It is difficult to define the charm and character of Belvidere, the little settlement on the west bank of the Knysna lagoon which has been continuously occupied for more than 200 years... those who have left have often returned.
The memory of the lonely hoot of an owl in the tall trees, the liquid cry of a vlei loerie, or the noisy exuberance of a flock of herons returning to their nests at sunset have been woven into their subconscious. They have remembered walking in the freshness of the morning along damp, tree lined paths in a near silence; of the same lagoon shimmering in bright sunlight or shrouded in dense mists.
Belvidere has been described as more than just a place; its an aura, an ideal.
Belvidere’s story begins in 1830 when the land was acquired by George Rex, the ‘squire and proprietor of Knysna’ who settled there and became the foremost timber merchant in the district.
Captain Thomas Henry Duthie emigrated to the Cape in 1826.In 1830 he visited Knysna, where he was the guest of George Rex, whose daughter Caroline he subsequently married in Cape Town in 1833. He bought the farm named Belvidere from his father-in-law for £750. He retired to Knysna the following year, where he devoted his time to the development of his estate on the Knysna Lagoon, and to the construction of Belvidere House. The 1904 census indicated that Belvidere then had a population of 100.