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ReportsFriday, 2 November 2001
Wilderness --> Knysna (SA) From (the) Wilderness I travelled to the next place along the Garden Route: South Africa's most favourite town Knysna. I stayed with the Van Niekerk family and worked up my reports most of the time. More of Knysna will be seen tomorrow.
Exclusive: the story off the camera that got wet...
I joined the German visitors in the breakfast room for fried eggs with tomato and bacon, before I bundled my bags together again and left the Mont Fleur Bed & Breakfast.
I thanked Paul and Sue Nicolas for their two-day long good-humoured accommodation and walked in the direction of the N2 national road that runs through Wilderness.
Hitchhiking wasn’t really a problem here, as I just put down my backpack and my thumb up or a lady pulled over. She picks up hitches often, they just have to look good and reliable to be taken with her. “And they can be interesting people too. Mostly they are foreigners hiking around,” said the lady who told me that she worked at the Hunters Country House in Plettenberg Bay.
When she dropped me off in Knysna, I told her that I would see her soon as I already knew at which places I was going to stay this week.
The name Knysna is a Khoi word but it's uncertain as to its exact meaning. It could mean place of wood, but its most probable meaning is straight down - an obvious reference to The Heads.
Knysna Heads must be the most striking geological features along the entire southern African coastline. They flank a deep but potentially treacherous channel through which the sea pours in to flood the wide and breathtakingly pretty lagoon at the mouth of the Knysna River.
I met up with Marilyn Van Niekerk as she works at the local Remax outlet on the main street of Knysna. She took me along to the residence of her and her husband Martin.
Martin imports “chemicals” (as he said it) and exports timber to the USA. When I met him at his home office, he was quite worried as he is waiting for cargo to come from the US, but because of new security rules it had all been delayed for a while.
Their home is situated on top of a hill and their garden overlooks the tide sensible lagoon and salt river around which Knysna is built. I could even see the town centre laid below.
No wonder their street name is called Paradise Drive...
When Marilyn picked me up, she had no knowledge of how she got hold of my project or me. But I later found out that my ex-host Wendy Nillsson in Brakkefontein had told a family member or friend of her to get me in touch with those lovely people in Knysna, who really should invite me. So, that’s how I landed in the good-hearted hands of the Van Niekerks.
After dinner, Martin offered me to take me around town and up getting a drink somewhere.
But I had to be honest with him: I really needed to spend some time on a computer to work on my logs. And now don’t tell me I shouldn’t, otherwise you won’t read anything here.
After the internot-days in Oudtshoorn and Wilderness, I really had to work up again.
To illustrate, you still deserve the story about what happened yesterday with my photo camera.
Eden Adventures had given me a complimentary canoe tour through the Nature Reserve of Wilderness. And that was a pleasure! Not only because of the paddling through the rich nature with the fascinating sounds of all the animals that hide here, but else because I finished a 7 kilometres hiking trail trough the Wilderness area and now gave my arms some necessary exercise.
At the point where I couldn’t paddle any further, the Greater Kingfish Trail started – an almost one hour walk on a narrow path along the creek ending at a deserved refreshing waterfall.
And because I was worn out after the 5-km canoe tour and the one-hour walk, I took off my clothes and went in the natural pool for a swim.
Back at the canoe, another hour walking later (so I was really exhausted by now) I stepped into the canoe with one leg inside and the other on land.
Conclusion: I was happy that nobody had witnessed this for a funniest home-videos TV-show, but of course I was the most stupid Dutchman on earth to fall in the water like that...
And with my digital camera swinging around my neck.
I went full-body down into the water. And so did the camera. Blup blup...
And you can realise how frightened I became at that moment. Even though the cam had been under water for less than a few seconds (reflex-thing, I guess), it scared the hell out of me!
And I couldn’t do anything either, I was literally in the middle of the Wilderness. So what I did was get in that canoe and paddle as fast as I could, back to the base station of Eden Adventures.
And I think I even broke a record there. It was almost 6pm when I got back and the Eden office was already deserted. I walked back to the Mont Fleur B&B where Paul was already heating the grill next to the swimming pool.
I told him the story and asked him for a hairdryer. I spent almost one hour being totally tranced, pointing the dryer in full heat on to my camera.
And when I turned the cam on again: everything was okay. The display still worked, the zoom was fine and even the disks had no harm at all. I am very thankful for this kind of luck!
So Martin and Marilyn van Niekerk let me work on my writing and I saw how the tide changed in the lagoon, the sun set in the west and later only saw the bright lights of the small town of Knysna. Lovely!
Good night Knysna!
Today in the media:
Alhamademurcia.net(Spanish): "Un estudiante recorre el mundo alojándose gratis gracias a Internet"
Featured as Website of the Week on Click2Houston:
"Worldwide Freeloader Wants To Stay At Your House" by Wayne Harrison.
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