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Choo-Tjoe options investigated

Knysna mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies has been mandated by Council to investigate all possible options with regards to the return of the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe to the George/Knysna Heritage Line.

Bouw-Spies said that they met with W-Cape MEC of Tourism and Finance, Minister Lynne Brown last month. "We discussed the various options available, as well as the requirements that must be met by various stakeholders. A proposal was also presented to the MEC, outlining an option to run the Choo-Tjoe between Wilderness and Knysna."
She said that Brown undertook to appoint an independent project manager to assess all sustainable business proposals that could re-instate the famous little steam train on the original line. "Once she has made the appointment, the task team will start immediately with our own public participation process to get feedback and ideas from our community. Minister Brown indicated that she will act as the facilitator and liaise with Transnet on an ongoing basis.

"We are working towards finding a solution and a follow-up meeting is scheduled to assess the progress to date," said Bouw-Spies.

Taken From


Knysna delivers two national Top Ten restaurants

Two restaurants in Knysna have been adjudged to be amongst the top ten in the country. Ile de Pain of Thesen Harbour Town has been named as one of the top ten restaurants in the ‘Everyday’ category of the Diners Club International Dine Awards, and Zachary’s of Pezula Resort Hotel has been listed in the top ten of the ‘De luxe’ category of the same competition.

In the photo Liezie Mulder and Markus Farbinger of Ile de Pain smile broadly on receiving this well-deserved news. The awards were made at a function held in Cape Town on October 15.

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Knysna Tourism‘s new office looks forward to 2010

On 29/11/2007 KNYSNA Tourism opened its bigger and better information office in the centre of town after it was closed for renovations earlier this year.

Mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies, who cut the ribbon, joined 85 guests at a midday function to celebrate the opening.

Knysna Tourism CEO Craig Nancarrow said the renovations signified a trend-setting move towards providing the most comprehensive service in the region leading up to the Fifa World Cup in 2010.

“The centre is now of international standard and features an additional display area, an upgraded reservations section and internet facilities for visitors, as well as a 24-hour light box display for after-hours information,” he said.

He said the new office would distribute tourist information for local service providers and onward national destinations. “Our staff will be able to assist with travel, accommodation, activities and other information in a professional manner and within an accredited tourism office environment.”

He said all the staff had completed the internationally recognised South Africa Host Customer Service Training course.

The upgrade cost R900 000, including restoration of the building‘s original façade.

Bouw-Spies said: “I am confident that our preparations for 2010 are well in hand. This upgraded office is certainly part of our vision to create a dynamic and welcoming town that is prepared for the future.”

Taken From The Herald


2007 Rugby World Cup


Knysna Oyster Festival nets more than R1m for charities

THE Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, which raised a record amount of more than R1-million for charities, announced yesterday that 39 worthy causes would benefit from the money.

Knysna Tourism head Craig Nancarrow said more than R1-million had been raised and thanked the community, sponsors Pick ‘n Pay and the festival‘s event managers. The 39 charities and worthy causes will receive amounts from R1 500 to R43 000.

Pick ‘n Pay marketing director Jonathan Ackerman said he was delighted by the amount raised.

“Our philosophy is ‘doing good is good business‘, and we are proud to be involved with the Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, just one more way we are able to play a meaningful role in the local community,” he said.

The Pick ‘n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour brought in R450 000 this year. The money will be divided among various charities and used for tertiary education bursaries.

The Pick ‘n Pay Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon raised R247 000, to be donated to the Red Cross, Epilepsy South Africa, the Lions Club, the SWD Sports Development Fund, Youth for Christ and local taxi associations. Nancarrow said smaller events had also contributed.

The Knysna Pigeon Racing Competition garnered R750, while the Oyster and Wine Mardi Gras collected R77 780 for Knysna Child Welfare and the Bill Gallagher Bursary Fund. The Wade Bales Wine Festival and Zest Whisky and Jazz Festival raised R5 000 and R3 000 respectively, with the Pezula Gala Dinner contributing R5 200 and the Oyster Festival Bridge Tournament R3 000 to local charities.

