Warning: The Red Tide, a natural phenomenon which lasts for weeks or months, is bad news for holidaymakers to the Garden Route and for those tourist towns that rely on them. It’s also bad news for shellfish and some line fish. BUT all is not bad because there is so much else to do…
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has confirmed the outbreak of Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB), more well known as the Red Tide (please note that the colour can change). It’s infected the coastline and has entered the Knysna Estuary.
The DEA has warned against fishing and swimming. Additionally, they have said not to eat any fish from affected areas. Shellfish poisoning is the biggest worry.
I add my own warning. Please keep anyone with respiratory (breathing) problems away from places most affected. I’m asthmatic. 2 years ago, at Coney Glen in Knysna, I went for a hike. The waves were beating the red tide against the rocks, creating foam and releasing toxic gases into the air. Worse than continuously getting light-headed and my legs buckling, is that it weakened my lungs. I stayed in a sunless, mouldy place. The combination left me sick for 2 years.
None of this means that we have to be paranoid. Knysna is a massive, fantastical place of nature. Explore our lakes, rivers and forest. Your meals will be safe – ask where your food is coming from e.g. the vast majority of Knysna’s oysters are imported (it’s a myth that the town farms them).
For suggestions on things to do in Knysna’s nature, visit Knysna Tourism in Main Road (N2) and SANParks on Thesen Islands. You can also visit www.loveknysna.com.