An aerial view of Knysna and its waterfront area, with the lagoon visible in the background to the right
|• Total||108.77 km2 (42.00 sq mi)|
|• Density||470/km2 (1,200/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2011)|
|• Black African||42.8%|
|First languages (2011)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (SAST)|
|Postal code (street)|
Knysna ( // ; probably from a Khoisan word meaning "place of wood" or roughly "fern leaves") is a town with 85,708 inhabitants as of 2019 in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and is part of the Garden Route. It lies 34 degrees south of the equator, and is 55 kilometres east from the city of George on the N2 highway, and 33 kilometres west of the town of Plettenberg Bay on the same road.
Little is known about the indigenous inhabitants of Knysna, the Khoikhoi. The area east of present-day George was separated by high mountains and deep gorges, making it virtually inaccessible to European travellers.
Nevertheless, the first Europeans arrived in the area in 1760, and the farm Melkhoutkraal (literally translating from Afrikaans as 'milk wood kraal’) was established on the eastern shore of the Knysna Lagoon. Stephanus Terblans, the first European farmer to settle in the area, was given a loan permit to farm here in 1770.
Upon moving to Knysna George Rex, a British-born entrepreneur credited as being the founder of Knysna, acquired the loan rights to Melkhoutkraal in 1804 and later, in 1816, to the farm Welbedacht, which he renamed Eastford. 80 acres (32 ha) of Eastford to the Colonial Government, on which the Royal Navy established the township of Melville. Rex’s properties were sold when he died in 1839.He gave
In April 1817, the transport brig Emu, belonging to the Cape Town Dockyard, was the first European vessel to enter the Knysna heads. She struck a rock, now known as Emu Rock, and was holed. Podargus arrived to render assistance. After surveying the area, Podargus sailed safely into the Knysna and retrieved Emu's cargo.Her crew ran Emu ashore to prevent her sinking. In late April HMS
The next major settler in Knysna was Captain Thomas Henry Duthie, who married Caroline, George Rex’s daughter, and bought a portion of the Uitzigt farm from his father-in-law which Rex had named Belvidere.The construction of a small Norman-style church was commissioned by Duthie on his property, and was consecrated in 1855. The settlement’s population grew slowly, and Englishmen such as Henry Barrington and Lt. Col. John Sutherland, who established the settlement of Newhaven on a portion of purchased land, settled in the area. At the time, Knysna was a field cornetcy of Plettenberg Bay within the Magisterial Division of George. In 1858, Knysna became a separate Magisterial Division, new stores and accommodation facilities were opened, and Knysna became the new commercial centre of the region.
On their way to New Zealand, the Thesen family who were travelling from Norway fancied the little hamlet of Knysna so much that they decided to stay, bringing with them their knowledge of commerce and sailing. Soon, timber was being exported to the Cape from the vast areas of forest surrounding Knysna, and a steam sawmill and small shipyard were established. Later, these were relocated to Paarden Island, later known as Thesen's Island.
In 1878, an important discovery was made in the area. A gold nugget was found in the Karatara River, near Ruigtevlei. Soon fortune hunters from all over the world arrived at the Millwood Forest in search of gold, and Millwood grew into a bustling town. Millwood was declared a gold field, the first in South Africa. However, soon not enough gold was being recovered to sustain a growing town, and the mining industry in the area collapsed. Some miners relocated to Knysna, bringing their little homes with them. One of the houses, known as 'Millwood House', now functions as a museum.
By 1880 over 1000 people had settled in Knysna.In 1882, the settlements of Newhaven, Melville and the "wedge" of land between the two villages were amalgamated to form the municipality of 'The Knysna', named after the Knysna River.
Knysna's timber industry peaked when George Parkes arrived from Britain and saw the opportunity to use the hardwoods of the Knysna Forest for export to elsewhere in the country, and even overseas. He established the Knysna Forest Company, later renamed Geo. Parkes and Sons Ltd., which is still trading to this day.
On June 7, 2017, fueled by strong winds from a severe storm - the Cape Storm of 2017- coming in from the west, a fire swept through the town and surrounding areas. Killing 9 as a direct result of the fires and another 2 indirectly and displacing around 10,000 people from all walks of life.One Forensic Investigator believes the fire was caused by arson.
The town is primarily built on the northern shore of a large warm-water estuary, known as the Knysna Lagoon, which is fed by the Knysna River. The estuary opens to the ocean after passing between two large headlands. These are popularly known as "The Heads", and have become infamous due to the loss of boats and fishermen passing through their treacherous and unpredictable waters. The Paquita, a German vessel, sank on the eastern side of the Knysna Heads in 1903. Near them are geological formations, known locally as "The Map Stones." To the north of Knysna, Afro-Montane or temperate rainforest covers the hilly terrain for 20 km until changing to fynbos or macchia high in the Outeniqua Mountains. The eastern head is heavily developed, while the western head is a private nature reserve, formerly owned by teacher and television presenter William Smith. which he inherited from his father, famed ichthyologist J. L. B. Smith.
