If you are looking for a beautiful “just off the beaten path” place to holiday, then Brenton-On-Sea, a small seaside village in Knysna, is the secret that I’m sharing with you.
Situated on the cliffs above the beach, this little hamlet consists mainly of private homes used as permanent and holiday residences. However, there are also some self-catering establishments and guesthouses. I stayed in the wheelchair-accessible unit at the self-catering Brenton-On-Sea Cottages. It has log cabins that sleep six and two.
The larger unit has a ground floor with a lounge, kitchen, two bedrooms and bathrooms, and an upstairs loft bedroom, which has a shower room. The smaller, two-person units are not accessible as they are reached via sets of steps. The accessible six-sleeper unit, number 18, is on Agapanthas Avenue and offers wonderful views of the sea.
If you leave your windows open at night, you can hear the waves crashing on the beach. The main bedroom has windows that face the sea. There is a double bed, but the space around the bed is only just accessible. As there are no headboards, it is possible to move the bed to one side to accommodate a larger wheelchair.
The cupboard has double rail hooks so that the rail can be moved to the lower position. There is a safe on the lower shelf, but it is quite small and doesn’t hold a laptop. The bedside lights are mounted on the wall and are too high to reach when you’re lying down. The second bedroom has twin beds.
The downstairs accessible bathroom has a step-free shower with a very small fold-down shower seat and rails that are not placed in useful spots. The toilet and basin, however, are at the correct heights. There is also a large mirrored cupboard that is accessible for storing toiletries.
The kitchen has been reduced to accommodate the larger ablution area, so entrance into it is limited. All essential crockery and cutlery are placed in the lower cupboards for easy access; however, the microwave is positioned on a shelf. At the front of the cottage is a braai area with tables and chairs, but getting to it requires a bit of manoeuvring over the grass.
The staff at the resort are fantastic and extremely helpful. They have agreed to adjust the unit so that it is more accessible. Although this is a self-catering property, a starter pack of tea and coffee is given to guests on arrival and free WiFi is offered.
The building housing the reception also has a branch of the local superette and a lovely restaurant and pub called the Nautical South, which offers room-service facilities to all the chalets. The best part of this service is that there is no extra charge! So, if you feel like a beer or a snack, just order and they will deliver it to your chalet.
The Blue Flag beach is not wheelchair accessible, but there is a lovely grassed area with a ramp access near the car park for the beach, where you can sit and watch the whales frolic in the sea beyond! Nature plays a big role in this area and it is recovering from recent fires. I was lucky to visit when the spring flowers and heathers were in bloom and the grassy areas alongside the roads were full of colour.
There are amazing nature walks in the area, including a 4,5-km walk to Buffalo Bay – another lovely area with a spectacular caravan park right on the edge of the sea! Knysna, a scenic 16-km drive from Brenton-on-Sea, boasts more shops, restaurants – great for a night out.
This three-star property is rated as the Best Value for your Money and is definitely on my top ratings list for a good accessible restful holiday!
Mandy Latimore is a consultant in the disability sector in the fields of travel and access. email: firstname.lastname@example.org