Summer is in full swing and over the next couple of months, Knysna & Partners will be highlighting many of the varied activities which can be enjoyed throughout the Greater Knysna region, from wild, adrenaline-fuelling pursuits to milder, more relaxing options.
Wild Adventure – Sandboarding with Dune Adventures
Our Greater Knysna coastline is well known for its long, sweeping beaches and sinuous coastal dune fields, which serve as the ideal playground for sandboarding - an adrenaline-peaking adventure sport which has seen a spike in popularity in recent years. It is somewhat similar to snowboarding in technique, but instead of carving up powder-white snow, one careens swiftly over soft sand dunes instead. Sound like fun? Well, if you are keen to test your mettle on our local dune fields, call local adventure company Dune Adventures. They offer sandboarding tours perfectly geared towards adventure seekers, kids and families looking for a great day outdoors. All their guides are fully trained to instruct you on how to ‘carve up your first tracks’ on these soft dune fields or to hone your existing sandboarding skills. They use only professionally built boards with high quality straps designed for the sole purpose of sandboarding. Instruction takes place on an ideally suited dune in Brenton on Sea which is well known among South African sandboarding enthusiasts as one of the most superior in South Africa for sand quality, dune heights and ease of riding
Cost: R350 per person for 2 ½ – 3hrs.
Bring along: Sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses, tons of energy and a sense of adventure!
Mild Adventure – Bird Watching at Rondevlei Bird Hide
Are you looking to escape the madding crowds? Head out at dawn to the Rondevlei Bird Hide, the perfect place to enjoy quiet reflection and the pleasant observation of our avian wonders. Part of the Wilderness Lakes System, Rondevlei is a very special natural asset, and one of three interconnected lakes linked to the Indian Ocean. All three lakes support such an amazing variety of bird species that it was designated a Ramsar site in 1991; meaning that it has been acknowledged as a wetland of international importance and thus worthy of special protection.
These wetlands cradle immense biodiversity, supporting high concentrations of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrate species. They play an important ecological role, such as providing nursery areas for fish, and feeding and staging areas for significant populations of resident and migratory birds. At the Rondevlei Bird Hide, may be lucky to have sightings of Yellow Wagtails, Greater-crested Grebes, Red-knobbed Coots (which can number here in their thousands), Purple Herons, Blacksmith Plovers, Purple Swamphens.
Other birds seen here include the seasonal roosting of the African Spoonbill, and the Malachite Kingfisher, (this bird is a resident which is very often seen at the hide as it fishes from the dead stump). Other highlights of this small pan includes both the Black-eared and Great Crested Grebes, (the former is relatively rare, the latter nest on this pan and may be seen in fishing flocks of up 50, where they drive shoals of fish into the shallow water for capture.)
The bird hide is located about 5km from Sedgefield and is accessed via Wilderness National Park Research Laboratory at Rondevlei.
The Greater Knysna Area is the perfect playground for a child. There are a wide range of entertaining activities which promise not only rip-roaring fun but which also afford children the opportunity to connect with - and gain an appreciation of - our natural environment.
Knysna & Partners presents just a few popular outdoor pursuits for adventurous youngsters.
Hit the Pump Track
Make your way to the Garden Route Trail Park, which is situated in Barrington at the base of the lofty Outeniqua Mountain range near the Karatara River Gorge. Along with a host of single track trails, the park has a really popular Pumptrack which boasts fluidly designed loops which keep kids entertained for hours on end. The park’s Trail Café, which is fully operational during season, offers choice treats, coffees and coolies.
Mini Magic Buffalo Bay Horse Rides
A firm favourite with youngsters, Mini Magic offers horse trails and rides for young and old and is situated on the beautiful Buffelsbaai Road, halfway between Knysna and Sedgefield, less than 1 km from the N2. The stableyard lies on the banks of the Goukamma River, right next to the Riverdeck Restaurant.
They facilitate horse rides for big and small, on horses ranging from thoroughbred down to miniature. Their horses are selected for temperament and dependability.
Call Adri: 073 251 3122
This delightful spot, situated near the Buffalo Bay turn off, sits right on the banks of the cola coloured Goukamma River is an ideal spot for kids and families looking to while away the day. A large collection of one-man and two-man canoes, hydro-bikes and paddle boats are available for hire (with life jackets included for your safety.) A total of 50 canoes are available.
