Noetzie has always been difficult to reach, but once there, it is always worth it. The archaeological evidence confirms that Noetzie was inhabited by the Southern Cape’s earliest inhabitants.
Thousands of years later, modern man discovered Noetzie, and they used ox wagons to build the Old Wagon Road to the beach and erect iron and timber holiday cottages on the edge of the beach and river. They were oblivious to environmental concerns like rising sea levels and building in flood plains. The cottages were small and were visited mostly during warmer months. So Noetzie stayed a secret and remote destination for local fishermen, determined campers and a few holiday makers.
In the 1940s the castle builders built a private road to the new castle on the west end of the beach, and the public steps to the beach were also built joining up to this road. From the 1970s, river cottage owners have been able to access their properties but have to cross private land.
In 2000, when the remainder of Noetzie farm was sold to a developer, gentlemen’s agreements from bygone days fell away, and for the first time, access across the Noetzie farm to the beach was threatened. We all wished that the public parking area, the public and private access routes to Noetzie had been formalized before the sale.
Soon after approval of the development, access was used as a threat because the Noetzie homeowners had objected to the developer’s plan to abstract water from Noetzie River (for the development’s golf course at Sparrebosch).
Then the Pezula developer purchased the Noetzie Castle and closed off the access via the steps. Thanks to a loud and passionate public outcry, a public protest on Heritage Day 2006 and a court case, the developer was forced to re-open the access to the beach via the steps, and this access will remain open into the foreseeable future.
(See the SC Legal Opinion and several other documents on the Noetzie website for more information)
Just because there are always fresh challenges at Noetzie, since the public steps access was sorted out, the other route to the beach via the Old Wagon Road now ends in the air, with the river a few metres below. Although environmentally friendly solutions are being considered, so that property owners with 4x4s and permits can access their houses via the beach again, this access will only ever be possible as long as the sea, river and high tides allow it.
“You cannot command Nature, except by obeying her” Francis Bacon