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.

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Striated Skies No. 25 – Landslide

25. Landslide

In the small seaside town of Wilderness, South Africa lies the derelict train tracks of the once infamous Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe. A landslide that occurred in 2006 obscured the  tracks and it was decided that the Choo-Tjoe was not core business for Transnet (South African Rail operator). The line was thus not repaired. The Choo-Tjoe took people from Knysna to George along the coast and was a major tourist attraction for the region. The cost of repairs is estimated in the hundreds of Millions although local reports state that Knysna looses that much in tourism revenue on a yearly basis. It must have been a wonderful train trip when it was running and if someone can make it economically viable to bring it back it would be great. There are ideas about turning the line into a biking track or a walking path. Regardless of what happens the line should be used for some tourism activity because it is simply beautiful.

Striated Skies No. 22 – SKB-BOF

Striated Skies

Taken near George, this photo depicts the Outeniqua mountains in the background and fruit crates in the foreground. George is approximately halfway between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town thus the centre of the Garden Route. The Town was first established because of the timber industry which is still in operation. A visit to George and the Garden Route is something I would suggest you do!