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Published: July 14th 2016
Tour boats in Knysna Lagoon
Beautiful morning on calm waters
We were allowed time for an hour’s extra sleep this morning, or at least time for lolling around in this very modern Protea Hotel Knysna Quays
Since we are on the waterfront, we walked the five minutes to “The Spirit of Knysna”, a tour boat that quietly motored over to the Feather Bed Nature Reserve
, a privately owned conservation park. The eighty tourists from the boat got onto two vehicles: tractors pulling two trailers with bench seats. Slowly and with care the tractors hauled us up a steep road to the top of the “heads” above the mouth of the Knysna River. The sky was blue. The sea was turquoise, splashing white surf across dark orange and black rocks! Classic and forever beautiful!
A guide led us along the path, with no commentary, except answering questions. Our walk was through the original Afro-Montane Rainforest, on a well-groomed path furnished with rock steps for the steepest parts. Judy and I meandered at the back, looking at flowers, greenery and rocks (Judy’s passion). No picking of anything was allowed, including the rocks. Two optional paths presented some hiking challenges - well worth the large rocks and elevation. One path went to “The Needle”, an outcrop that afforded
From the "Needle"
heart-pounding views of the sea and cliffs. The other path led through a series of caves hollowed out to multi-storey heights by millennia of wave action. The rock above was rough, and orangey in colour. Judy and I dawdled along the path, unable to resist more and more photos.
When we again arrived at the quay, there was an excellent buffet lunch that included roast lamb, butternut (South Africans don’t use the word squash), sweet potato, and irresistible sweet little tomatoes. Also great black olives – perhaps grown in the south, because further north the olives were not tasty. I joined the coterie of ladies on our tour who drink gin and tonic.
The rest of the afternoon was free. Most of us longed for a nap - after three weeks our energy is sagging. Nevertheless, I limited myself to resting for the time it took to drink two cups of green tea, then I headed out for the market. The directions were to head straight up the street away from the Quay to the main road and turn right. As it happens, Duane meant, go to Main Road. I got confused as to which road was the
main one and turned one block too early. Just as well – when I found it, the market wasn’t much more than a tourist trap. The road I did turn on was much more in the character of the towns-people.
A block down was the taxi rank, i.e., central station for all taxi routes. Taxis (vans) are licensed to carry passengers on certain routes, preventing once-common fights over service routes. In this rank, signs above the parking stalls indicated the routes. Around the outside were vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables, convenient for taking home in the evening. A few were selling single crops from the back of their pick-up trucks, for example tomatoes and beautiful cauliflower. On two sides were big shopping malls anchored by Checkers and ShopRite, two big grocery chains.
I had hoped to buy some water from a small shop; instead, I gathered my courage to go to the grocery store. It was set out much as in Johannesburg, except possibly for the excessive displays of junk food. I found the water and some peanuts for snacking in the bus. The line-ups at the cashiers were about six deep, and the one I picked
had an extremely slow electronic response to one customer. At last I got to the till – the language the cashier spoke was Afrikaans, much more prevalent in Western Cape Province than in other provinces. Still I managed to understand and say no to a plastic bag (brought my own) and to give her a bill big enough. Pleasurable success!
At the hotel I had another short rest, then went swimming in the heated salt pool, using my new bathing suit cover-up. Elizabeth came a bit later. Then back to the room to shower. The hotel staff brought my laundry. Finally, we had dinner at a near-by restaurant – much better than last night.
Dinner: sautéed calamari (tender and peppery), pan-fried hake (similar or same peppery rub), crisp julienned vegetables, excellent “dirty rice” (rice and beans), large serving of apple strudel, and a glass of Leopard’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc – getting to like it very much – will look for it at home.
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