I am a massive Dalene Matthee fan. In preparation for the 2012 Karoo 2 Coast MTB Tour, I re-read Fiela se Kind. The day after the race, we went to visit the Dalene Matthee memorial in the Knysna Forest. So many historical places of interest fall victim to vandalism so it was reassuring to see this beautifully set out memorial.
Getting there: take the N2 out of Knysna in the George direction, cross the lagoon and continue up the hill. Take the Rheenendal turn-off to the right, continuing along this road for 12.5 km until you reach the Bibby’s Hoek / Goudveld / Millwood turn-off to the right just past Rheenendal. Follow the dirt road for 4 km until you reach the access gate and pay point. Krisjan-se-Nek is about 4 kilometres further on.
GPS co-ordinates: S33°91’67” E22´95’77”
Permits: R20 adults; R10 children
I was forced to read Dalene Matthee’s Kringe in ‘n Bos as an Afrikaans setwork book in senior school. I have since re-read Kringe, as well as her other forest novels, Moerbeibos and Fiela se Kind, and have learned to love them, possibly with the same passion that Mnr Knoetze did.
Stop at the pay-point, pay for your permit. You will receive a great pamphlet with a map, and descriptions of features in the area that are worded with passages from Dalene Matthee’s books. Drive straight up the road, passing the tea-room (it looked closed).
After 4 km you arrive at a bend in the road. The memorial is set to the side on the left next to the big tree, and ahead to the right is a fairly large open grassed area with picnic benches, surrounded by dense, pristine indigenous forest. The memorial was unveiled 23 February 2008, and the Outeniqua Yellowwood towering over it named in her honour. The 40 m high tree is reckoned to be some 880 years old. A nearby circular walk (3km or 9km) was renamed the Circles in a Forest Trail in her memory.