About Leisure Island
Leisure Isle is a residential suburb, one of the two island suburbs of Knysna. It is 6 kms from the centre of Knysna, and is approached from George Rex Drive. Refer to Map and directions for further details
The Island has a total circumference of over 4 kms, is 1.6 kms in length and .5 km across at its widest point. There are about 450 houses on the Island, more than half of which are occupied by permanent residents. Many houses are available for rent by holidaymakers.
During the holiday season the Island's population swells considerably, and many day visitors also enjoy its facilities. Anne Brash's impressionistic map above, although not to scale, captures the feel of the island very well.
Knysna has a temperate climate, with no strong prevailing winds. During summer, moderate easterlies often blow during the afternoon. In winter, a few gale-force westerlies can be expected.
During 2011 and 2012 good rains fell; well above the average of the past ten years of 798mm was recorded in Steenbok Nature Reserve. 2006 and 2007 were years of exceptional rainfall, with 1080mm (2006) and 1166mm (2007) being measured. Then followed three years of lower rainfall, with serious a drought being experienced in 2009 (471mm), while 2011 and 2012 saw over 1000mm.
A remarkable feature of the Island is its underground or 'spike' water. A copious supply of fresh water lies two to three metres below ground level, where the sands are saturated with this fresh water. It is easily extracted via a 'spike' and pump to give a good supply of water. This water is not suitable for human consumption, and its quality varies at different points of the Island.
Leisure Isle Ground Water Leisure Isle Ground Water
This free source of fresh water is a great boon to gardeners and is extensively used for watering gardens on the Island. Its availability has meant that Island gardens have suffered little from the water restrictions that have been necessary for the rest of the town for many years.
An antique hand pump has been installed in the Steenbok Nature Reserve. Visitors are invited to work the pump to experience the strong and consistent flow of water from the spike sunk only 3 metres into the sand.
Living as we do on an island, the daily ebb and flow of the tides is part of our consciousness, and shapes certain of our daily activities. At high spring tide the Island is completely surrounded by seawater from the tidal flow coming through the Heads. Depending on the mood of the currents, the sand of the beaches may be shaved down or deposited along the shore, particularly at Bollard Bay.
Flood Sea Wall Tide
When spring tides are associated with strong westerly winds and low barometric pressure, it is not unusual for the water to breach the sea wall in several places, and to flood Steenbok Nature Reserve.
The Island is surrounded by a sea wall, built of stone and reinforced in places by wooden palings. The initial building of the sea wall was begun in 1929 and took three years to complete, using stone from the hillside above Woodbourne. Because the shoreline is subject to continuous tidal and wind erosion and sedimentation, the sea defenses have to be repaired and maintained on an ongoing basis. This is the responsibility of the Knysna Municipality.