hopefully – declare that he has found the perfect beach or at least has determined which beach meets his criteria the best. Sometimes it will be a combination of two beaches, and we will visit those in the remaining days. Craig nevertheless still has serious FOMO, and continues exploring ….

For the majority of our Knysna stay, the chosen beach was the main beach at Plett. It was cold – thus not so perfect – but the waves were strong enough to keep the kids entertained for hours. Even little Zac was happy to bodysurf. It was about 30 minutes from where we were staying, and was surrounded by good food within walking or short driving distance. Sold.

But just four days before we were due to leave, and on a hunch, Craig drove to Buffelsbaai beach and … every person in our entourage declared this to be the perfect beach. The water was amazingly warm for the area, the waves were so calm that even I ventured deep into the ocean, and Zac loved the fact that the beach was shallow enough for him to go in far as well. It really is the perfect family beach, and it become our beach of choice for the remainder of the holiday (Although we still alternated with Plett, for the strong waves).

Buffelsbaai – Sattelite View

There are also plenty of nooks and crannies here…little rock pools, big rock pools. In fact, to be honest, there is more than one beach. So if you are in the mood for something more quiet, there are stretches of sand with maybe one or two fishermen to keep you company (and no lifeguards).


If you get hungry there is a restaurant (we did not eat there, so can’t comment), and there is also “Wally’s Van” where he sells fish and chips plus other food. We all had the fish and chips (cheap cheap, R50) and it was delicious. Cash only. Also, there is a mini supermarket- like shop where you can buy pretty much anything you may need. I think there is a caravan camping site nearby, and it caters to those visitors. We were able to buy ice cream, chips, a boogie board and some vaseline for the chaffing. But you can buy clothes, baskets, umbrellas or…what else might you forget?

Wally's Van - Buffelsbaai
Wally’s Van – Buffelsbaai
Wally's Van - Buffelsbaai
Wally’s Van – Buffelsbaai

All in all, this is a highly recommended beach! Craig said he spent the best beach day of his life there, which (just trust me on this) says A LOT. (Out of interest, before he visited this beach, the best-beach-experience in his book went to Port Alfred).

Drop a comment if you’ve been!

Where: Bufeflsbaai turnoff off the N2, about 12km outside of Knysna towards Wilderness.
Food: There is a restaurant on the beach, and a caravan that sells surprisingly good food.
Parking: R10 for parking closest to the beach (gets full quickly) otherwise free in the overflow parking or on the street
Toilets: Yes
What else? Rockpools, water activities, scuba lessons. Great beach for little kids, as the water is shallow and waves are mild.


Want to read more? I wrote about quite an adventure on this holiday, when we put diesel into a petrol car.

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