Welcome to another edition of The Shape of The Cape with your host Julescape. Here we are today with a further look at the tourist town of Knysna, situated at the heart of the Garden Route region along the south Cape coast of Africa. The weather is just beautiful at this time of year and those who know about it are here from EU and all over the world to enjoy the scenery and bask in the sunshine.

Holiday accommodation for the discerning traveler
Holiday accommodation for the discerning traveler

It’s hard to say just how #coronavirus will affect global travel this year. It could put a slowdown on our flights, particularly to some destinations. Italy, South Korea and China are quarantined so they are off the list of destinations for the moment. Flying in general is also to be limited, as a precaution, but so far South Africa has not reported any cases of #covid-19. It is of course still early days in the pandemic or global epidemic. Let’s see where this goes in coming months. But if current statistics are anything to go by, this particular form of SARS virus is a bad one and the entire global economy could slow down and the global recession could finally arrive.

Guesthouse with a view of the Knysna Heads where estuary runs out to the Indian Ocean
Guesthouse with a view of the Knysna Heads where estuary runs out to the Indian Ocean

Still, globetrotters will trot on and seek out new vistas to explore, and Knysna holiday town is a worthwhile place to add to your list of destinations, in my opinion. I took a walk around the estuary and found numerous picturesque scenes, as well as restaurants and African curio shops catering to tourists. At the Knysna Heads, the place where the lagoon or estuary runs out to sea, made for a particularly good place to explore, with all its caves.

Wild guinea fowl roaming around in groups have free range
Wild guinea fowl roaming around in groups have free range

The Waterfront as it’s called, is a tourist hotspot with plenty of attractions to admire. Although we are in Africa, Knysna displays an element of the first world that is also present here. South Africa is quite a mixture and the economic divide between rich and poor is possibly one of the greatest in the world, some like to say. Here you will find some of the smartest houses in the country, owned by millionaires, while simultaneously just a stone’s throw away you can see the shacks of squatters or the small houses built by the government for some of the working class, or lower income bracket.

I love maps & here’s one of the Knysna estuary or lagoon
I love maps & here’s one of the Knysna estuary or lagoon

On my tour, I found some bicycles for hire, which looked like a great idea. You can get them at the Thesen Island waterfront area, and cycle around there exploring the sites. So the place is geared around tourism generally and makes for a valuable place to explore. It makes a change from my usual off the beaten track destinations and was great for a change, with its more mainstream and traditional tourist feel to it. Knysna is open to tourist activity all year long and even has big festivities throughout the winter, which is also a holiday season here, being in line with the summer up in the northern hemisphere.

Hire some wheels to take you places
Hire some wheels to take you places

You can even pick up some African curios to take back home with you from the waterfront area, like this giant elephant wood carving – if you can get it into your luggage that is. You may need to post it. Knysna used to be the home of indigenous elephants decades ago, when the forest was more prolific, but it has dwindled with urban development and the forest has been used up for timber, while the elephants can only been seen in sanctuaries not far from the town itself. So you could add a little elephant tour on top of your sight-seeing if you with.

Sideways but still majestic
Sideways but still majestic

It’s actually impressive that both the whale and the elephant – the two biggest mammals in the world – are advertised here and can still be seen on occasion if you are at the right place at the right time of year. Such is the awesomeness and majesty of this little seaside town on the south Cape coast of Africa, so I heartily recommend a visit when you next plan your travel itinerary. Come and catch a sight of the two giants of the planet in one area, possibly the only area in the world where this is possible.

Artistic display of the majestic whale
Artistic display of the majestic whale

Come and see the real thing in winter Aug-Nov
Come and see the real thing in winter Aug-Nov