South Africa Day 6: Knysna

3 Mar

Knysna (pronounced Nighz-na) is considered the gateway to the Garden Route along the southern South African coast. It’s an old sawmill town turned into tourism Mecca.

A lot of people use this town as a jumping-off spot for day trips to caverns or ostrich farms. I decided to just mellow out and see what I could see by foot.

(See today’s photo gallery for shots of “the heads,” an old cemetery and my room here in Knysna.)

I set out walking this morning as intermittent raindrops were falling. Because it was still a little warm, it was quite muggy.

I wasn’t more than a half-mile or so out when I discovered an old cemetery that had obviously fallen on hard times. I’m fascinated by places like this, imagining the lives of people born back in the 1800s. At least a few had actually been buried at sea, probably while making a trip to or from Europe.

Several grave markers had been toppled over, while others were eroded away so badly by the passage of time and the elements that they were no longer readable. Peahens wandered around pecking at the ground.

From there it was a rather long slog past some marshes and out to the “Eastern head.” This was one half of the narrow inlet between the open ocean (the Indian Ocean now) and the lagoon on which the town of Kynsna sits.

From the rocks on the head I watched as a surf fisherman reeled in about a two-foot-long shark. “That’s not what I’m fishing for,” he said. He said a much larger one had broken off a while earlier. He reeled of a few species he was after, but I didn’t catch the names.

From there I trudged up to the top of the head for a view back toward Knysna. I was one tired puppy, having walked probably five miles by that time. I looked so ragged that a kind horse wrangler in a pickup pulled over to offer me a lift back into town. Yay!

Up next: I’ll wander around Knysna again in the morning before catching an early-afternoon bus over to Port Elizabeth. I probably won’t have any report tomorrow, except perhaps another beer-tasting roundup 🙂 . Then it’s safari time on Saturday.

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