Take N2 from Cape Town direction Plettenberg Bay and drive a couple of hours on the renowned Garden Route admiring the spectacular scenery. When you drive through George you know you’ve almost arrived. Knysna. Such a charming city with its isles, lagoons, leisure boats, fresh oysters and that famous gap that separates the lagoon from the Indian Ocean known as the Knysna Head.
We visited the city about a year ago and have returned recently. But between those two visits, a devastating fire swept through the town and its surrounding areas. We had seen the images on the news back in June, of course: images of ruined houses, complete hillsides covered with burnt trees. Over 1000 houses were destroyed, 10,000 people had to be evacuated and many of them lost everything they’ve ever owned. But it was not only people that needed help: taking care of wildlife that was left without food and shelter became a pressing issue as well.
Those luscious hills we had discovered on our first visit were replaced by a cemetery of dead black trees.
These are photos I took from about the same spot, before and after the fire:
The fire ridden scenery is heart-breaking. Abandoned burnt houses. Properties on sale everywhere.
The beach at Brenton-on-Sea is one of my favorite spots. A 5km white sandy beach stretching from Brenton-on-Sea to Buffels Bay is ideal for long walks or runs. The fynbos-covered dunes here were also destroyed by the fire.
But, luckily, life continues in Knysna. The town must carry on.
Fresh fish and those very famous Knysna oysters are one of the best things the city has to offer.
Knysna lies 34° South of the Equator. The name of the city is assumed to be a Khoikhoi word who were the indigenous inhabitants of the region.
Tourism is Knysna’s main industry. The city is so welcoming, its shopkeepers, gallery owners are happy to see tourists again.
We had fun strolling the streets on Saturday morning when locals were busy with their grocery shopping.
The city is ready to receive visitors. So come help Knysna rise from its ashes. We will surely be back again.