Bows and arrows and where to park your boat, the Knysna story


Our fifth episode aired yesterday on DEKATv at 5:30pm on DSTV’s channel 144, and this time we joined Fine & Country South Africa’s CEO, Linda Erasmus, as she explores the rich and diverse delights on offer in Knysna. This is the Knysna story.

The Knysna story stretches far back in our South African time to the KhoiKhoi, meaning ‘people people’. Back to the days of navigating by stars and the moon, bows and arrows, farming by hand, Knysna offered up the ideal means for the KhoiKhoi to farm and thrive. Long before the settlers took a foothold, they were practicing extensive agriculture in the Cape region, with large herds of Nguni cattle. In fact the very name Knysna was based on the Khoisan name for a local river in the area, which sounded like ‘Knysna’ to the early Europeans. And although its actual meaning has been lost over time, some schools of thought would argue it pertains to a place of wood, fern leaves, or The Knysna Heads.




Much likes its rich fauna and flora, Knysna’s colourful history is equally so and spans the days of sailing ships, timber barons and even gold. Knysna’s streets are adorned with quaint reminders of its commercial past while its jagged coast and eerie forests mirror the history of the first men there with their bows and arrows. Speaking of forests, Knysna is the last bastion and home of the only forest elephant in South Africa. The indigenous forests here were launched into the imaginations of many South African’s with the Dalene Matthee’s Kringe in die Bos (Circles in a Forest), which explores the peculiar bond between a wood-cutter and an old and large Knysna forest elephant. The book weaves a dramatic narrative about conservation and the relationship between the two protagonist outcasts who share a desire to prevent the destruction of this eco-system.

The forest has often faced decimation due to the large timber industry derived from its trees. Fortunately, much has been done in the way of conservation for the forest, unfortunately, we may have intervened too late for these elephants. The indigenous forests in Knysna constitute the largest complex of closed-canopy forest in southern Africa, whilst the remarkable richness of the Fynbos vegetation contributes over 8000 plant species to the Cape floral kingdom. Exploring the Knysna forests, along demarcated trails to the occasional call of the Knysna Loerie, provides a wndow into a former time when many elephants trod these paths. Sadly today, according to sources there are only a mere three elephants are reputed to still roam the forest.


South Africa’s very own Eden can be said of Knysna in the Western Cape, along the famous Garden Route and while there, you would be remiss if you did not visit the world famous Knysna Heads. These brightly coloured and rugged cliffs stand guard at the mouth of the Knysna lagoon, like ancient sentinels forever looking out to sea.

The annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival is one of South  Africa’s most popular festivals with huge appeal for sports   lovers and families. It usually takes place between June and July and gives visitors the opportunity to gorge yourselves to bursting on all the fresh oysters you can eat. According to Pick  n Pay about 200 000 oysters are consumed over the course of the event.


The harbour and the Knysna Waterfront play home to most of Knysna’s nightlife which includes bars, restaurants and clubs where you could enjoy a refreshing cocktail while watching the sunset sink low over the heads. There are certainly worse ways you could spend an afternoon. The homes themselves in Knysna create a wonderful coastal and relaxed vibe. Parking in Knysna may prove perplexing for the out-of-towners since its residents generally mean parking for their yachts or boats, not their cars. With upmarket residential developments like the Knysna Quays and Thesen Island, you will certainly be more concerned about “parking “as your front door opens directly onto the canal.


South Africa’s very own paradise beckons and offers residents and tourists a plethora of entertainment, scenic landscapes and a vibrant and entertaining vibe. Many websites call it South Africa’s favourite holiday destination and when exploring all it offers, it’s not hard to see why.


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