The beautiful countryside close to Albertina in the Western Cape

The beautiful countryside close to Albertina in the Western Cape

The canary yellow car my brother and I rented for our road trip

The canary yellow car my brother and I rented for our road trip

Long line of cars and trucks part of the traffic jam

Long line of cars and trucks part of the traffic jam

We had a 5 hour drive from Stellenbosch to Knysna through the Western Cape that Thursday morning. Just before we reached the town Albertina, about an hour and a half from Knysna we got stuck in a traffic jam. Hoping that the delay will not last too long we waited in line. After moving only about 1 km in an hour we eventually stopped moving. Everyone switched off their cars and got out to look if we could see what the hold up was.

We had been standing a while before we actually saw smoke appear on the horizon

We had been standing a while before we actually saw smoke appear on the horizon

We then found out that we couldn’t go any further because there was a huge wildfire and smoke was so bad that there was no visibility for drivers.

It was a huge wildfire

It was a huge wildfire

We could see the smoke billowing out above the trees!

We could see the smoke billowing out above the trees!

We stood around watching firefighters and helicopters drop water on the flames that at times were high enough to see above the trees. We decided to wait around and hoped that the fire would be quenched soon as the only alternative route we knew of would be an added 3 hours onto our drive.

We even got to watch how helicopters flew and dropped water on the fire

We even got to watch how helicopters flew and dropped water on the fire

After a bit more than 2 hours we eventually got shown an alternative dirt route by the police as there was no sign that the fire was going to stop soon. We had to drive about 15 km on the dirt road, but it saved us a couple of hours on the detour that was suggested earlier that afternoon.

Evidence of how bad the fire had been

Evidence of how bad the fire had been

We drove the same route back 3 days later and sure enough there was nothing left. The whole area was covered in ash and some places there were still small fires smoldering.

Everything was burned to ash 3 days later

Everything was burned to ash 3 days later