phone bucket list mb

As it Happens: The Knysna Fires

by Lara Behrens
9th June 2017  
  • twitter icon
  • google plus
sep gray

26th June Update
26th June Update

29 establishments were affected by the fire. Knysna Tourism has recorded the loss of 358 accommodation units/rooms.

The establishments that were affected and remain closed are:

Knysna Hollow
Phantom Forest Lodge
Admiral View self-catering
Guadeloupe self-catering
The Big Tree House Lodge
Idle Monkey
Tonquani Lodge
Greenfire Lodge
Blackwaters Rivers Lodge
Blue Sky Backpackers
Brenton On Sea Cottages
Bridgewater B&B
Dolphins Hill
Haus Knysna
Knysna Chalets
Knysna Terrace
Narnia Farm Guest House
Zauberberg
191 Nirvana
Brenton View
Badgers Lodge
Kanonkop House (which only experienced minor damages)
Bradach Manor
Four on Faure
Little Mazot
Knysna Riverside Lodge
Die Gieter

Tourism Update released the following information: 

A representative from Kanonkop House said the property was likely to reopen this year. It was closed for renovations when the fire occurred and the reopening has been pushed out.

Knysna Hollow suffered massive devastation, with the main building burned completely to the ground. Liesel Battel from Knysna Hollow said the plan was to rebuild and that the entire project should take an estimated 15 months.

Greenfire Lodge was completely destroyed. Marketing Manager, Christiaan Steyn, said that, for now, the lodge was closed indefinitely and pending further discussion between the four directors of Greenfire.

Luxury rooms were damaged by the fire at Blackwaters Rivers Lodge, however the standard rooms are still standing. The lodge, restaurant, spa and golf course are closed until December 1.

Brenton On Sea Cottages will be closed until August 15, as the property suffered an estimated 75% of damage. Plans to rebuild are on the cards.

Knysna Chalets is currently closed, as the reception area, swimming pool area, restaurant, library and playroom all suffered extensive damage.

SANParks Communications Manager, Nandi Mgwadlamba, said initial findings after the devastating fires indicated that the Knysna Forest was not affected, however the fynbos areas in the Park (Harkerville) were. “The Kranshoek Viewpoint and picnic areas were gutted by the recent inferno. The team in Harkerville is assessing the damage to see if that area will be ready for the town’s biggest festival in July,” said Mgwadlamba.

Mgwadlamba said the response to call for volunteers for GIS mapping of lost infrastructure had been overwhelming. The team is busy finalising findings and will hand over maps to the Joint Organising Committee as well as an official report. This exercise will provide relevant information pertaining to the loss of infrastructure as a result of the fires.

19th June Update
19th June Update

Knysna Tourism has launched their #KnysnaRises logo which shows the Knysna loerie/ turaco rising like a phoenix from the “flames” and was inspired by the message that Knysna is rising, it is not destroyed, as many people believe, but is open for business and welcoming visitors.

Dominic Morel of 2Heads Advertising says the inspiration for the logo was all around him. "To see a town pull together like this is amazing, so sitting down to design it was a pleasure. The obvious choice was the traditional 'Phoenix-Rising-From-The-Ashes', but the design had to have a local twist (the Loerie) and fit with Knysna Tourism's CI (corporate identity)".

Morel says that the work on the #KnysnaRises campaign creative was also done free of charge: "Tourism, like so many thousands of individuals, was an incidental victim of the fire. We have all volunteered to help during, and after the disaster, and assisting Knysna to get this message out is no different. I love this town... it's that simple.”

"I'm blown away by the positive feedback on social media... people 'get it', and I feel honoured to be a part of it," adds Morel.

Visit Knysna
Visit Knysna

16th June Update
16th June Update

It’s business as usual in Knysna. That’s the message from Elmay Bouwer, chairperson of the Knysna Tourism board, who today confirmed that despite the extensive fires experienced in the Garden Route town this week, Knysna has resumed normal business activities and is welcoming visitors.

“We would like tourists to know that it is safe to visit Knysna, and that almost all tourist activities are fully operational,” said Bouwer.

Bouwer said that one of Knysna’s biggest tourist attractions, Featherbed Nature Reserve suffered severe damage, however the company’s three restaurants are still fully operational as are the boat cruises on the John Benn, Paddle Cruiser and Heads Explorer Catamaran.

The iconic Knysna Waterfront with all its restaurants and shops had not been affected in any way.

The popular animal sanctuaries between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay including Knysna Elephant Park, Birds of Eden, Monkeyland and Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre are all operating as usual. In addition, SANParks’ picnic areas at Jubilee Creek and Diepwalle and the camping sites in Diepwalle are open and unaffected by the fires.

Simola, Pezula and Knysna Golf Courses are also open.

The town of Sedgefield is also welcoming visitors and has not lost any accommodation establishments. All tourist activities in the area are fully operational including the popular Scarab and Wild Oats Famer’s Markets.

