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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Knysna- Featherbed Nature Reserve

South Africa seems to be a very diverse nation.  There are areas of very poor….

And after reading some more about South Africa, I understand why.  I was very young when apartheid (separateness) ended and Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years.  He was then elected the first Black President of South Africa in April 1994.  South Africa has grown by leaps and bounds, but there is still a huge divide between the rich and poor of this nation.  There are 11 national languages spoken in South Africa: English, Afrikaans (spoken by about 18 percent of the populations. It is a combination of Dutch, Malay, Indonesian and other languages spoken by different people who passed through the Cape such as sailors and traders) and 9 different Bantu languages (Xhosa, Ndelebe, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho,Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, and Zulu).  It seems to be a very diverse yet vibrant nation.  And for this reason of so much diversity, it has been called “The Rainbow Nation”.  The new South African flag has an ethnic design and many vibrant colors which symbolize the vibrancy of the people in South Africa.

Here is a bit about South Africa from the book Eyewitness travel: South Africa.

“ South Africa’s cultural mix has roots in a colonial past.  The original hunter-gatherers of the Cape were joined about 1000 years ago by the Bantu speakers of the north.  In the 17th century European settlers appeared- first the Dutch, then  the British and French-with their slaves from Indonesia, Madagascar, and India. Later followed the indentured labourers from India.  Settlers and slaves alike brought with them their culinary traditions, and if there is a national cuisine it is Cape Malay: mild lamb and fish curries sweetened with spiced fruit.”

While I was reading this book, I felt better reading that people who do come here also see a stark contrast between the wealthy and the very poor.  In Eyewitness travel: South Africa  it is described  as “two worlds within one country: a first and third.  Although 60 percent of South Africa’s electricity is generated in South Africa, more than half of the nation’s households still have to rely on paraffin, wood and gas for light , cooking and heating their homes.”

It would be easy for a country to get bogged down in what one has and what one doesn’t have, but in the words of Nelson Mandela, “It is not easy to remain bitter if one is busy with constructive things.”  And from what I have seen, South Africa is a beautiful country with so much to offer to the world.:)

And with that, we started our second day in Knysna at our hotel for breakfast..

And then we were off to Featherbed Nature reserve. A peninsula near Knysna.
 (Incidentally, Knysna is said to be named after George Rex who was probably an illegitimate son of King George III , although this was never really proved.  He was the most prominent landowner in this area at the time he died in 1839.   He had a ship named the Kynsna, where it is said that Kynsna got its name.)  Although there are other rumors as to how Kynsna  got its name….

Above are the two headlands or the “heads” as they are commonly referred to in Knysna.  This is where the mouth of the Kyyna Lagoon and the Indian Ocean meet.

I am going to let the pictures tell the rest of the story on our journey to Featherbed island….it was simply beautiful!!!

Then, we arrived at Featherbed.  Featherbed got its name from the sailors who landed here a long time ago.  They could not sleep well on their ship after two months of sailing and when they arrived, they said that this place was as comfortable as a feather bed.:)  A few pictures of our ride up to the top…

It was here at this place where the “walking fish” was rediscovered after being thought to have been extinct for millions of years.

And the view of Knysna and the mouth of the Knysna lagoon was spectacular!!!!!

Above is a spectacular view of the Knysna Lagoon and the Indian Ocean meeting

and the kids got to dip their toes in the Kynysna lagoon…

We ate an an awesome restaurant at the Featherbed reserve. The roof was made out of trees!!!

and then when we got back to Belvidere Manor…we were off to the pool…

The kids had a wonderful time today riding the boat, playing in the lagoon and swimming….but their favorite thing to do today by far was rolling down a grassy hill!!!
I think they just miss grass!:)

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