Cape Town – Famous for its annual Oyster Festival and incredible forests, Knysna is looking to be put on the map for another reason in the near future. According to a statement released by SANParks, the Garden Route town is in the running for be named a ‘Hope Spot’ one of these days. Hope Spot? You may ask. Well, apparently Hope Spots are places that are critical to the health of the ocean. While some are already formally protected, others still need defined protection. The prospective Hope Spot in Knysna includes the estuary which opens up to the Atlantic Ocean at the Heads. Managed by SANParks, the estuary is a protected area in the Garden Route National Park and rated as SA’s number 1 in terms of biodiversity significance. It is home to the endangered Knysna seahorse, which though not abundant, can be found in Swartvlei and Knysna estuaries though not abundant. In excess of 200 species of fish have been recorded in the Knysna Estuary alone. The permanently open estuary enables free access to typical marine species, with the result that there are many records of species which do not normally occur in estuaries. Once declared a ‘Hope Spot’ Knysna will join other global players like Chagos, the Outer Seychelles, the Coral Triangle, the Micronesian Islands, Gulf of Mexico Deep Reefs and the Gulf of Guinea. The effort to get Knysna counted among these is run by Partners in Knysna, which consists of SANParks, the Eden District Municipality, Knysna Municipality, Cape Nature, Knysna Basin Project, Biowise and Lakes Bird Club. The project will be explained in more during an exhibition that forms part of the Knysna Oyster Festival. For more information, Like Knysna Hope Spot on Facebook.