i was actually trying to remember when last i was in knysna. it turns out it must have been so long ago that i can’t actually remember at all. i know as a kid my dad loved schlepping us along the ‘garden route’ at any given opportunity. i say ‘schlepping’ because traveling with my dad as a kid was not fun. a ‘tour guide’ by nature his idea of fun was seeing as many places possible in as little time as possible. my dad felt nothing traveling 4 hours to go & see a monument that no-one had ever heard of in the middle of nowhere only to have to then turn around & travel 4 hours back…. enough to make anyone freak out! as kids all we wanted to do was spend days (the ‘s’ being the operative letter here) on the same beach where we could make friends & arrange to meet again the next day. no such luck in our world. every day meant starting all over again – having said that maybe that’s why my sister & i are so good at meeting people!


anyhow back to the story at hand. so yes, i have visited knysna, probably quite a few times but probably all fleeting visits, hence not being able to recall actual time frames – so boy was i in for a surprise when i got there. what i do remember though is that on our travels knysna was always a place we visited but more like ‘passed through’ on our way to plett. plett always being the final destination. well you cannot even compare the two places now. knysna has just blossomed into a magnificent, beautifully kept town, whereas plett just seems so rundown and rather depressing actually. i revisited one of our old family haunts – the beacon isle hotel – whilst one definitely cannot fault the location which is totally breath-taking even on the overcast day we were there – the minute we entered the lobby & heard the g-d awful music playing over the sound system we knew things had gone a miss!!!! i had a friend who always used to refer to the inhabitants of where she lived (kingston-upon-thames) as the ‘blue-rinse brigade’… well let’s just say i believe the beacon isle is where they vacation!

the drive itself from cape town is spectacular in its own right. it’s also looooong. much longer than the 4 hours we were told by a friend who quite clearly has rocket fuel in his car & drives like a bat out of hell – i will take this up with him personally (you know who you are!!!!!). but, if time is on your side (it’s not when you have a toddler in the car!!!) then it’s worth every minute!

we stopped off in swellendam which was just charming. sadly i never took any pictures but we will definitely be going back there. apparently there are great places to stay & lovely restaurants. it looked gorgeous – watch this space….

in knysna we stayed in this amazing new development called ‘thesen island’. it really is stunning – a bit too ‘stepford wivesish’ for me but great for a short vacation. having said that we were there out of season so a lot of the homes were empty which was great because you really are on top of each other & when it’s packed, well let’s just say i could imagine quite a few embarrassing moments – having said that if you are coming in from london you will find it extremely spacious! πŸ˜‰ it’s a super holiday destination for families – if you are looking for a ‘romantic getaway’ i suggest you find out who your neighbours are first! it seems to be a seriously popular destination so booking in advance is essential. it really is an amazing development – beautifully done – with a serious price tag. always one to check out property prices i took a look around – 2 bed houses start at approx. R3,8 million with sea-facing houses around R10 million onwards…. a friend of ours was looking to buy on the island but after being given a 50 page ‘rule book’ he decided to give it a miss! it’s got extremely high security & you feel very safe.

what does deserve a mention is the bakery on thesen island ‘ile de pain’…. oh my lordy lord!!!!! i felt like i was right back in london sitting at le pain quotidien – in fact i would hazard a guess that the person who opened this worked at le pain at some stage – but this is one ‘copy’ i don’t mind as when i bit into that pain au chocolat i actually thought i’d died and gone to heaven – in fact i would quite gladly drive the 6 hours to knysna just to have breakfast there. fortunately / sadly it was just minutes walking distance from our house which meant i put on at least 3 kgs in 4 days!!!!!

also, a friend recommended an excellent pizzeria which as it turned out used to be our favourite pizzeria in johannesburg when we were growing up – cornuti’s in illovo. what a fabulous surprise to find it had opened in knysna & that it was still owned by the same family and still serving the best pizza in town! the view from the restuarant is so spectacular it’s stupendous – speaking of ‘stupid’ i sadly left my camera at home that day so don’t have any pictures of it but i will definitely be going back there to take more!

the hotel on thesen island is called ‘the turbine’ – super funky & super stunning. it was love at first site for me. amazing to see this kind of style, attention to detail & decor in this town – very london east end or new york meat-packing district – definitely the best designed hotel i have seen in this country. the staff were really friendly & professional. rather amazingly we found out that the hotel is privately owned by the same guys who own ‘walkersons’ in dullstroom – whilst i adore walkersons i must say the two hotels are like chalk & cheese. basically it’s the original power station for the area that has been amazingly restored into a really fabulous 5* boutique style hotel. we will definitely be going back there – sans toddler!

and so, as i am sure you have gathered, i have totally fallen in love with knysna. you don’t hear people talking about it very often…. now i know why! πŸ˜‰

(ok, i have attempted to upload a ‘slideshow’…. this is serious high tech beyond my brain capacity kind of stuff – so please let me know if it doesn’t load!)

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