The first time I saw Knysna was on our honeymoon when Che and I drove through it en route to the Wild Coast. We stopped for a few hours to meet with Che’s sister and her boyfriend and returned some years later, to get to know it better.
Sitting atop one of The Heads I marvelled at the clear waters of the lagoon, the oyster beds, clearly visible from my high vantage point, and wondered about the people who lived on Leisure Isle, with its luxury homes, as a self-contained paradise in the middle of the pristine blue waters.
At this time Knysna was a small town, lovely, hidden away like a pearl protected by the shell-like arms of The Heads with shops along the main road and no mall. Residents had to travel to the bigger town of George to get the big household items, 70kms away.
Che and I have returned many times to visit with his sister and her family. We’ve seen Knysna grow into the large town it now is, and from 1500kms away we saw, with horror and sadness, as most of it was razed by wildfires last year.
Nature is tenacious and so are humans. We grow and adapt and have a tendency to rally together during tough times to rebuild. Which is what has happened with Knysna.