Striated Skies No. 40 – Thesen Turbine

40. Thesen Turbines

Thesen Islands Turbine Hotel was established in 2010. The hotel is housed in the refurbished power station that was in operation on the island from 1939 to 2001 when the power station was decommissioned.

Thesen islands is named after Charles William Thesen who bought the island (it was called Paarden island at the time) in 1922 in order to process timber. The Thesen family had moved from Norway to Knysna in 1870 and founded numerous business entities in the town. The wood processing plant resulted in waste. This was used as fuel to power the turbines for electricity generation.

In 1974 Barlows, purchased the logging operations. The operations on the islands were decommissioned in early 1980 due to the adverse environment impact they caused. Barlow sold the islands for re-development and CMAI went on to develop the Islands into the internationally acclaimed marina development it is today, housing the Thesen Harbour Town with its shops, restaurants and hotels, together with 596 residential houses and apartments, 19 interlinked islands and numerous canals.

A museum concept for the old power station never materialized and the site was sold to the current Hotel owner and operators, Geoff Engel and Dandre Lerm, in September 2007. Rezoning, approvals and building of the site took almost 3 years and the full operation commenced trading on 12 August 2010.

I have did not stay at the hotel so I cannot comment on it. The hotel website gives the following description. The Turbine Hotel & Spa comprises 24 bedrooms and suites, an Amani African Spa, the 90 seater Island Café, The Turbine Tapas Bar, together with Conference facilities, pool deck, jetty for motorized pontoon cruises and a host of modern facilities which tastefully complement the refurbished facilities and equipment which have been bought back to life around the property. The original wood boiler, four electricity generators and much of the equipment have been fully restored and blend in with the hotel’s décor themes. Each bedroom has been individually decorated and is themed and named to reflect the rich cultural, historical and geographic diversity of Knysna.


Knysna is a great tourist destination and part of the Garden Route which is a must for any savy traveller. It is known for its many festivals, which you can check put here. Make sure you take a trip through the garden route and spend time in Knysna.

For more information visit:



Striated Skies No 29 – Steenbras Steal #2

29. Steenbras Steal #2


The Steenbras Dam Reserve is a spectacular place with rock formations and fynbos that are amazing. I am so priveledged that I got to drive around the dam and hope that the City of Cape Town are able to make access by the public available via a permit in the future. We did not venture into the garden below the wall. It looks simply beautiful and well kept.



The dam is an earth-fill dam and sits just above Gordan’s Bay. The arial photo’s below by Craig Lotter show the dam sitting above Gordan’s Bay high above the sea.












The Steenbras Dam is used to provide water for Parts of Cape Town as we as a Hydroelectric plant in order to assist with electricity in peak times. When electricity demand is low, water is pumped from the lower Koegelberg dam into the Palmiet dam then Steenbras. During peak times the water is allowed to flow back through turbines thus providing extra electricity. This has in fact helped the City of Cape Town to reduce the amount of Loadshedding that has to take place.

As I have already said, hopefully the dam can have visitors rights restored in order for the People of Cape Town to enjoy this beauty