I’m feeling rather guilty about yesterday’s complaints about sleeping in a shed and the basic conditions at the Adventure Lodge. One night wasn’t too bad when you consider that there are people in the townships living in not much more every day of their lives.
We’ve passed plenty of townships of course, some right next to beautiful, well to do areas, like Kirstenbosch, but more usually on our way in or out of a town. They’re just a collection of shacks, buildings and no more than that. It’s when you see the people that they come to life.
Like today when we were driving out of Knysna on the N2. It was around 5pm and there were lots of people walking alongside they highway on their way home from work, miles up hill to the nearest township. And youngsters coming back from school. It’s a chastening sight, so I take back what I said about the shed!
The mists had returned to the Wild Farm when we got up this morning. We’d toyed with staying another night as it was such a beautiful place, but having scratched the planned trip to the Karoo, we decided to head up the coast to Knysna.
The town’s name comes from the Khoi word meaning “hard to find” as it was well into the 20th century. A major figure in its past was George Rex, an administrator in the early 1800s who was shunned by polite society when he took a coloured mistress.
He took himself off to Knysna to make a financial killing by shipping out hardwood. When he died in 1839, it was a major timber settlement attracting white labourers to fell the trees for little reward. They almost destroyed the forests until conservation measures were introduced in the 1880s.
The place was hard to get to as late as 1925 with the many passes between it and George 75kms away. George Bernard Shaw got so frustrated by the terrain that he did a little unscheduled off-road driving, crashing his car and landing Mrs Shaw in Knysna’s Royal Hotel for several weeks with a broken leg.
Today the place is on the up with a modern waterfront, shopping centre, good restaurants and expensive holiday developments.
After some retail therapy and lunch at the Drydock Food Co — mussels in a cream and garlic sauce for me — we drove round the lagoon to The Heads, the rocks that separate the lagoon from the Indian Ocean.
The view from the viewpoint is breathtaking as you can see from the photo which doesn’t do it justice.
It was while we were up there that we spotted some activity going on far below. Someone was carefully raking the sand and had also erected a white trellis arch. It looked like a wedding to us, so we decided to invite ourselves.
Some guesswork was required to navigate from point A high above to point B way below, but we managed it and I had a chat with the ubiquitous car guard about the birds that nested in the cliffs and how scared they were of the local hawk. He was a bright young lad who explained how he loved to watch them in the morning, but our exchange of views was cut short when Mrs and Miss P came back from changing into their cossies.
The beach was idyllic, with or without a wedding. The party had arranged for a trio of jah drummers to provide the wedding march. My daughter recognised the Khosa song as the bride arrived, one sung by a woman to her husband that translated roughly as: “I’ve given you my hands, I’ve given you my arms etc, what more can you take from me?”
I’m not sure if that was quite the sentiment the happy couple were looking for, but the bride was happy enough, even if the long white gown made her trip in the soft sand.
We left the wedding party early as we had to get to Storms River on the next leg of the trip. More follows soon.