A new addition this year, Pick ‘n Pay‘s Race4Change programme, contributed more than R20 000 to various charities.

“The Oyster Festival is part of Knysna now and next year we look forward to celebrating our 25th festival. That represents a milestone of hard work and achievement,” Knysna mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies said.

Festival co-ordinator Nicci Rousseau said the festival‘s main beneficiary was the town.

It had addressed seasonality, the original goal, and contributed to uplifting the whole community as an added spin-off.

Next year the festival is taking place from July 4 to 13 and Rousseau said they were already working on making it the best Oyster Festival ever.

Story Courtesy of The Herald / TIMOTHY TWIDLE Garden Route Correspondent


Bridging an African digital divide

Many of us take the internet for granted, but what about locations that are too remote or economically impoverished to enjoy the hi-tech benefits of the developed world?

Using wi-fi in Knysna
Knysna is South Africa's first fully enabled wi-fi town

The coastal town of Knysna in South Africa was one such place. But now it is the largest wi-fi enabled area on the African continent.

Working in conjunction with the town's local authorities, internet provider UniNet has set up a system of base stations which spread wi-fi around the town.

"UniNet was founded on some principles which we derived from the South African government's green paper on telecommunications," said the company's David Jarvis.

"Our goal is largely to see our technologies and our services bridging the divide between rural and urban areas."

Community access

Computers with wi-fi connections can be expensive, and not everybody in the poorer areas of Knysna can afford a wireless enabled device. So the municipal authorities installed computers in places the whole community has access to.

"Masifunde library is one of many libraries in the area. The municipality took the initiative to populate these libraries with computers," Mr Jarvis said.

"The computers were meant to provide internet access, but unfortunately the cost limitations meant that many of them didn't.

"As part of our project we connected them with the internet. This has allowed the community to come in and, for 45 minutes, be able to use the terminals for free."

Xola Frans, library manager said: "It has actually opened doors to information, because we live in this global village in a sense.

"Knysna's become a global village because it doesn't matter where you live, you can actually have access to information. Whether you come from the rich or you come from the poor community, the facilities are the same."

Most of the town's schools have also signed up to the wi-fi initiative, including Smutsville Primary school.

"For my school, especially with the assignments which our kids are getting, it's really a stimulating source," said school principal Stephanus Dogh.

"They don't need to walk 1.5 km to the town in order to go on and do research work.

"It's really an asset for each and every kid to make contact with this type of technology. Wherever you go, the quest is you must be computer literate. The smaller they start the better for them."

UniNet's David Jarvis added: "It is an example of a school that has just been deployed in an under-serviced area that desperately needed connectivity. It's in a poor community and it's exciting to see the way it has been embraced by the community in that area."

A new approach

Wi-fi enabling a town like Knysna was not as simple as applying the same techniques and equipment that are used in big cities.

"The technology deployed is very different to technology that is deployed in developed world countries," Mr Jarvis said.

"We developed a system which is largely a cellular system, where you have repeaters, a bit like cell-phone masts, and you have customers who connect via fixed terminals, not wi-fi devices inside your laptop, and they get the service down a network cable. It's actually like a cable service which happens to work over wireless."

The company starts off with a repeater on a mountain which gives it coverage of an area with a 16km radius that has a few wi-fi access points.

The numbers of access points grow along with the customers, with enough customers the whole area will be covered.

Said Mr Jarvis: "It's a very different paradigm from a traditional, mesh network model that the developed world has developed."

A municipal wi-fi solution to internet connectivity could prove useful in the future.

Potential users might not own a computer but there are other devices which can take advantage of this town's wi-fi hot spots.

"I think initiatives like the libraries are very important in allowing access in areas where devices don't exist," said Mr Jarvis.

"Forty percent of the community in Knysna have cell-phone devices and use them for voice.

"If they have a device which can be used for voice and for free internet services then it will be a start of a real explosion in breaking down the barriers of the digital divide."

Copyright BBC 2007


Knysna Film Fedtival

The festival kicks off on opening night with the critically acclaimed The Real Dirt on Farmer John, an inspiring and moving story about the eccentric Mid-western farmer, John Peterson, and his plight to save his family farm – which has become one of the largest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms in America today.

