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SOUTH AFRICA | Tuesday, 26 March 2013 | Views [724]

And so we arrived in Knysna (pronounced Nyzna). The drizzly rain we had driving here cleared up and the afternoon was dry, although still cloudy. Arriving at Jembjo’s hostel, we put our bags in the dorm and headed out to see the sights. This is the first place we have been able to get out and explore a town with shops and restaurants and we wasted no time in doing so.

Knysna is a small town and the walk along the peninsula to Thiesen Island took no time at all. We stopped to have a tapas lunch and were torn between a traditional South African dish of meatballs (which was delicious), oysters (for which Knysna is famous) and a seafood paella. That is the great thing about tapas, we get to try them all - which we did. We wandered into curio shops and little art galleries, strolled past boats on the lagoon and admired the waterfront properties which are a mix of residential and holiday homes. If its beaches you’re looking for then you will need to travel a short way out of Knysna but if it’s a town full of personality and perfectly safe to wander around, then you have definitely arrived at the right place.

Out on the pier signs alert fishermen to the type and quantity of certain fish they are permitted to catch, as well as those which they are not. Whilst travelling around South Africa I have noticed there is a conscious effort to preserve, improve and protect the natural resources that make up this wonderful country. From wildlife management and conservation to recycling and replanting, it is heartening to watch people looking after and enhancing their environment.

Jembjo’s is a great little hostel with a warm, friendly feel and conveniently situated a stone’s throw from the waterfront and shopping areas. Aside from the usual grocery stores (of which Pick n Pay is the most popular) the surrounding shops are somewhat reminiscent of a Mediterranean town. Pavement cafés and restaurants interspersed with boutique-style shops, musicians playing on a small central bandstand and a sense of unhurriedness. I couldn’t think of a better place to enjoy my café latte and muffin. Looking around, I can’t help but think how some of the scenery here would be an amazing movie location.

If you are thinking that I have fallen in love with Knysna, you would be right. I am sorry that we only have one night here but certain that if the opportunity ever arose, I would, without doubt, be back for much longer.I have the feeling that if I could paint, my art would find vibrancy here. If I could write, inspired volumes would effortlessly materialise and if song-writing was my craft, a natural rhythm would permeate each line. However, for now at least, I am merely a daydreaming backpacker passing through.

Our little group has totally fragmented, at the moment, so it was great to meet up with Veerle last night who is staying with friends not far away. When you are travelling in the same direction, it is amazing how you can wave goodbye to your Baz Buds, only to bump into them some days later. Facebook is proving to be an excellent means of communication!

Today the sun is struggling to make an appearance as we drive down to Wilderness where I am really looking forward to spending 3 nights in the same place. While it is great to see so many places and break up an otherwise exceedingly long journey, unpacking a few items and getting some laundry done holds quite an appeal right now. I do hope this dorm will be small. I have discovered that I am not a fan of large mixed dorms! There is always an air of anticipation as the bus arrives at new destinations, especially if it’s a different hostel in the same place you are going. Did you choose well? Is this a place you wish you had/had not booked? Is it a good location? So far, whilst each hostel has been very different, they have all had some merits.

Passing through Sedgefield, I saw a sign (which rather nicely fits in with today’s blog) that read as follows:  SEDGEFIELD
Cittaslow-Slow Town


A quality of life for all

Living a healthy lifestyle

Looking after our elderly

Preserving traditional food

Caring for our environment

Community decision making

Having community networks

Promoting unique town events

Encouraging our young people

Working for a sustainable future

Taking time for leisure & pleasure

Preserving the heritage of our town

Controlled growth and urban planning

Encouraging awareness and education

Promoting local markets & unique products

Community & council working together

Creating a people friendly urban environment

Supporting our local products & businesses.

That can’t be a bad mandate for a town to aspire to follow!

Tags: art, artists, backpacking, baz bus, fishing, harbour, knysna, pick n pay, pledge

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