The Simola Phantom – a sell-out event


As the full moon performed its lunar showcase, close to 400 adventurous trail runners and trail walkers -equipped with their headlamps – went out into the Simola forests to meet the Phantom.
The Phantom made its ghostly appearance in form of local opera singers – the Knysna Afroquartex – performing live opera music from different composers, while runners followed a 6 or 12km trail made of blazing torches under the full moon.

This avant-garde blend of Trail Running and Oprah music – the Simola Phantom Night Run presented by Ledlenser took place Saturday on a beautiful warm, full moon lit night as part of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival.

Participants agreed that this race is a bucket-list unique run in which even the most familiar forest trails in Knysna’s backyard are taking on a new look, feel and essence.
Course designer John Collins from Magnetic South carefully chose a combination of the area’s most enticing trails on which even some of the locals were left in the dark and were grateful for the reflective marking that led the way back to the warmth and the cozy luxury of the Simola Hotel.

While many of the participants chose to walk and enjoy this experience with all their senses, some hardened trail runners fought it out in the front. No other than local runner Melikhaya Msizi took the podium for the 12km run in a time of 44 minutes and 04 seconds followed by Matthew Bosman and Henri Knobel. In the ladies field Brenda Ferrar dominated and finished in 1 hour 2 minutes 55 sec ahead of Zoe Henn and Marla Prinsloo.

The 6km Run showed a lot of young talent. Brothers Billy and Wernandt Human took 1st and 2nd in the male category with local youngster John Tanner coming 3rd. The ladies race was dominated by 12 year old Knysna local Andrea Collins with Kim Rennie and Leslee Salzmann completing the podium.

The race also catered for the younger generation with a slightly less spooky pre-dusk ramble around a specially made adventure trail crafted to enthrall young minds and bodies traversing a series of themed adventure passages followed by some fun entertainment in the safety of the hotel while parents had their turn to unwind.

Results can be found on