The film will be screened with Johnny Apples –The Last Strandloper , a charming story about the delightful character, Johnny Appels who still makes his living off the sea in Arniston, using the age-old methods handed down from his ancestors, the Khoisan. The film forms part of the SABC’s 2005 Healing by Nature series.

Other films include Francois Verster’s Emmy Award winning A Lion’s Trail about the controversial history behind the world famous song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. Despite being one of the most widely recorded songs in history, the original composer, Zulu herdsman, Solomon Linda, never earned a cent in royalties and died in poverty. The film traces the music back to its original source, telling the story of how the Zulu song "Mbube" was transcribed by American folk singer Pete Seeger into “Wimoweh”, finally gaining international recognition as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” It's a gripping investigation into the shady world of copyright piracy and a rousing celebration of the power of song to inspire and unite across continents and generations.

Beethoven’s Hair, based on Russel Martin’s best-selling book is a remarkable film that traces the unlikely journey of a lock of hair cut from Beethoven's corpse and unravels the mystery of his tortured life and death. The film begins in modern times, when two Beethoven enthusiasts purchase the hair at a Sotheby's auction. The story then looks at the lock's previous owners and culminates in the science that reveals Beethoven's “medical secret”. Set to a lush score of some of Beethoven's most glorious music, the film explores the world of forensic testing in sharp relief against the romance of 19th-century Vienna and the horrors of 20th-century Nazi Germany.

The Shutka Book of Records is an extraordinary documentary about the idiosyncratic characters that make up a small town in Macedonia called Shutka - home to the largest gypsy community in the Balkans. In Shutka everyone claims to be a champion of something - the biggest cassette collection, the most suits, the strongest gander, the fastest dove and the sweetest canary. The film’s narrator and guide Doctor Koljo (Severdzan Bajram), a character from Emir Kusturica's film Black Cat, White Cat introduces the viewer to this unusual array of characters in Shutka, which include amongst others, the tattooed Uncle Muzo who compiles the first Roma dictionary and composes love songs, Cousin Jasha and Didara (The Terminator), who both specialise in exorcising evil genies, and Uncle Suljo, the satellite dish selling vampire hunter.

Another Encounters festival favourite, Dreaming by Numbers, is Anna Buchetti’s captivating film about the Napolitean’s obsession with the Lottery where the superstitions and beliefs that abound around playing the numbers are an integral part of daily life. This warm and captivating black and white film focuses its attention on one lotto shop that has been open over 100 years, and a transvestite bingo organiser. Punters come in every day to relate their dreams and consult the gentle women behind the counter and the ancient almanac that lists every ‘item’ in numerical form. Commonplace items include a father – 81, a foot is 53, but the list is fantastic, accommodating the weirdest of dreams... This widely believed number theory interprets the past, explains dreams, predicts the future and ultimately might win that person a small fortune.

Sisters in Law is acclaimed British filmmaker Kim Longinetto’s shocking and often hilarious film that captures the daily work of two extraordinary female judges in a small courthouse in the town of Kumba in Cameroon. Fighting to eradicate corruption from their country's patriarchal legal system, the film follows the women endeavoring to make an impact in the courtroom. With the number of reported cases of assault, domestic violence and statutory rape on the rise, this film explores the changing role of women in Cameroon's legal system.

The Oscar nominated documentary Capturing the Friedmans, is a fascinating, intimate and controversial film that objectively questions the notion of social justice through the story of Arnold, Elaine and their three boys, growing up in upper-middle class suburbia. By all accounts, they have it all; until a paedophile magazine is tracked to the Friedman house. Arnold”s daily contact with children energises a massive, quick-strike investigation. When children, under the guidance of the police, reveal outlandish stories of secretive communal abuse and naked leap-frog, the quiet community becomes hysterical, and the family falls apart.

