The historical Rheenendal area is steeped in the history of a bygone era. Once a hive of activity as the gold diggers rushed into the hills deep in the forest to dig for gold, Totties General Dealers, still there today, supplied them with all they needed to survive the trials and ordeal of a Gold diggers life. The sleepy village of Rheenendal nestles alongside the magical mystical Millwood Forests and still has a timeless feel with its dusty Post Office, a petrol pump and a Wood Sawmill all dating back to 1880. The winding country road leading off the N2 takes you past farms, farm stalls, eateries and artists studios and boasts the award winning music studio at Peace of Eden. Most if not all the Country homesteads have cosy cottages to hire or wares to see and buy, making this an interesting drive to the jewels that lie at the misty foothills of the Outeniqua hills and the MIllwood Forest. Beyond the village, take a turn deeper into the forest and you will come to one of the ancient 'Big Tree's, a 1000 year old Yellowood which towers over the Memorial Stone of Dalene Mathee, an author famous for her wonderful book about Knysna's rich heritage of wood loggers and elephants, 'Circle in the Forest'. As you explore deeper and further down you will come to Jubilee Creek and as you meander on the paths winding alongside the golden pebbled creek, you will sense the mysterious and illusive Knysna Elephants who roam freely deep in these forests and If you listen carefully you can imagine hearing the soft thud of their feet on the damp mossy paths and the deep throaty rumble of their calls. Further afield at the foot of the fern covered hills you can go into the dank dark tunnels of the Goldmines where the ping of the water drops reminds you of the depths of the tunnels and the stories they hold of dreams and gold of this bygone era. A respite from all the walking comes in the form of two original tin cottages that house a quaint coffee shop and a little museum with historical info and sepia coloured newspaper cuttings telling the rich story and history of Rheenendal. A little way up from there is a graveyard and head stones of those adventurous souls who came to find their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and whilst the gold has long dried out, on a misty rainy day you will see the most beautiful rainbows entrenching the history and the magic of this beautiful area.
17 August 2012