Port Elizabeth, SA to Knysna - by car

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Nov 16th, 2005, 09:27 AM
  #1
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Port Elizabeth, SA to Knysna - by car

We just returned a couple of weeks ago from a very enjoyable and successful trip driving from Jo'Burg to Knysna, then into Cape Town.
We were buying African arts and crafts from local markets, and found some really good items. We found that the markets were best, not gift shops, since the prices were lower, and we hope, most of the purchase money may get back to the artisans, rather than the shop owners and middlemen. The two really good markets were the huge indoor "Rosebank" in Jo'Burg, and a large roadside market outside of the city Knysner, on the coast (about a day's drive from Cape Town). We're planning another trip in a couple of months and thought we'd fly into Port Elizabeth from Jo'Burg and drive to Cape Town again.
Does anyone know if there are large roadside or intown markets in Port Elizabeth or along the coast towards Knysner?
We know most of the crafts come from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Kenya. (Some very nice items were made in S.A.too). On other trips we may fly directly into some of these countries, but for now we'll buy in S.A. Does anyone know of any other places where there are very large, diversified local markets? We found that the local craft shops did lovely work, but were a bit expensive to resell. Is there one or more large markets in Duban to make it worthwhile to drive from there to P.Eliz and on?
You have all been very helpful on our previous trip and I thank you for helping to make that trip successful. - Joan
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Nov 16th, 2005, 02:57 PM
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Sorry for mispelling Knysna. - Joan
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Nov 17th, 2005, 05:04 PM
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Thank you, colind,

I guess that you're affiliated with a tour company, so you probably know the area very well.
We drove from Knysna to Cape Town by the mountain route - there was very little to see except the high farms and ranches.
If we drove one of the routes closer to the ocean, would we come across any local crafts? Or are the roads rough and difficult? And do they mostly only go down to the coast and not towards Cape Town? Would it take us much longer to drive these roads than the very good ones we did drive.
We spent a day on the drive from Knysna to Cape Town with only a few stops. The ocean is beautiful, but we have limited time, so we can't sunbath or swim.
Thank you again for your help. - Joan
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Nov 17th, 2005, 10:49 PM
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Joan,

Yes, the Knysna art & craft market between the N2 and the lagoon is a great place to find treasures! There are also a few places in and around Knysna where you will find the artists selling their wares. Take a drive to Rheenendal from Knysna, and chances are that you will find a few local artists along the road, sometimes with handmade boards pointing to their "studios". Ask around at the local market where you can meet the artists.

One word of warning though... we've often bought carvings and furniture from these markets... and you have to have these pieces professionally "fumigated" (for lack of a better word) against wood-eating insects and crawlies. Apparently they lay their eggs in the tree, then when standing in your lounge, the egg hatches and produces a crawly that eats it's way out of the wood, and sometimes even carries on eating a few more holes! I'm no insect expert as you can hear, but since we were in the UK for a few years, and locked up our house in Cape Town, we returned on one holiday to find huge heaps of sawdust next to our beautiful carving of a fish eagle! As if that was not enough, it had also got itsself into our hardpear table, and munched a few mazes through there too! After fumigation, we've never had to worry again, and now our eagle and table have both been well for over 5 years!

Also, between PE and Cape Town there are quite a few farm stalls where you can buy amazing furniture and arts & crafts. I'm not sure of their names as we recognise them already, but you will notice the big ones like Dassiesfontein and others.

Happy hunting!
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Nov 19th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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Roly, thank you for the helpful advise. We hope to find some of these artists on our next trip late this winter.
We knew of the need to "fumigate" wood products, in fact we needed to have it done to all the wood articles we shipped to the US. We arranged for a company in Cape Town to fumigate the boxes prior to delivery to the air cargo shipping department. Everything went smoothly and there was no difficulty at US customs (we did hire a broker in the US and in Cape Town). Hearing of the damage the termites did to your furniture, I can understand the need for this. I'm sorry that this happened to you, it must have been horrid.
We lived in Liberia and Kenya in the 1960's and purchased and shipped back wood articles (not large pieces i.e. furniture, but lots of small pieces. Nothing was fumigated at that time, and nothing has been damaged, so I guess we were fortunate, or the bugs are getting hungrier now!
Thank you again for the reply. We did find some nice jewelry at the Sunday market in Hout Bay, but a bit out of the way for us to travel there again from Cape Town. We loved the drive to the Cape of Good Hope. The peninsular is a beautiful place to live.- Joan
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