“Knysna is recovering from the devastation of the fires but for local businesses to survive, tourism must play a vital part,” says Bouwer. “We need to get the message out there that we are open for businesss and the Knysna visitor experience will be as good as ever.”

14th June Update
14th June Update

The news keeps trickling in, and we have now received updates of additional lodges that very sadly have burnt down, or been affected by the Knysna fires. Based on the information that we have received, here is a list of the lodges that have been affected by the Knysna fires.

The below list are the properties that have burnt down:

The Big Tree House Lodge
Bridgewater Manor
Four on Faure
Coral Tree CottagesBradach Manor
Knysna Hollows
Villa Castollini
Phantom View Lodge
Redbourne Country Lodge
The Idle Monkey
Phantom Forest

The below list are the properties that have been affected by the fire:

Falcons View Manor-Fire Damage
Kanonkop Guest House-Fire Damage
Greenfire Knysna Lodge-Fire Damage
Brenton on Sea-Fire Damage
Sea Breeze-Fire Damage
Lagoon Lodge-Fire Damage
Cornerway House-Heavy Smoke
Lagoon Breeze-Heavy Smoke
Robberberg Beach Lodge-Heavy Smoke
Featherbed Eco Tour Operations has sustained severe fire damage and as a result has halted all operations until further notice
Landlines to the Knysna Houseboats have been affected, however, all boats are safely in the harbour, and have not been damaged by the fire.

We will update you as and when we receive further information. Should you have any affected bookings, our consultants will be in touch you.

13th June Update
13th June Update

The Greater Knysna fires are currently contained, with majority of the firefighting resources concentrating on the Concordia area and the line toward Sedgefield, monitoring any possible flare-ups.

9th June Update
9th June Update

Emergency services continue to work around the clock to manage the break out of fires in the South African coastal town of Knysna that broke out following severe weather conditions in the Western Cape.

"I understand that is still too soon to determine the exact extent of the damage caused, but the impact on this idyllic coastal town and its residents has been significant. We would like to extend our sincere and heartfelt sympathy to those affected by the events of the last 3 days. Our thoughts are with you all." Martin Edwards, General Manager - Bench Africa.

We still have little or no communication with the properties affected by the fires at present, however contingency plans are being put in place to handle any changes or amendments that may be required for any of our future clients affected, or travelling to this region.

If you have a booking with us that will be affected by the recent events then we will personally contact you to discuss the options available to you. 

If you wish to speak to one of our consultants urgently then please feel free to contact us on 1300 AFRICA (237 422) and we will attempt to assist you in whatever way we can.

9th June Update
9th June Update

Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA) has set up an operations centre at Pelican Lodge through its partner, Safari and Tourism Insurance Brokers (SATIB). The emergency number for the centre is +27 1000 70230 for medical emergencies, reporting missing people, lost passports, repatriations requests and trauma counselling services

Our thoughts are with all the affected people at this time. The safety of all tourists is of paramount importance to us and we are working very closely with SATSA who have people on the ground in the affected areas assisting travelers. We thank the four Chairmen of JAMMS (Joint Association Members Meeting Sessions made up of Cape Town Tourism, SAACI, FEDHASA and SATSA) who have agreed to assist international tourists in need,” said Mr Sisa Ntshona, chief executive officer of South African Tourism.

8th June
8th June

Uncontainable fires started on Tuesday and thousands of people were evacuated from various Knysna suburbs as flames fanned by heavy winds caused massive destruction. By Thursday the greater Kynsna area was declared a disaster area.

  • Military equipment is being used to douse more than 25 fires in Knysna, fuelled by unusually strong winds.
  • It has been reported that up to 10,000 people, and 20 suburbs have now been evacuated from Knysna and surrounding areas.
  • At least 150 properties have been destroyed, according to the fire service.
  • Very sadly, 6 people are reported to have died in the fires.

People are also being evacuated in Plettenberg Bay as the blaze spread there as well. Evacuations began late Wednesday night and it has been confirmed that several homes, schools and guesthouses have burnt to the ground. Additional fire-fighters have been sent to the area as well as the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) troops with three helicopters to water bomb the area. They are currently being hindered by strong winds and thick smoke.

The below list are the properties that have burnt down:

Bradach Manor
Knysna Hollows
Villa Castollini
Phantom View Lodge
Redbourne Country Lodge
The Idle Monkey
Phantom Forest

The below list are the properties that have been affected by the fire:

Falcons View Manor-Fire Damage
Greenfire Knysna Lodge-Fire Damage
Brenton on Sea-Fire damage
Sea Breeze-Fire Damage
Lagoon Lodge-Fire Damage
Cornerway House-Heavy Smoke
Lagoon Breeze-Heavy Smoke
Robberberg Beach Lodge-Heavy Smoke
Featherbed Eco Tour Operations has sustained severe fire damage and as a result has halted all operations until further notice
Landlines to the Knysna Houseboats have been affected, however, all boats are safely in the harbour, and have not been damaged by the fire.

We will endeavour to update this information as and when we hear news from our contacts in South Africa. 

Back to bench press