The Phantom Forest Eco Reserve, Knysna, Garden Route, South Africa
A Brief History of Knysna
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The Featherbed Nature Reserve on the Knysna Lagoon
The town "Knysna", a Khoi San word for "place of wood", rests on the north side of the Lagoon, the tidal estuary of the Knysna Rive and has a most interesting history.
First used by pirates preying on trading vessels, this jewel is well-disguised from the seaward aspect. Sailing through the "Heads", a treacherous, narrow passage guarded by high rolling cliffs, these plunderers of the high seas discovered the perfect safe harbour - with indigenous forests full of hard wood to repair and careen their ships, fresh water and plentiful wild game, they found santuary at Featherbed Bay.
George Rex (alledgedly a bastard son of George III of England and a Quaker named Sarah Lightfoot) colonised this paradise after being banished from England in 1797. His grave in "Old Place" is a National Monument.
Landward access to Knysna in those far off days, when time was unimportant, was extremely hazardous and arduous. Travelling by ox wagon or horses, the visitor negotiated his way through dense Afro-Montane forests and deep ravines. Crossing swollen rivers with the added danger of large herds of elephant and buffalo to reach this Eden.
These passes may still be driven and explored today. Woodworking crafts are still practiced using the famous Knysna Yellowwood and Stinkwood which can be seen in all the beautiful colonial buildings of the Cape.
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World Travel Awards ~ Winner ~ 2012 Africa's Leading Green Hotel
Phantom Forest Eco Reserve