Feature Writing Examples

The following articles were written for FindIt SA.

 

Jubilee Creek

On route to Jubilee Creek one can travel via Phantom Pass. The old pass clings to the edges of the lagoon and then climbs up and away.

It is a wonderful gravel road, fondly used by adventurous cyclists, or vehicles, whose passengers seek ‘the road less travelled’.

The pass eventually does end, and connects to a tar road that takes you along, past one of the original, marvellous old homesteads, ‘Portland Manor’, and on to Rheenendal.

Jubilee Creek lies in the depths of the Indigenous Forest.

It as a picnic spot of the most romantic kind, ringed round with green peacefulness. There are great smooth swathes of grass, that welcome a spread blanket laid down in a shady hollow.

The giant trees crowd around the edges, their great trunks thrusting up and supporting the leafy canopy above. At ground level the massive ferns cluster and cling to the tree bark, and a tangle of vines grows very close,  hinting at the mighty spread of forest beyond.

A wander into that deep shade is not to be undertaken lightly, as this is a forest that still hides elephant and leopard and a myriad of other exotic animal and bird life. If luck is on your side you may just glimpse a dazzling Loerie, but stillness and silence is necessary for a sighting of this shy bird.

A lazy river slides by this tranquil spot, deep enough in places for a refreshing swim. Summer sees a multitude of children splashing gleefully at play.

The forest shows its friendly face here, a place of fun and laughter. But don’t be fooled, deep mystery lies just beyond the tree line, still mostly unknown.

 

Forests

From a distance the world looks blue and green. Knysna looks like that close up.

The blue of sky, sea, river and lagoon. The green of the hills, dense foliage and forests.

Naturally, visitors seem more inclined to explore the blue world. The allure of azure sea and sail boat. The sleepy lagoon late in the day, with sundowner in hand and eyes turned to watch the sun set.

The green world is almost forgotten, a mere bowl of hill and dale to contain all that water.

And yet, when ventured into, that emerald world can be one of green peace and serenity, rarely found.

The ancient forests of Knysna hold many secrets close to their bearded tree trunk chests.

A world so dense and mysterious that creatures as large as elephants can hide completely and be rarely ever glimpsed. A world within which the illusive Loerie remains a rare and precious winged jewel. Such a local treasure, yet hardly seen and only seldom heard.

This world of green has been known to swallow men whole. A tangled jungle so close to highways and byways, to be whizzed through, with most folk unaware of its depths or heights. Of trees that were full grown when Christ walked and this Calendar began, they stand still, seeing all.

This is a no mere picnic place. It is untouched yet, and waiting.

 

Prince Alfred Pass

The pass is a hidden place, from whichever side you approach it. It is, however, the chain that links the two worlds of the Garden Route and the Langkloof.

Dalene Matthee, author of ‘ Fiela’s Child’ and a number of other books, made the connection.

It is a long dusty pass, joining two places, distinctly different from each other.

The Garden Route is the blue and green Garden world, of sea and dense forest. The Langkloof is exactly what it says it is, a long, long valley between two mountain ranges, the Tsitsikamma and the Kouga, backed by the Baviaanskloof.  It is a valley of farms, orchards and little towns, dry in the summer, and hot.

The great Thomas Bains was the builder of the pass, as he was of most of the awe inspiring passes along our coastline. He packed up his wife and many children and settled down at De Vlugt, while the building was done.

De Vlugt is now a welcome oasis mid pass, where dusty travellers can find refreshment under a cool tree, with tea and cake from a small friendly store. The pause is welcome, because the sun beats down in the summer, and from the Kloof side where  the road starts at Avontuur, it is dusty, and  in many parts not for the faint hearted. It clings to cliff sides and claws its way up and down, giving way to breath taking  views.

Toward the sea side the road begins its descent and burrows its way through forest giants and ferns. The cool breeze is felt and the pass resorts to a sedate meander through greenness, to spit you out eventually, with the smell of sea, close by.

 

Millwood

The Garden Route was party to its very own Gold Rush once upon a time.

It did not last long, but a proper little town was built at Millwood, to accommodate hundreds of people.

Well, when the fever passed, and everyone went home, a little bit of that time remained, at Millwood.

Most of the houses built there were dismantled and transported to town where they were put together again, and Knysna still boasts a few of these wood and iron houses here and there.

Millwood itself has one or two buildings, exhibiting the quaintness found in a bygone era.

Beauty abounds in this interesting place, still littered with abandoned mining tunnels and shafts.

At the ‘Millwood Nature Reserve’ the views are magnificent, which are shown to best advantage in the 5 km walk, taking about 2 hours.

The site is perfect for a leisurely picnic, during which one can try and imagine the hustle and bustle, the excitement and fervour of those early miners.

The forest is silent about all that now, the dashed hopes and the forsaken dreams.

It is still now , and peaceful, the site reclaimed by nature, and yet, one can feel them still…

The ghostly presence of those hundreds of dreamers, the clanging and the banging.

It’s there somewhere, in the silence.

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