The Corporation is an important film that explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time –the corporation, and is an investigation into the profound global political, commercial and psychological influence it has in our lives. Taking its status as a legal “person” to the logical conclusion, the film puts the corporation on the psychiatrist’s couch to ask “What kind of person is it?” With penetrating precision, the directors of this thought-provoking documentary come up with irrefutable evidence that these “Persons” are, in fact, psychopaths. Part film and part movement, The Corporation is transforming audiences and dazzling critics with its insightful and compelling analysis. The film includes interviews with 40 corporate insiders and critics - including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Milton Friedman, Howard Zinn, Vandana Shiva and Michael Moore - plus true confessions, case studies and strategies for change.

The screening schedule is available at the cinema. For more info, enquiries sand feedback contact The Knysna Movie House, 50 Main Street, Pledge Square, Knysna, Tel 044 382 7813 or Nicole Schafer:

Its Gastronomica Time
23 Sept -1 Oct 2007 A celebration of good food as the
essence of life. Learn and enjoy the culinary expertise of
Knysna's finest chefs in an integration of enjoyment, food,
theatre, music, art and fashion.

Come and explore life changing food truths ..... cutting edge food preparation ..... processing and presentation. Open yourself to new horizons through the energy of local and foreign artisans who share the skills of their craft. Indulge in the knowledge that you are part of a communal search for excellence through simple pleasures. Gastronomica offers something for everyone; the general public to enjoy all about fish and fishing, a fun Heritage Day with kudu hamburgers, curried fish and SA music, professional hands-on workshops and discussions, and culinary comedy with Western Cape celebrity chef, Lochner de Kok, and a Chefs Gala Dinner where well known Coenie de Villiers will entertain. Sharing his talent at the festival will be Reuben Riffel, celebrity chef from Reuben’s restaurant in Cape Town


Orca's Spotted At Plett Bay
Orca, also known as a killer whale   WELCOME BACK! Old orca friends grace the Bay once more. This orca, also known as a killer whale, visited Plett three years ago and was spotted returning with two others recently.

Old orca friends grace the Bay once more

WELCOME BACK: This orca, also known as a killer whale, visited Plett three years ago

It seems bottlenose and humpback dolphins, and Cape fur seals are rife in the waters of the beautiful bay of Plett of late. Heidi from local marine watchers, The Explorer, reported as follows:

“On April 22, we received a call at from Mike Polson, who reported that dolphins were playing in the wake of his jet bike in the river mouth. He also saw, just behind the dolphins, a killer whale. We decided to take a chance and investigate - and found them just off Keurbooms!

“There were three orcas and it was wonderful to see them back after three years of no official sightings in our bay. The little ones have grown and the big male was seen only from a distance, but it was confirmed to be the same group seen here three years ago.
“There were exciting moments when two of the orcas chased some dolphins, but no real attacks took place. Amongst them were also two Bryde's whales, and seals - a sure indication that we’d missed a feeding frenzy, as the orcas took no notice of any of the seals or other marine mammals.

“For two hours we observed them, and they were very relaxed with our presence. When we decided to leave, one of the males swam around the boat, went onto his side and moved his side fin out of the water, as if to wave us a farewell. None of us could wipe the great grins off our faces for days!”

New Knysna elephant found

A rare Knysna elephant was photographed in the Gouna Forest near the southern Cape town by two officials of the Water Affairs and Forestry Department last month, the department said on Tuesday.

The discovery is viewed as extremely important as it is believed the only remaining Knysna elephant was an old cow, about 54 years old, with a single right tusk.

The female elephant was photographed six years ago during a survey of the forest spanning almost 50 000 hectares, while the new photographs shows an elephant with a left tusk.

The Kruger National Park's scientific services section for large herbivores confirmed the elephant in the latest photographs was not the elephant spotted in 1994.

Kruger Park scientist Ian Whyte said studies on tusk growth ruled out the possibility that the cow could have re-grown a left tusk.

Whyte said the head and body shapes of the recently photographed elephant were "somewhat characteristic of a young bull".

Area forest manager Michael Peter said routine monitoring of the elephants would continue to assess the condition of the known elephants and to establish whether there were more elephants.

Peter said the ecological implications on the forests were minimal, as the low number of elephants had a limited effect on the foreign and fynbos ecosystems.

