There’s a special something about Knysna that no one seems quite able to describe – so it’s not surprising that people have given so much deep spiritual meaning to the area.
But first – a few facts.
The Knysna Estuary, much of the Knysna forests, and a lot of fynbos of the area are managed by SANParks as sections of the Garden Route National Park – the only unfenced national park in South Africa.
According to a paper published by the Park (‘Garden Route National Park State of Knowledge 1985’ – download it, it’s really worth reading):
… None of which tells us much at all. Especially if we’re looking for spiritual explanations.
Dean Liprini makes a tantalising point in his book, ‘Pathways of the Sun: Unveiling the Mysteries of Table Mountain and Beyond’ (Juta, 2006), “At Knysna a profile marked the entrance to one of the Strandloper caves, its eye gazing up to the noonday Sun. Here we find layer upon layer of shell middens deposited over the many years of habitation of early people. Another single guardian rock stands in a pivotal corner, facing eastwards to the rising Sun.” (for more from Dean Liprini, see sacredsites.co.za.)
And perhaps this (from the ‘State of Knowledge’ paper), might give us a clue: “The only archaeological site at Knysna is the cave at the Western Head, which included midden deposits (Grindley 1985). FitzSimons (1928) provided an account of a strandloper burial site close to Knysna where excavations were made for filling material for the railway.”
Actually, as a result of the work being by the SACP4 Project*, we now know that there are in fact many different sites of significance to the development of the human species all the way along the Garden Route – including a number in the Knysna area .
This was probably the area in which our ancient ancestors both survived an ice age – at around 162,000 years ago – and began to behave in ways that we now consider modern.
We’re surprised that the Park’s report didn’t mention this. But it could just be the hint we’re looking for: our ancient ancestors lived and might even have worshipped here for thousands of generations.
At the level of our genes, Knysna feels like home.
*SACP4 Project: the South African Coastal Palaeoclimate, Palaeoenvironment, Palaeoecology, and Palaeoanthropology Project. “This is probably where the small, core population that gave rise to all humans alive today first began to exhibit significantly modern behaviour: the systematic harvesting of food from the sea, the use of complex bladelet technology, and the use of ochres for symboling.” Quoted from humanorigin.co.za, the Point of Human Origin Experience in Mossel Bay, which offers tours of the caves that were the initial focus of the Project’s work, and which continue to be studied today.
The SACP4 Project has recently extended its work to Knysna as well, and we can’t wait for the publication of its initial findings – which should happen during 2016.