01 February 2012

Just like a feather bed



During our time in Knysna we visited the Featherbed Nature Reserve on the headlands across the Knysna Lagoon.  We went by boat; it was nearly a full day outing that included a hike with a genrous buffet as reward.     I was a wonderful opportunity to see more species from the Cape plant kingdom which I dutifully photographed for future research. 

We were delighted to see milkwood trees that were between 400 and 1000 years old (see below). They were growing when the Portuguese were exploring the coastline of South Africa and the Dutch East India Company was controlling things in this part of the world from Amsterdam. Milk wood grows with this curved habit and is very hard wood. It was often used for the bow by early shipbuilders.

Our hike took us to the edge of the headlands where the photo opps were amazing.

"And why is it called Featherbed?" I asked our guide.  Apparently, after weeks at sea, the sailing ships would brave the treacherous gap in the headland and put into a small bay the lagoon.  After weeks in rough seas, the sailors would say their nights in these calm waters was like sleeping in a featherbed.  The name stuck and transferred to the nature reserve as well.  Beautiful, especially these caves which were worth the decent and hot return climb.  Remember there was a buffet at the end!



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