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The Dalene Matthee Memorial is situated in Knysna in the Western Cape, South Africa.

Dalene Matthee was born in Riversdale in 1938. She became one of South Africa’s most well-loved Authors and produced 13 books in her time. She wrote mainly in Afrikaans and before her worldwide success she wrote children’s novels and short stories.

She is most famous for her four “forest books” namely, Kringe in die Bos (Circles in the Forest), Fiela’s se Kind (Fiela’s Child), Moerbeibos (The Mulberry Forest) and Toorbos (Dreamforest). She gained instant international success with her first novel “Circles in the Forest” about the extermination of the elephants and the exploitation of the woodcutters of the Knysna Forest. Both “Circles in the Forest” and “Fiela’s se Kind” were made into successful movies and have been used as prescribed material in schools for over 20 years. Some of her books have been translated into 14 languages. Dalene received various awards and is the only South African author to have sold over 1 million books in South Africa.

Dalene Matthee passed away in her sleep on 20 February 2005. Her ashes were scattered at Krisjan-se-Nek, one of her favourite places in the Knysna Forest. On 23 February 2008 her memorial was unveiled and in honour the enormous Yellowwood Tree, believed to be approximately 800 years old, was renamed the Dalene Matthee Big Tree. The Hiking Trail was also renamed the Circles in the Forest Hiking Trail. The memorial was designed by Trevor Clift and the inscription was done by hand by the only artisan in the Cape who still does “V-cut” chiseling, Italian born Mick D’Aquanno.

Things to do and see

Admission

Open daily during daylight hours

Admission fee is between R9 and R22 per person and includes admission to the picnic site. Pricing is subject to change.

Climate

Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 15˚C and 28˚C with high rainfall in October.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 7˚C and 21˚C with the lowest rainfall in June.

Transport

Commercial Airlines offer flights into George Airport. The N2 highway will take you into the Knysna, approximately a one hour drive. Car hire facilities are located at the Airports. 

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