Knysna Tourism might find a ready mascot in the humble dassie after one particularly adventurous specimen hitched a ride from Hout Bay to the popular holiday destination on the Garden Route.
Karen Gschwend, who had been visiting Hout Bay about four weeks ago, found the uninvited guest in her car when she arrived home in Knysna.
“I have an unusual problem,” began her WhatsApp message to George-based animal charity, Cat Assistance Team (CAT) on Saturday July 8.
“Last weekend, we went to Hout Bay and came back with a young dassie in our car,” wrote Ms Gschwend.
She tried parking her car at Noetzie Beach for three days hoping the critter would leave. No luck. She fetched her car and parked at her home in Knysna. “Can you help?” she wrote.
“The Cape of Good Hope SPCA advised us how to handle and feed our furry friend. But they said dassies are territorial, so it couldn’t be released just anywhere and ideally should be returned to Hout Bay,” wrote Ms Gschwend.
She created a refuge for the visitor by lining a covered cat carrier with grass.
Lucky for the dassie, help came when Hoekwil Humane Society’s Herita MacDonald offered to return it to its home.
“I once brought a three-legged dog from Grabouw to George, so getting a dassie to Cape Town seemed easy,” she said.
CAT Garden Route patiently trapped the stowaway and the furry hitch-hiker was chauffeured back along the Garden Route.
“A perfect passenger. Happy with banana and an apple. Hopefully we won’t see it back on the N2 with a R10 note and a sign saying ‘back to Knysna’,” laughed Ms MacDonald.
Knysna Tourism information officer Thozeka Sikali said they did not get too many dassies visiting Knysna but were very pleased to have this one drop in.
Perhaps Hout Bay had been a little too cold for the dassie and it had been drawn to the idea of spending some time soaking up the sun at Noetzie Beach, she suggested.