As any unique Guesthouse owner will know, there are always the type of guests who book for three nights and end up staying two weeks. Walter from Germany was such a guest; with his striking German looks and worldly well-travelled attitude Walter was such a guest that we wouldn’t have leave for anything in the world. I became very accustomed to having him sit in his usual chair we soon made friends. One evening, I asked whether he and two of his German travelling buddies would like to join me on a Saturday morning market experience. With enthusiasm, they said yes.
Out-door markets have taken an unexpected boom in South Africa within the last couple of years. Certainly on the Garden Route, one couldn’t drive for more than 30km’s without noticing a gathering of people carrying recyclable brown-paper bags, cheeks stuffed with goat’s cheese and standing under numerous multi-material-multi-coloured umbrellas.
Saturday morning arrives and after a quick cup of delicious coffee at Bamboo Guest House Knysna, the four of us make our way to the Wild Oats Farmers’ Market. It’s a quick and scenic 20 minute drive from Bamboo Guesthouse. Even though the day is overcast, the parking lot is chockablock. We find a space and mosey on to the markets open and welcoming entrance.
At once my senses become alarmed! I grow instantaneously hungry and head straight for my regular stands, Germans in tow. On offer is a wide variety of locally produced goods. The farmers are mostly environmentally conscious and use systems such as permaculture to produce their goods. The atmosphere is alight with a pleasant confusion and available are numerous informal seating arrangements where friends and family gather to enjoy a hearty breakfast and freshly squeezed juice. Not in the mood for a traditional breakfast? You can spend half an hour at all the various stalls and pick out a couple of your favourites. A picnic basket is lent to all guests at Bamboo Guesthouse with a hearty appetite and a market in mind. Fill it with fresh bread, cheese, olives and snoek pate… YUM !
After a couple of hours perusing the wide selection of delicious good (both edible and not!), the Germans and I head to Gericke’s Point for a beach walk and picnic. The Gericke's Point Beach Walk is a casual 2hour stoll (there and back). It’s recommended that you go at low-tide to best enjoy the tidal pools and rock formations. It’s safe for swimming too, with a permanent life-guard on watch for any strugglers. There’s a little ice-cream hut if anyone’s in the mood for a soft-serve, open till 4pm. Directions: stay on the N2 (from Knysna toward George) and about 500m’s after the Wild Oats Farmers’ Market you will see a small Golfing Range, take a left here and follow the road until you get to the parking lot).
Another fun option at Gericke’s Point is a Full Moon beach walk that’s hosted by Judy Dixon. The Starlight Stroll starts at 7pm at the Swartvlei Beach parking lot, where after an introductory talk one heads down to the beach and has the opportunity to spend some time with an interesting host of sea and sand creatures. The walk costs R60. Contact Judy Dixon +27 (0) 44-883-1015.
As the day reaches it’s close, we raise our glasses to a day very well done! Prost! - ein Toast!
Below are a couple of other markets that you may want to visit whilst around the Garden Route:
- Harkerville Saturday Market (Plettenberg Bay) - Telephone: + 27 (0)44 533-9094
- Kurland Food Market (Plettenberg Bay) - Telephone: +27 (0)84 812-3365
- Milkwood Evening Market (Wilderness) - Telephone: +27 (0)44 877-1888
- Pick Strawberries at Red Berry Farm (George) - Telephone: +27 (0)44 870-7123
- Plett Market on Main (Plettenberg Bay) - Telephone: +27 (0)44 533-1630
- Shop at the Knysna Friday Market (Knysna) - Telephone: +27 (0)44 382-5316
- The Heath (Plettenberg Bay) - Telephone: +27 (0)44 532-7724
- The Red Barn Restaurant & Country Store (Knysna) - Telephone: +27 (0)82 739-0962
- Timberlake Farm Stall & Organic Food (Sedgefield) - Telephone: +27 (0)44 882-1185
- Visit the Silver Lily Cheese Farm (George) - Telephone: +27 (0)44 870-7424