While everyone else was hanging out on the beach for the first day of January 2016 our family went to visit the Forest Legends Museum on the gravel road as you traverse the Prince Alfred Pass from Knysna to Uniondale.
What a pleasure to drive through the damp forest and then unexpectedly arrive on top of the hill at the coffee shop. It was a lot busier than we expected. Families with grannies and young children were having something to bite in the shade of a tree, others were taking hikes and on the decks families camped out and were just relaxing and enjoying nature. This is far from the maddening crowds and cell phone towers.
First we ordered something to eat from the coffee shop – a vetkoek stuffed with curried mince, a home made hamburger and toasted bacon and egg sandwich washed down with delicious home made gemmerbier. No fancy gourmet stuff here. Plain and simple all made by the friendly staff.
While waiting for our food to arrive I read the intriguing story portrayed by Jeanie Phillips about Mrs Perks, the forest fairy, weighing in at 300 lbs who could only move from the house to her enormous rocking chair on the veranda from where she dispensed medicine to the sick.
Another interesting story is that of the “Keeper of the Knysna Elephants” who became Dean at the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Ghana from 1951 -1960.
Off to the office to pick up some brochures. There by chance we met Karel, who for 20 years tracked and looked after the elephants, and knows the forest like the back of his hand. He will enthusiastically tell you how the naughty Kruger Park elephants escaped from the damp forest and caused havoc on nearby farms, but how good the Knysna elephants behaved by debarking the black wood and invasive wattle trees thus controlling its growth in the forest. On the other hand kershout was favoured by the Kruger elephants. In their own special way the elephants are the keepers of the indigenous forests of Knysna! The same Karel of the office is the forest’s own celebrity as he was featured doing what he loves – tracking the elephants – together with the famous researcher Gareth Patterson in an Animal Planet programme.
This is just some of the stories eagerly shared by Karel. He is such a barrel of information eagerly waiting to share it with visitors, but will never reveal the whereabouts of the remaining elusive Knysna elephants.
And when you return from the Elephant Walk, and hopefully spotted a Knysna Loerie displaying its red feathers, you can visit the little museum where you will find Old Suzi who faithfully rendered her services to the woodcutters of Knysna until 1930.
After inspecting the camping decks (some with a pitched safari tent or you can pitch your own tent) we decided that deck 3 and 4 will be our choice if we come to pitch our tent here. If you have small children this is definitely a no-no as some of the decks are quite high. The upside is if you dislike camping there is a self catering unit available just behind the coffee shop.
Diep Walle camping decks will see us in 2016!
*** For an interesting read visit this link***