After a short trip on the Gautrain from Sandton to O.R Thambo international airport, we booked our bags in and took a 2 hour flight on a kulula.com. (This I might add was my 1st/virgin/maiden flight and I found it rather boring.) Landing at George on the beautiful coast of South Africa, we quickly made our way to get our rental car so we can start our now much reduced trip to Sedgefield. The trip out of George to wilderness is filled with mostly bland scenery but then you hit Wilderness.  Here the world starts to change from bland to beautiful forest and greenery and I spent my time gawking out the window taking in as much as I could for fear of missing something important.

 

This is God’s country.

 

From Wilderness to Knysna there was nothing that was not beautiful.  On day one we made sure to quickly book into our chalet and start exploring the amazing country side.

Monday consisted mostly of exploring but we soon found ourselves on the east head of the Knysna river mouth.

Peter leaning over to look around the east head at the Knynsa river mouth

 

 

After climbing the rocks and going as far around the mountain as possible on foot, we made our way back for a seafood lunch at Cornutti.  This is where the oyster eating started!

Oysters!

 

We also made sure to investigate the featherbed experience (that we got told about on the plane.) We booked two tickets for a 10:00 am tour on Tuesday.

After a short trip back to our chalet we had some rest and got ready to go out again, this time to explore the night life and sample the local cuisine.

So hence we made our way back to Knysna and found “34 degrees south” in the Knysna Harbour area. This was not quite a restaurant, more like a deli that serves dinner.  The atmosphere was amazing. We were seated next to some French tourists and Peter promptly gave them advice as to South African wine and food, which they took with a smile and a thank you.

Tuesday morning came and after a nice breakfast we travelled back from Sedgefield to Knysna.  Arriving at the harbour waiting to board the ferry, we got surrounded by Swedish, German and Dutch tourists that had booked the same trip.  It was wonderful listening to all the languages and knowing that people from across the world also get to experience our beautiful country.

Ferry trip to featherbed nature reserve

 

The trip from the dock to the nature reserve took 20 minutes which the tour guide filled with random information about Knysna’s history, the estuary and wildlife in the area. Arriving on at the nature reserve we were handed walking sticks and promptly had ourselves seated on a tractor train that would take us up the mountain.

Tractor taking us up the mountain

 

 

 

Again the trip up the mountain was filled with information about the nature reserve, the plants that grow there and some history.  This was topped off with the most spectacular view!

View of Knysna from Featherbed Nature reserve (West head)

 

Once we reached the top of the mountain, the tour guide gave us the option to either take a drive down or a 2.2 km hike.  We opted for the hike.  The trip down was steep but beautiful.  We were told to try spot a moss that grows on the plants in the reserve. This moss is called “old-man’s-beard”.  The reason it got called to our attention is because this moss can only grow and survive in areas where the air pollution is almost zero.

The rest of the hike consisted of lots of walking and conversations here and there with some of the other tourists.  (It is easy to make friends when we wear our Vibram 5 finger shoes, cause people tend to notice and ask about them. I call them my ice breaker shoes.)  Eventually we reached the bottom of the mountain and completed the walk with a stroll along the beach back to the restaurant.  At the end of the trail they have a foot bath that is filled with cold water and ice! AMAZING!  Once inside we were served a feast! Venison, beef, chicken, fish, calamari, veggies, breads, salads and to top it off we had ice cream and hot chocolate sauce for pudding.  It is amazing to see how a good walk can build up a storm of an appetite.

The 20 minute boat ride back to the featherbed company was uneventful and we spent it chatting to a couple from Bloemfontein who was on honeymoon as well.  (This particular couple caught our attention because the man did the entire hike down the mountain on crutches. He had torn ligaments when doing some stunt at his wedding)

Tuesday night we travelled to Thesen Island and tried out another restaurant called “Quay Four” where Peter had more oyster eating to do (and half a kilogram of prawns).

500g Prawns.. DONE!

 

Now for the Oysters!

 

This island is in the Knysna lagoon and is definitely a rich man’s playground.  The island has waterways to all the houses and boats can be docked right by your R3mil vacation home.

Wednesday showed its head rather quickly but this time round we took a drive past Knysna and headed up the south east coast past Plettenberg bay to the monkey and bird sanctuary’s.

Monkeyland Entrance

 

Monkeyland is actually a rehab for little monkey’s that used to be in overcrowded zoo’s or pets that were abandoned by their not so loving owners.  None of the monkeys in the sanctuary were ever wild monkeys.  Once inside you are told not to leave any sunglasses on your head or leave any lose items lying around, because the monkey will steal them.  This appeared to be true.  One little critter tried to steal an ice-cream out of Peter’s hand.

 

The bird sanctuary is right next door.  This is a giant bird cage that has been created over a piece of forest.

Birds of Eden

 

When you enter the cage you slowly start moving down walkways into a cool forest area and the smaller birds seem to prefer this space rather than the more open area closer to the canopy top.  There is a small stream that runs through the heart of the sanctuary and the sound of water makes for a calm cool experience. They have a wide variety of bird including flamingo, various species of parrots, loeries, blue crane, hornbill etc. This sanctuary had a couple of rescued birds as well.

 

Thursday we stayed in the chalet to recover and do what honeymooners do I guess.. like self medicating and recovering from the tummy bug we both picked up on Wednesday.  BIG SIGH (Thank God we had two bathrooms) Eventually Thursday night we decided that we had best go get something to eat.  On the way we took a bit of a late afternoon detour and ended up at Buffel’s bay.  The weather had started changing dramatically and thick rolling clouds of mist slowly made their way inland but eventually stopped and settled itself like an old dog settling in for a cold night. Making our way back to Knysna the air was cold and the same mist cloud was draped over the Knysna heads. It looked like a thick wool blanket.

 

Mist (Buffel’s bay)

 

Mist on the west head in Knysna

 

We ended up having dinner at a restaurant (again on Thesen Island) that only served starter portions.  This was rather interesting and offered us the opportunity to try lots of different dishes.

 

Friday was spent at the airport. (Still due to the tummy bug.)  We needed to be out of the chalet at 10:00am and could not get an earlier flight back to JHB. We were too afraid to go anywhere due to lack of toilet availability.  Thus staying at the airport seemed like a good idea because, they had air conditioning and clean bathrooms.  20:00 Friday night we boarded our plane back to JHB.

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