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18 October 2012

Knysna’s houseboats back on the water

Knysna’s holiday houseboats have returned to the Knysna lagoon under the newly launched Knysna Houseboats brand.

Knysna Houseboats Knysna Houseboats - ready for the holiday season

We’ve upgraded the boats substantially and added luxury features like Weber gas braais, music systems with USB and iPod connectivity, and stunning percale linen. We’ve also introduced a catering menu that includes dishes made with local ingredients, such as fresh oysters and sushi – all delivered to our guests on their boats on the lagoon. - Aicha Harinck, co-owner of Knysna Houseboats.

Knysna’s famous houseboats are back in action following the launch last month of Knysna Houseboats – a new company focused on continuing the long-time tradition of holiday houseboats on the Knysna lagoon.

For more than 30 years this was the domain of Lightleys Holiday Houseboats, a pioneer of houseboat holidays in South Africa and a stalwart of the Knysna tourism industry. But this all came to a grinding halt last year when the company filed for bankruptcy, leaving the seaside town without one of its star tourism attractions.

Peter and Anita Eversdijk and their daughter and son-in-law, Aicha and Joost Harinck, spotted the obvious gap in the market. They had previously run a hospitality software company selling unTill restaurant software in South Africa.

'We sold the business 18 months ago and were looking for another challenge in the tourism industry; not a normal B&B but rather something a little more sexy and dynamic that we could run as a family business,' explained Aicha Harinck, co-owner of Knysna Houseboats.

When the Lightleys houseboats came up for auction earlier this year the family snapped up 6 Leisureliner boats. They completely refurbished them and launched Knysna Houseboats from new premises at Thesen Islands Harbour Town.

'We’ve upgraded the boats substantially and added luxury features like Weber gas braais, music systems with USB and iPod connectivity, and stunning percale linen. We’ve also introduced a catering menu that includes dishes made with local ingredients, such as fresh oysters and sushi – all delivered to our guests on their boats on the lagoon,' Harinck added.

The luxurious self-drive boats are fully equipped for self-catering holidays, don’t require skippers’ licences for operation, and are suitable for up to 4 adults or families of 5.

Since launching 6 weeks ago, Knysna Houseboats has already secured 100 confirmed bookings.