Knysna has an oceanic climate (Cfb in the Köppen climate classification). Summers are warm and winters mild to chilly. During the summer, the average maximum temperature reaches about 25 °C (77 °F) and rarely goes above 30 °C (86 °F). The average maximum temperature during the winter months ranges in the area of 16 °C (61 °F) to 17 °C (63 °F). Knysna has one of the richest rainfall percentages in South Africa with the wettest time of year being between June and August. Knysna stays green in all seasons, and its temperate climate makes it a tourist destination all year round.
|Climate data for Knysna|
|Average high °C (°F)||26|
|Average low °C (°F)||15|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||62.4|
|Average rainy days||14||12||14||12||9||10||10||12||12||14||13||13||145|
|Mean daily sunshine hours||10||10||9||8||7||7||8||8||9||9||9||9||9|
|Source 1: World Weather Online|
|Source 2: Holiday Weather.com|
The town is a popular destination for both tourists and senior citizens entering retirement, especially among the British and former expatriates due to the year-round warm climate. Recently, the town has also become a preferred destination among golfers, as the town boasts several world class golf courses, including Pezula Golf Course, Simola Golf Course and the well established Knysna Golf Course situated on the lagoon. It is near the towns of Plettenberg Bay and George, where there are airports. Knysna is also home to Mitchell's Brewery although the company no longer brews beers in the town. The forest, rivers, estuary, and ocean surrounding the town are dotted with hiking trails and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. Hikers, runners, kayakers, swimmers, and fishermen are known to be particularly fond of Knysna.
Knysna hosts a variety of annual events, which draw local and international visitors alike. Such events include the Knysna Oyster Festival in late June and/or early July; the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras at the end of April and/or beginning of May; the Knysna Speed Festival takes place in the first week of May, the highlight of the week being the Simola Hillclimb, currently sponsored by Jaguar South Africa. The Rastafarian Earth Festival takes place at the end of July, celebrating Rastafarian religion, culture and lifestyle.
The Knysna Oyster Festival, held annually in late June/early July, is the town's biggest event. The duration of the festival is ten days. It was first held in 1983. Approximately 200,000 oysters are consumed over the 10-day period. Many sporting activities take place, such as rugby, golf, bowls, squash, cycling and marathons. The Knysna Forest Marathon and Half Marathon, as well as the Rotary Cycle Tour, draw many sporting enthusiasts to the town.
The best-known hillclimb event in South Africa is held annually in early May during the Knysna Speed Festival, currently known as The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb. 1.9 km (1.2 mi) up Simola Hill. It is very fast with the 2016 winning average speed being 176.991 km/h (109.977 mph).[ citation needed ]. 2017 will be the eighth running of the event which was founded in 2009. There was no event in 2013.It is a three-day event, with Classic Car Friday reserved for cars built prior to 1980 and restricted to 60 entries. The King of the Hill Challenge (limited to 84 entries), for unrestricted cars in various classes, takes place over the weekend. The Saturday is for practice and pre-qualifying, while Sunday features the "hot" cars taking on final qualifying and the final runs. The course length is
The Knysna municipality assumed a coat of arms in 1959, and registered them with the Cape Provincial Administration on 24 June 1960.
The arms, which were designed by Ivan Mitford-Barberton, are: Quarterly, I Or a white horse's head couped at the neck proper; II Azure a fern frond in bend sinister Argent; III Azure a yellowwood tree Or; IV Or an elephant's head caboshed proper (in layman's terms: the shield is quartered, 1 a white horse's head on a gold background, 2 a silver fern frond on a blue background, 3 a yellowwood tree on a blue background and 4 an elephant's head on a gold background). The crest is a sailing ship, and the motto Concilio et prudentia.
The Knysna divisional council (the local authority for the rural areas outside the town) assumed a coat of arms in 1961 and registered them with the provincial administration on 28 July 1961.
The arms, designed by Schalk Pienaar, were: Per saltire, I Or on a mount Vert a stinkwood tree proper; II & III Argent three bars wavy Azure; IV Vert the brig Knysna proper the sails charged with two lions rampant Gules and pennants flotant Azure. In layman's terms: the shield is divided into four sections by two diagonal lines, the top section displays a stinkwood tree on a golden background, the left and right sections display three wavy blue stripes against a silver background, and the bottom section displays a brig named 'Knysna' with red lions on the sails and a blue pennant flying from the mast. The motto was Pulchra terra Dei donum.
Plettenberg Bay, nicknamed Plet or Plett, is the primary town of the Bitou Local Municipality in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. As of the census of 2001, there were 29,149 population. It was originally named Bahia Formosa by early Portuguese explorers and lies on South Africa's Garden Route 210 km from Port Elizabeth and about 600 km from Cape Town.
