Anne and I had a perfect day exploring the absolutely stunning city of Knysna. Although it is a pretty small town, there was enough to see and to keep us busy the entire time we were here! Knysna really has everything—like I mentioned in my last post, they have a large township just minutes from the center of town but the town also has its share of wealth—I was shocked by the amount of very nice cars driving around the city—BMWs, Mercedes, and Audis were everywhere! It is definitely a vacation city for a lot of people with the money as they have their second homes along with their yachts in the harbor. Other than just the vast differences in the people here, the landscape seems to have everything as well! From the center of town it is just a few minutes walk to the waterfront and just a few miles a down the main road is the countryside (with horses of course), all of which is set with the mountains in the background… it is stunning here!
We started our exploration of Knysna by walking towards the waterfront—getting a feel for the city and looking at many of the shops along the way. We got lucky and had a picture perfect day weather-wise as both the day we arrived and today (the day we left Knysna) were rainy and a bit cold—but our full day in Knysna was sunny and bright. We got down to the waterfront and were both just blown away by how absolutely gorgeous the lagoon area was. It is actually considered one of the best estuaries in the world—an estuary is where freshwater and saltwater meet offering a large variety of sea life. We took an hour-and-a-half cruise on a ferry out between the heads and enjoyed lunch aboard the ship. With the perfect weather, the cruise and views were fantastic! Unfortunately my camera died during the cruise (despite being only about a year old, it had definitely gotten its fair use) so when we got back to shore we were on a camera hunt… luckily we didn’t have an itinerary or anything specific to do for the day! After looking at about the only camera store that was in the city, I was fortunate to find one of decently good quality for a semi-reasonable price. Surprisingly, we were directly first to the pharmacy for a camera and I thought the guy was crazy but they literally sell cameras at the pharmacy here—weird. They had a very limited selection however and the cameras that they had available were about 6 megapixels for about 300 dollars… a bit ridiculous! But then we found the camera shop and although it was a bit more expensive compared to home, it was much more reasonable… and the camera was of much better quality! So I am once again a happy camper and have a new, working camera that will hopefully survive the rest of the trip!
After the camera hunt we decided to check out the oyster festival that started yesterday.., an event (arguably the largest all year for Knysna) that the entire city partakes in. Just a few minutes walk from the hostel was a carnival with the largest dog show that takes place in South Africa all year going on. We watched that for awhile before checking out the fair. The fair was similar to a county fair with small rides, games, booths, and of course fair-like food. We splurged and had some crepes and a spare rib sandwich… so I sort of got my fill of the state fair this year or at least the food portion of it! We walked around town some more looking at all of the festival-like activities and decided it was only proper to participate in the event ourselves—as when else in our lifetimes would we be in Knysna for the Oyster festival. So we each tried a wild oyster… raw and all. I can’t say that I would ever order oyster off the menu but at least it was an experience! We were stuffed when dinner time rolled around so we opted out of dinner and decided that dessert would suffice—and it sure did! We each had a warm waffle with syrup and ice cream… it seems to be a fairly common dessert here in Africa.
Knysna was fabulous—a nice way of breaking up the trip between Jeffrey’s Bay and Cape Town and a much better way to spend off-days rather than simply hanging around on the farm (although I miss all of the animals and people already!).
I’m currently in route to Cape Town via the Baz Bus (with my USB internet I am even able to use internet on the bus!). South Africa is a lot larger than I thought as just this portion of the drive itself is nine hours long. It may sound long and it certainly is—but the views are incredible. We are driving along the garden route, which is situated between the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other so I can assure you that the views make the long ride just a bit better!
Next stop: Cape Town… but only for a night! Tomorrow morning I head out on my tour of the garden route so I head right back to Jeffrey’s Bay and the Port Elizabeth area but spending much more time in the cities and such along the way!
Only 438 more km to Cape Town!
Before you start feeling too bad for me because of the long drive (just kidding)… here is a glimpse of the views 🙂