Dalene Matthee

(1938 – 2005)

Dalene Matthee, author of 13 books, is best known for her four “Forest books” on the Knysna Forest: Circles in a ForestFiela’s ChildThe Mulberry Forest and Dreamforest.

Dalene was born in Riversdale in the Southern Cape, South Africa, in 1938. She began her writing career with children’s stories and short stories before taking on her first novel after a hiking trip through the Outeniqua hiking trail around Knysna.

  • Forest books

    It was the enchantment of the Outeniqua Forest which led her to her first literary success. ...

  • Novels

    She enriched the Afrikaans narrative art by telling stories in a compelling way. ...

Dalene Matthee Books

  • Circles in a Forest
  • The Mulberry Forest
  • Fiela’s Child
  • Dreamforest
  • The Day the Swallows Spoke
  • Pieternella, Daughter of Eva
  • Driftwood
Something is happening in Afrikaans ... A novel with breadth and depth and variety and wisdom, making an impression on our prose.
- André P. Brink

Dalene Matthee Big Tree

The giant Outeniqua Yellowwood Tree at Krisjan-se-Nek was named after Dalene Matthee at the unveiling of the memorial. …

Circles in a Forest Hiking Trail

Follow one of the hiking trails to experience the forest first-hand. Two trails start at Krisjan-se-Nek: one trail of 3 km (about 1,5 hours) and one of 9 km (about 3 hours). …


On 20 February 2005, Dalene Matthee died unexpectedly of heart failure in Mossel Bay. Her last resting place is Krisjan-se-Nek, one of her favourite spots in the Knysna Forest. Her ashes were also scattered here. After Dalene's death, Mr Kitto Erasmus, former regional director of Environmental Affairs, suggested to the Matthee family that they should erect a memorial for Dalene in her beloved Knysna Forest.