The Garden Route is a 300-kilometre (190 mi) stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa which extends from Witsand in the Western Cape to the border of Tsitsikamma Storms River in the Eastern Cape. The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous estuaries and lakes dotted along the coast. It includes towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Mossel Bay, Great Brak River, Little Brak River, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Nature's Valley; with George, the Garden Route's largest city and main administrative centre. Recently the towns of Albertinia, Riversdale, Heidelberg, Ladismith, Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn, De Rust and Uniondale have been added to the Garden Route district and municipality.
Bitou Local Municipality is a municipality part of Garden Route District Municipality located in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Its municipality code is WC047.
Swellendam is the third oldest town in South Africa, a town with 17,537 inhabitants situated in the Western Cape province. The town has over 50 provincial heritage sites, most of them buildings of Cape Dutch architecture. Swellendam is situated on the N2, approximately 220 km from both Cape Town and George.
The N2 is a national route in South Africa that runs from Cape Town through Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban to Ermelo. It is the main highway along the Indian Ocean coast of the country. Its total distance of 2,255 kilometres (1,401 mi) makes it the longest numbered route in South Africa.
George is the second largest city in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The city is a popular holiday and conference centre and the administrative and commercial hub and the capital city of the Garden Route.
The Knysna-Amatole montane forests ecoregion, of the Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests Biome, is in South Africa. It covers an Afromontane area of 3,100 square kilometres (1,200 sq mi) in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces.
The Afromontane regions are subregions of the Afrotropical realm, one of the Earth's eight biogeographic realms, covering the plant and animal species found in the mountains of Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula. The Afromontane regions of Africa are discontinuous, separated from each other by lower-lying areas, and are sometimes referred to as the Afromontane archipelago, as their distribution is analogous to a series of sky islands.
Nature's Valley is a holiday resort and small village on the Garden Route along the southern Cape coast of South Africa. Nature's Valley lies between the Salt River, the foothills of the Tsitsikamma Mountains, the Indian Ocean and the Groot River lagoon. Nature's Valley has a balmy climate and is surrounded by the de Vasselot Nature Reserve which is part of the Tsitsikamma Park, and in turn part of the Garden Route National Park.
George Rex was a British-born entrepreneur who spent most of his adult life in the Cape Colony, South Africa. He founded the town of Knysna in the Western Cape and played a key role in its development. Rex filled a number of positions in the Cape Colony – including Marshal of the Vice-admiralty Court, notary public to the Governor and advocate for the Crown – before settling on the farm Melkhoutkraal, in the Knysna district. George Rex was the alleged first son of King George III.
Sedgefield is a coastal town on the Garden Route in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is situated on the N2 national road, between George and Knysna.
Christopher Harison was a British military officer and forestry official in South Africa. He served as Conservator of Forests and was an authority on forest practice in the region.
Charles Wilhelm Thesen was a Norwegian-born South African shipowner and timber merchant who played a leading role in the public affairs of the South African town of Knysna. He was actively involved in the timber and shipbuilding industry of the region, and acquired Paarden Island in the Knysna Lagoon, on which he built a sawmill and shipyard. The island was later renamed Thesen Island, after him and his family.
Knysna Yacht Club,or simply the KYC is a sailing club located in town of Knysna,on the Indian Ocean coast of South Africa.
Captain Thomas Henry Duthie was a Scottish member of the 72nd Highlanders who arrived in Cape Town, South Africa in 1826 and was stationed at the Castle of Good Hope.
Comte Médéric de Vasselot de Régné was a French-born forest officer trained at the National School of Forestry in Nancy, France, and appointed as Superintendent of Woods and Forests in South Africa in 1880. Médéric and his elder brother Marin Gabriel were sons of Jean Gabriel Charles Auguste de Vasselot de Régné (1780–1842) and Eugénie Gabrielle Elisabeth Selima Vasselot de la Chesnaye (1807–1879).
Millwood in South Africa was the site of a short-lived gold rush in the 1880s. Millwood Mining Village was located in the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains near Knysna and had a population of a few hundred at the height of its small-scale mining activity which lasted only five years, largely due to the difficulty of following the vein in much-folded formations.
Henry Frederick Francis Adair Barrington, was a South African lawyer, farmer and member of Parliament.
Voortrekker is a 50-foot (15 m) racing yacht that became famous for placing first on handicap in the 1968 Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race and for placing second in the 1982/83 BOC Challenge despite being 14 years old and considered obsolete.
Emu (sometimes "His Majesty's armed brig Emu", was a merchant ship built at Dartmouth in 1813. The British government engaged her to go out to New South Wales to serve the colony there. She spent about a year transporting people and supplies between New South Wales and then the colonial government sent her back to England in 1816. On her way she stopped at the Cape Colony where she was wrecked in 1817.
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