14 June 2011 by Julienne du Toit

Endlovana’s Magical Ecology

Knysna is one of South Africa’s busiest holiday towns in season. So discovering Endlovana was a little like slipping off-planet. It is 85 hectares of mostly pristine fynbos and milkwood forest, right up against the beach dunes.

Here’s the interesting part of it. Endlovana was inherited in about 2000 by a hard-nosed city lawyer called Susan Campbell. Susan knew nothing about nature and couldn’t have cared less about it. But one day, when she came here to camp and decide what she would do with the place, the land threw a magical spell over her.

“After that trip I changed. I fell in love with it. I didn’t want to put a house there because I could see the damage it might do. I wanted to keep it simple.”

Someone suggested putting up safari tents on platforms to minimize the impact, and Susan went on a mission, looking for little ‘holes’ in the milkwood forest to put up other tents. This property had turned her into an ecologist. She wanted to live light upon the land.

Endlovana’s magic is strong, and it affected us as much as it affected others. We too became conscious of the ecosystem’s delicate wholeness, and appreciated Susan’s light touch. Look at the visitor’s book, and you’ll see people who say they could barely drag themselves away. There are many which talk about the tranquility and the blessedness of the area. My favourite visitor’s comment came from one Pat Hattingh, “A very warm, caring and generous Heart is evidenced everywhere. Thank you Susan for your overflowing good will. I hope you drink red wine.”

Endlovana, incidentally, means Little Elephant. After all, this land used to be trampled by the elephants of the Knysna forest.

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