Surf the dunes
Sandboarding is an activity which has seen a massive rise in popularity over the past few years and it is the perfect beach activity to get the blood flowing this winter. It is similar to snowboarding in technique, but instead of carving your way through the snow, one cruises over soft sand dunes instead. Our coastline comprises endless beaches and coastal dune fields, providing the ideal terrain for this growing sport.
Brenton-On-Sea and Dune Adventures is a local adventure company which offers 3hr sandboarding stints geared towards adventure seekers. All their guides are fully trained to instruct you on how to ‘carve up your first tracks’ in the soft dune sand or how to hone your existing sandboarding skills.
Situated in the Goudveld Forest, this is a favourite picnic spot among locals and very popular for visitors to the area as well. If you are looking to spend a day embraced entirely by nature, this is the perfect setting in which to do it. It is situated on the banks of a gentle stream which cuts through a dense tract of indigenous forest, a site ideal for youngsters to play. Dotted along this stream are lots of picnic spots from which to choose.
There are a couple very enjoyable walks to enjoy in this section of forest, one being a 3.1km circular walk perfect for the family. This is Knysna’s natural world at its best!
Permits obtainable from the Goudveld entrance gate at Bibby's Hoek.
Sanparks, Thesen Island Office - 044 302 5600
Get up and go Stand Up Paddling (SUP)
Stand Up Paddling is a fast growing water-sport that is relatively easy to participate in and which gives you a great core body workout. Ocean Odyssey has several boards for hire by the hour. Boards are launched from their jetty on Thesen Island, from where one can explore the calm waters of this popular island’s waterways and to take in the lovely scenery of the iconic Knysna Lagoon.
A Wild Adventure
Wildwoods Tree Adventures Acrobranch, located at the Timberlake Village on the N2 between Sedgefield and the Wilderness, is an obstacle course constructed above ground, between the leafy limbs of lofty trees. All of the 48 obstacles are designed to test your mettle, strength and flexibility and it provides hours of entertainment for kids. Once you are kitted out with a safety harness you will have a thorough training session that will let you know how to move through the trees on your harness. Then you will set off on a guided tour of swings, balancing acts, nets, bridges, and other equally challenging aerial activities.
After two and half hours of Tarzan fun, you’ll be safely transported back to the ground on a 102m, gravity assisted zip-line, which is sure to get your heart racing. For the less adventurous, or those with time restraints, they offer 2 shorter stages, as well as the Monkey Moves course for the young adventurers.
This is just one of many things to do at the Timberlake and is the perfect place for a family outing. There is a Wildwoods Adventure Land, Go Quad biking, a delightful Fairy Garden that will transport your child into a world of the fantastical.
Tel: 078 251 4458 / www.acrobranch.co.za
Take a walk in the Garden of Eden
Are you looking for a place to enjoy a short forest jaunt with the family. There is an ideal spot just outside Knysna called the Garden of Eden which boasts a pristine example of Afromontane forest. It is the perfect place to introduce young ones to the magic and splendour of this verdant realm, and will surely instil reverence for our natural world.
The route through this cathedral of nature is suitable for everyone. It comprises an 800m circular board walk which is very child friendly and also wheelchair accessible. The board-walk is flanked on either side by magnificently large indigenous tree specimens and lush tree ferns. Gently flowing streams transect this little forest gem. Many of the trees are marked and visitors are therefore able to can gain a better understanding of this ecosystem and the remarkable life it holds. There are several additional trails which lead off the main walkway, so you can meander off a little further into the heart of the forest if you so wish. There are facilities within the forest where one can enjoy a lovely picnic.
Costs: R12/adult, R7/child. There is a small office at the entrance. Outside office hours you are allowed to enter and do the walk.
Garden of Eden Office - 044 532 7793, office hours - 8:00-17:00
For many years the small seaside town of Buffalo Bay, (fondly dubbed Buffs) just 20km from Knysna, has lured those drawn to sand and surf. It is a hub for water sport enthusiasts; surfers, stand- up paddle boarders and kayakers often frequent this relatively sheltered beach. There are several surfing instructors who offer children surfing lessons. It is the perfect place to take your kids so that they can begin to appreciate the wonders of our marine environment. There are often dolphins skimming through the surf.
Call Tourism for a list of operators: 044 382 5510
Hit the beach
Kids are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches in this area. The Greater Knysna Area baosts which stretches of shoreline that will delight and amuse. Go soak up the sun, ride the waves, breathe the salt air and have good old fashioned fun!!!