Who would ever have imagined that such massive damage would result from fires raging in and around Knysna? For many, a dream holiday destination, or place to retire to, as many have, and have lost everything. Our hearts bleed for the greater Knysna community, and all those affected by the fires. After the wonderful Midlands tour last week, news of Knysna ablaze was a dreadful shock. We had spent such happy times there, only 3 months ago for the Literary Festival.
Over the weekend, I showed a large group of American guests over the battlefields in very windy conditions. Wind remains very challenging when trying to speak out of doors, and there is very little protection at Isandlwana.
We can hardly wait to see our grandchildren twins in Johannesburg this week, and I am going on tour with Robin Binckes – Spear of the Nation, whose reputation precedes him. Lunch will be enjoyed at Die Ou Pastorie in Scheerpoort, Magaliesburg, where Boer commandos stopped to shave en route to meet with Kruger in Pretoria during the Boer War. Such natural horsemen – at Surrender Hill near Clarens in July 1900, many stated clearly that they would be horrified to walk across this country as the British soldiers did!
For some time now a road trip was planned via Christiana to speak on Anthorn Farm, then on to see the Wenham’s near Middelburg in the Karoo. Initially the plan was to go straight on to Cape Town to speak at The One&Only Hotel on Thursday, 22nd June. We have decided to divert via Knysna to drop off a few basic goods, especially for babies, and offer friends who have lost their homes some moral support. A couple on tour with me over the weekend had their garden destroyed, and all their gutters melted by fire, but their gardener was remarkably able to save their home. Such stories abound. Knysna fires provide massive cause for introspection, and for me, there is nothing quite like a road trip to reconnect with the land of my birth, and a place I love dearly.
Upon our return, I shall be back on the battlefields with a group of 90 guests who are “glamping” (glamorous camping) in the area, and walking the Fugitives’ Trail from Isandlwana to the Buffalo River. Let’s hope the winter nights are kind to them…
Thanda Private Game Reserve have kindly invited me to share some stories with their guests and rangers, along with trying to inspire their rangers regarding storytelling and interacting with guests. What a delight to be able to combine my love of people with my love for the bush amongst the Fever Trees of Zululand.