PICS: From the ashes of the Knysna fire, this hotel is rising as an uber-modern Garden Route stay
A few scraggly trees are the only reminders left of the fires.
Quaint, yet modern chalets encircle a giant patch of green, vibrant deckchairs inviting guests to come relax in the sunshine.
The Knysna Hollow Country Estate has undergone an extreme makeover - albeit an unwilling one. Its well-known thatched-roof chalets surrounded by lushness became tinder during the 2017 Knysna fires, with only a handful of buildings surviving the blaze.
Like many others in the Garden Route town, they had to start again - all from scratch - but instead of recreating what was lost, they opted for something a little different.
They re-opened their doors on 1 October 2018, and since then have cultivated a sparkling new image. The thatch has been replaced by stylish Pythagoras roofs, with a sleek design wholly taken over and while they have fewer rooms than before, the space has been optimised to enhance the garden experience of Knysna Hollow.
Every room looks inwards towards the pools and bowls area, the sun is able to shine on almost every spot on the estate for most of the day.
Inside the chalets, a simple yet sleek interior welcomes guests after a long boat ride on the Knysna Lagoon, and when winter has the Garden Route in its clutches the underfloor heating snips away the frost.
Entry to this Eden is made through the completely revamped reception area, morphed into a chic breakfast area, restaurant and bar.
The chalets aren't self-catering and only breakfast is included in your stay, but the Social Eatery & Bar that's replaced the destroyed restaurant has a scrumptious menu for when you don't want to venture into the city centre or waterfront.
A definite must-try is one of their famous curries, washed down with a crisp Red Bridge craft beer brewed locally.
And the staff is also another plus at this 4-star stay - incredibly friendly and helpful, they will do whatever's in their power to help you out - including trying to find some painkillers after you've slammed yourself into a boat.
A few scars still persist on the Garden Route, but like Knysna Hollow there has been a resurgence, a modernisation and a new path forged from the charred remains - and they are more than ready to welcome visitors who want to rise with them.