There are beautiful small towns in almost every country. And then there is Knysna - a quaint destination along the Knysna river shore in South Africa, which you may not have heard of before (neither had we) except from the mouths of seasoned travellers and some online reviews. But we were hooked by its raw beauty and the amazing outdoor activities in the vicinity.
A George-ous Pit Stop
While we were still dreamy from an enchanting journey along the Garden Route, our spirits awakened to the brilliance of a place short of Knysna called George. With picturesque houses on the foothills, and the Indian Ocean running parallel to the road, I was completely mesmerised by the habitation. When I found myself at a loss for words, I wondered if it was because I was a naïve traveller or truly, there were very few such locations in the world. But I was travelling with an expert – my husband. Having lived in London and explored Europe extensively, he conceded that this haven was more striking than many parts of Europe with the exception of Switzerland, of course. Ahem!
Finding Venice in South Africa
As we entered Knysna, I could feel the weather gods smile upon us. My eyes were glued to the stunning surroundings growing even more beautiful under the cloudy skies with sudden showers of light rains while the mist over the Knysna river added its own enigma to the setting. A scene straight out of a movie, it reminded me of Venice.
And just when I thought we would have our hideaway for the next three days somewhere in the town centre, our car turned towards a magnificent dockyard. So with an added skip in my step, we grabbed the keys to our accommodation, and thus began our most memorable break ever.
The Lodging With A View
Knysna Quays is one of the many lodgings that is within the harbour complex and offers a great view of the boats docked, over bridge, forest and mountains in the backdrop. You can also see some boat owners and couples who hire boats go for a ride along the harbour up to the river front.
The rooms were so cosy and warm, and kept us guessing “how” because we could not spot a heater or a fire place in sight. And when we walked around barefoot we realised there was an under-floor heating system in the entire apartment. Woohoo, technology never fails to wow me!
The English-style flat offered the comforts of a home. Since it was equipped with a fridge, washing machine, microwave oven and sleek cutlery, I could not resist myself from preparing some salami sandwiches with scrambled eggs on one of the days during our stay. Checkers, a food retailer around the corner, offers all the supplies you would need for home-cooked meals.
And now we come to my favourite part - running a hot water bath. A hot bath in this place is a triple whammy, melting away any stress that you carried with you from back home, leaving you meditative for the longest time. It is like a therapy for the mind and body and also eases any sore muscles post a long day of sightseeing or activities. Much recommended!
The Welcoming People
It beats me as to how humorous and light-hearted South Africans can be! No matter where you walk – on the streets, in restaurants, shops, cash counters – no one misses a chance to crack a joke or pull your leg. You feel less like a tourist and more like local running errands in the city. They welcome you with a smile and can be so courteous that you would be left humbled.