The Knysna forests 9 km Circles in the Forest is a cool walk featuring a crystal clear waterfall. A group of journalists recently admired the old Yellowwood giants along the way.
GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - The Turbine Hotel on Thesen's Island has never failed to fascinate me.This former power station dating back to the 1920's, has been transformed into luxurious five-star boutique hotel with magnificent amenities and views over the Knysna estuary.
The excellent location on the Knysna estuary and in the heart of Knysna's attractions, has earned it rave reviews from Trip Advisor clients.
Over the years, whenever I happened to have a moment, I would happily wander into The Turbine Hotel to admire the power station machinery which forms an interesting décor feature, skilfully combined with soft furnishings and inviting pool, conference rooms, restaurants and a cosy pub serving tapas.
The welcoming atmosphere allows for browsing around in this unique heritage building which overlooks the Knysna Estuary and The Heads. The hoteliers Geoff Engel and Dandre Lerm-Engel bought the building in 2007 and this visionary pair spent three years fulfilling their dream to restore the original equipment and buildings.
The panoramic views and excellent art on the walls make for a pleasant backdrop for enjoying lunch or coffee and cake in the hotel's Island Café.
The Turbine Hotel is highly rated for its excellent amenities and when I was invited along with a group of journalists to stay for a weekend I jumped at the opportunity. We were taken on "The Knysna Experience" which is a package of the hotel's Water Club, which amongst others includes cycling from Thesen’s Island to The Heads; enjoying sparkling wine and lovely snacks on a sundown cruise and kayaking through the man-made canals of the Thesens Island estate.
Thesen's Isle is steeped in history. In 1904 the Norwegian Charles Wilhelm Thesen (son of Arndt Thesen one of the founding fathers of Knysna) bought Paarden Island and in 1922 he established a timber processing plant on the island, which soon became known as Thesen Island.
The planks manufactured at the sawmill were loaded onto ships anchored at the wharf. The wharf still exists (near SANParks offices on Thesens). When the railways was built the they replaced the ships in bringing the wood to Cape Town.
It was the developers Chris Mulder Associates Incorporate Architects (CMAI) who bought Thesens Island transforming it from a disused industrial site into an American-style residential marina with shops, restaurants, and 596 houses and apartments. And it is on this transformed peninsula that The Turbine Hotel is situated.
Massage at the Amani Spas
The group of journalists started the weekend on a Friday on a luxurious note with a Traveller's-massage which is one that I can recommend as it is conducive to putting you in a holiday mood.
Any of these wonderful leisure activities are right on our doorstep and beckon to be indulged in. You may want to try out the Gastro Pub at the Turbine which is cosy and serves colourful cocktails, while the Col'Cacchio Pizzerias situated near the Turbine serves wafer-thin pizzas with a choice of delicious toppings.
The canoe trip affords a leisurely way to see the marina homes up close and enjoy a cool dip in the estuary. Dinner was a divine candlelight affair with a seafood lovers dream in which to savour smoked salmon and prawn dishes.
On Sunday we did a 9 km circular Circles in the Forest walk in the Knysna forests Bibby's Hoek / Millwood area and paused at the pristine waterfall, where we sat in silent contemplation and it turned out to be one of the weekend's highlights. Tour guide Schalk Hildebrand took us to Totties Home Kitchen in Reenendal for lunch which was a fitting way for me to take my leave of my new friends.
A sunset cruise on the Knysna estuary comes complete with sparkling wine, from left: Julie Graham of TCB Media, Bianca Spinner of Hello Joburg Magazine, Pauline Lourens - George Herald, Mantombi Makhubelle - Independent Media, Ruth Cooper of Biz Community and Theresa Gibbon PR enjoy the famous views on The Heads.
ARTICLE: PAULINE LOURENS, GEORGE HERALD JOURNALIST