The Knysna elephants are the last of the most southern elephants on the African continent. They represent a remnant of large populations which occupied the Cape in the 17th century.

In 1876 it was estimated that 400 giants roamed the forests of Knysna but in 1983 only four were recorded and in 1994 just one.

This led to the introduction of young elephants from the Kruger National Park to the Knysna forests. The attempt was unsuccessful because the elephants found the surrounding farms more habitable than the forest, causing extensive damage.

They were removed to a nearby game reserve. - Sapa

London Cabs In Knysna
SA Cabs London Black CabThe familiar sight of the iconic black London taxi can now be seen in Knysna.

SA Cabs is currently operating 3 of these in the Knysna area.

This is good news for the revellers who will no longer need to rely on organising designated drivers, temperance or risking the dreaded breathaliser test!

SA Cabs: Tel. 086 117 2222

Well Done To The South Africa Polo Team

Photo: Shane Doyle

Our national team beat England at this year’s Kurland International polo test, postponed to December 30th after rain on the previous day. Brimming with national celebs and local luminaries, the events surrounding the match were a paparazzo’s dream. At left, SA polo team members Selby Williamson, Buster MacKenzie (Captain), Ignatius du Plessis (Most Valuable Player of the Match) and Gareth Evans hoist the winning cup at Kurland Polo.





Baby Shungu entered the world at 5am on January 1.
‘Shungu’, the Shona word for patience, was the name suggested by Stenford Motau - trainer and handler of Shungu's mother, Thembile, during her final months of pregnancy.

Why not visit the new arrival when next on vacation and try the recently introduced Elephant back riding at the park?




Outeniqua Choo Tjoe Open Again

THE Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe is rolling again – this time between Mossel Bay and George.

The fate of the Knysna - George route is still being considered.

The new route, announced late February, will link two of the largest museums in the region and give tourists an opportunity to take an abbreviated trip on the famous tourist attraction ...



Hummer SA starts rolling

Move over, Arnold Schwarzenegger! General Motors' new H3 will be smaller, lighter, but still Hummer. It will also - unless you're buying it in the US - be made in South Africa (Photo: Hummer)
General Motors began the first production outside the United States of the Hummer H3 sports utility vehicle at a plant in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

GM said it expected eventually to produce more than 10 000 units of the H3, the newest and smallest model in the Hummer range, for export to Europe, the Middle East and Asia under a US$3-billion contract awarded to its South African subsidiary in April 2005.

Production of a right-hand drive version, for export into right-hand markets in Europe and Asia as well as for local sale, will begin at GMSA's Struandale, Port Elizabeth plant in the second quarter of 2007.

"The GM team in South Africa has demonstrated to the world that they have the people, the leadership, the technology and the skills to execute the type of automobile engineering and assembly that is required in the new global economy," Maureen Kempston Darkes, president of GM Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, said in a statement on Tuesday.



Vote of confidence
GM South Africa MD Robert Socia described the project as "one of the most important milestones in the history of GM in South Africa," adding: "It's significant that GM chose to place the H3 contract with South Africa, as it says a lot about the confidence GM has in our ability to deliver."

The Hummer H1 and H2 models - adapted from the Humvee vehicle developed for military uses - have been sold primarily in the US and Canada, although GM began exporting the H2 to countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East in 2004.



Knysna On Sale

1 May - 30 Jun 2007 If Harrods, the world
famous London department store, has an annual sale, why can't we do the same?

Knysna and its surrounding areas collectively offer tourists the bargain of the year. You'll get the same excellent holiday environment and world class service that you love in summer, only with extra value for money.

Accommodation, business establishments, restaurants and tourist activities will be discounted to help make your visit less expensive - yet with just as much entertainment and fun as you've always experienced in Knysna. At that time of year, near-perfect weather conditions prevail in the Garden Route. Which makes Knysna an ideal year-round destination. Now nature's play-ground with its myriad of tourist attractions has
become more affordable than ever.


Mitchells GoldKnysna's own Mitchell's Brewery has released a new light pilsner Mitchell's Gold.

With a 3.6% alcohol volume you can now enjoy a few more while enjoying the summer weather.



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