Thesen Islands is steeped in the history of the Southern Cape. It is situated in the midst of the tranquil waters of one of the richest ecological estuaries in South Africa – home to the rare and endangered Knysna sea horse – hippocampus capensis.
Legend has it that the San – or Bushmen – were the earliest in- habitants of the island. Later, settlers made the area their home, drawn by the rich indigenous forests where herds of the famous Knysna elephant roamed. The island became known as Paarden Island – ‘Horse Island’
The name Thesen has its origins in faraway Norway. In July 1869, Arndt Leonard Thesen, a prominent timber merchant from Stavanger in Norway left his hometown with is wife and nine children, planning to start a new life in New Zealand. After their ship, the Albatros, ran into difficulties near Cape Town, Arndt Thesen decided to stay on in South Africa. The Thesens settled in the picturesque town of Knysna, surrounded by indigenous forests, where they started a timber trading company. In 1904 his son Charles Wilhelm Thesen bought Paarden Island, located in the Knysna River estuary. In 1922 he established a timber processing plant on the island, which soon became known as Thesen Island.
In the early 1980s Barlows, one of South Africa’s industrial conglomerates, purchased the island and its timber treatment plant from Thesen and Company. Barlows soon realized that the timber processing activities could not be continued on this island located in the midst of such a scenic and eco-sensitive lagoon. At the same time there was growing community concern about the environmental and industrial pollution caused by the factory’s activities. As a result the plant’s doors were finally closed. In the ensuing years the abandoned derelict buildings, machinery and waste dumps increasingly turned into an eyesore and a health hazard.
In 1991 Dr. Chris Mulder, a South African environmental engineer who received his doctorate in environmental design in Houston, USA, proposed a complete redevelopment of the island into a unique residential marina.
As the Knysna River estuary is one of the most sensitive ecosystems in the country and a major tourism attraction, the development of Thesen Islands called for extremely careful and sensitive planning covering ecological, architectural, engineering, aesthetic, social and cultural criteria. After eight years of research and planning by Dr. Mulder and his team, approval was finally granted in December 1998 - but with over one hundred strict and complex conditions. In all, ten years passed from initial concept to final approval, involving twenty-five alterations to the master plan!
AHEAD WITH HATS ALLAH TAWAKAL CELL POINT AND REPAIR ARTWELL MUSUNGATE GALLERY AVOPOMME COMPANY BAY SHOE & KEY BEAUTIFUL BODY CARWASH BOESMANLAND BILTONG BH INTERIORS CATWALK HAIR DESIGN CELL C SHOP CLICKS CREATIVE MINDS CUSTOM SEWING DÉJÀ VU ANTIQUES DELISH DIGGERS CLOTHING GRANT’S SPORTS H2O HARRY’S HELMA
KAY’S NO 2 KING PIE KNYSNA FM KNYSNA JEWELLERS KNYSNA KEM KNYSNA MUNICIPALITY CUSTOMER CARE CENTRE KODAK EXPRESS –THE PHOTO SHOP LAPLAND LEW GEFFEN SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL LOGAN MARTIN ATTORNEYS MAGNETIC CREATIVE MEMORIES MTN NATURAL HEALING NEDBANK OLD MUTUAL PICK N PAY PICK N PAY CLOTHING
PICK N PAY LIQUOR ROTATION SEDA SENQU SMOKER’S CORNER SPARKLIFE STUDIOS SPEC SAVERS SYMPHONY OF SOUNDS TELKOM THE CRAZY STORE THE DAILY THE FOOD HUT THE OLIVE TREE THE POOCH AND PURR LOVERS VERDI’S PANCAKES WOODLAND BEADS WOODMILL LANE –CENTRE MANAGEMENT
WOODMILL LANE is proud to be one of the official sponsors of the Knysna Pink Loerie Festival in 2017. We welcome you to come down to Woodmill Lane to enjoy the festivities.
We will be home to the Pink Pop-Up Lounge which will be open from Wednesday 26th - Saturday 29th April. This is where you will be able to purchase all your Pink Loerie, Bear Colony and Wigstock apparel.
Also on at Woodmill Lane will be the Pink Loerie craft market from Thursday 27th - Saturday 29th April, 10am – 5pm.
Then join us after the Saturday parade from 4pm - 6pm for our piazza party! This will play host to the official prize giving ceremony, live music in the piazza, and great food at our two restaurants.
Be sure to make use of our parking garages and cyclist parking areas. Woodmill Lane also has ATM facilities, as well as High-Level Security to ensure your happiness & wellbeing.
ABOUT WOODMILL LANE
Historically an old saw mill, Woodmill Lane is now the warm, welcoming heart of Knysna. This fabulously green centre houses restaurants, coffee shops, clothing boutiques, antique shops as well as local arts and crafts centres to name but a few. EVERYTHING YOU NEED IN ONE PRETTY (PINK) PACKAGE!