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 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.
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.
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.
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.