Visit Knysna, Knysna Tourism, Garden Route, South Africa

Reimagined Knysna Oyster Festival now a “Limited Edition”

Re-imagining how to keep the iconic Garden Route festival on the 2021 events calendar, the Knysna Oyster Festival Committee is proud to bring to you the safe and fully level 4 compliant Knysna Oyster Festival “Limited Edition” experience.

“The safety of our visitors and locals involved in the programme is of upmost importance to us,” said Colleen Durant, Visit Knysna General Manager. “In support of the President’s announcement on Sunday, we’ve re-imagined the experiences whilst allowing for the flexibility to add further activations in the future, should the regulations lift in the next few weeks.”

With early school closures communicated, the Knysna Oyster Festival “Limited Edition” is the perfect family getaway, with members of the same household and family unit permitted to partake in a world of experiences together.

From an outdoor Rastafari Community Tour to mashie golf, canoeing and vintage boat cruises – there is something for the whole family to enjoy in the wide-open spaces of Knysna and the greater Knysna area. For sporting enthusiasts, the popular Knysna Forest Run and Cycle Tour can still be enjoyed at runners’ and cyclists’ leisure and tracked virtually. To reward your physical efforts, treat yourself and the family to local gourmet dishes, by ordering take-out from a list of our restaurants that will be open during the limited edition festival.

Knysna’s Executive Mayor, Cllr Elrick van Aswegen commented: “2021 has not been without its challenges, but I’m confident that our community will deliver a truly special, limited edition programme for all this year. Those visiting can rest assured that we have a wide range of compliant, memorable experiences, physical and virtual, for the whole family to enjoy. Our local businesses are committed to adhering to current regulations in order to host you safely. Now more than ever, Knysna welcomes you to stay, work and play in a region that has so much to offer this winter break. Your support benefits our community greatly and will go a long way in helping us keep this much-loved festival going for years to come.”

“The Knysna Oyster Festival programme was always designed with the pandemic in mind and thanks to this approach, the team has been able to seamlessly adapt to offer families an experience-rich and rewarding holiday. To those living in the Western and Eastern Cape – why would you #WFH (work from home) when you can #WFK (work from Knysna)? Re-imagine your July winter getaway, re-connect with your family unit, and re-discover the beauty of the Garden Route this year” concluded Wesgro’s Chief Marketing Officer, Monika Iuel.

For more information on the Level 4-ready “Stay | Work | Play” programme for the whole family to enjoy this July, visit www.knysnaoysterfestival.co.za. For further accommodation deals and specials, visit Wesgro and Travelstarts Kids Stay Free site at www.wesgro.travelstart.co.za.

#WFK #WorkFromKnysna #stayworkplay #knysnaoysterfestival #KOF2021 #visitknysna #knysna

For additional information:
Contact Festival Coordinator Andrew Finn on email info@knysnaoysterfestival.co.za for more information or call 0443825510.

Take a working holiday in Knysna and #wfk

Do you want to get away with the family during the school holidays or just need a break, but have deadlines and meetings that can’t wait? Come #WFK (work from Knysna) during the Knysna Oyster Festival, 9 to 18 July.
“There are many online hubs, coffee shops and restaurants and accommodation establishments with excellent Internet connections in Knysna,” said Festival Coordinator Andrew Finn. “So you can easily honour your work commitments in between enjoying the fun of the festival and everything else the greater Knysna area has on offer.”
Great care has been taken to ensure that all COVID-19 prevention protocols are adhered to. “Businesses are still operating, restaurants are open and exciting activities are on offer even on Alert Level 2 of the national lockdown, and they will be should the country move up to Alert Level 3,” said Knysna Executive Mayor Elrick van Aswegen. “While I urge all residents and visitors to wear their masks, continue social distancing and sanitizing, Knysna is open, and there is so much to do.”

At the heart of the Garden Route National Park, the area is full of trails to explore and natural marvels to experience. These out- of-doors adventures are the perfect decompressor after a long video meeting. Hiking trials wind through the forest, coastal fynbos and plantations, climb down gorges and follow valley edges. You’ll cross natural streams, visit rock pools and waterfalls and marvel at the massive indigenous trees that spurred Knysna’s historic timber industry. Well-maintained picnic sites are equipped with braai- and ablution facilities, with seating and fresh water available at various sites.

If you prefer exploring the forest on your bike, take on any of the five circular Harkerville mountain bike routes, or the linear Petrus- se-brand trail that starts at the Diepwalle Forrest office and ends at the Garden of Eden. It offers fantastic forest scenery, exhilarating downhills and ample streams from which to refill your water bottle.
Find your sea legs and take the family on any of the discounted boat-based adventures during the run of the festival. Enjoy sunset cruises, private charters and close encounters with whales and other aquatic species. Or board a real-life pirate ship, experience adrenaline trips on the lagoon or even stay on a houseboat.

Families will also enjoy touring some iconic local factories or visiting the Rastafarian community at Judah Square. Join a guided walking tour of Knysna’s most iconic heritage buildings and sites or find where X marks the spot with the Knysna Treasure Trail – a self-drive discovery of some of the town’s most prized gems.

Cultural afficionados may look forward to art exhibitions in Sedgefield and Knysna, from local arts associations to an Old Masters collection by the Southern Cape Association of Visual Artists (SCAVA). For a more immersive, interactive experience, join the local art world by touring the public interactive art pieces to take a couple of selfies, working studios and galleries, or even taking a lesson.

Visit Knysna General Manager Colleen Durant said that many daily refreshment offerings would be available throughout the 10 days. “Of course you’ll need some great food and drink to keep up your energy, or just for a fun time out. Our website is bursting with specials on offer at local coffee shops, restaurants and bars. You’ll also find incredible, exclusive accommodation offers at knysnaoysterfestival.com, so click on through and book your working vacation in Knysna. We already #WFK – why don’t you too?”

Full listings are available at www.knysnaoysterfestival.co.za.
Browse Knysna’s accommodation options at www.knysnaoysterfestival.co.za/stay/.
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @KnysnaOysterFestival and keep an eye on www.knysnaoysterfestival.co.za for updates.
Visit www.sanparks.org or their office on Thesen Island for more information on obtaining the relevant forest entry permits.
For information on the greater Knysna area view details on visitknysna.co.za or pop in at the Visit Knysna information office on Knysna’s Main Road.

Contact Festival Coordinator Andrew Finn on email info@knysnaoysterfestival.co.za for more information, or call 0443825510.

#WFK #WorkFromKnysna #stayworkplay #knysnaoysterfestival #KOF2021 #visitknysna #knysna

Southern hemisphere humpback migration route

Knysna Celebrates the Arrival of the Whales
According to the late legendary whale and dolphin researcher, Professor Peter Best, the “Northern migration of Humpback whales seems to reach the African coastline in the vicinity of Knysna”. It is obvious that this is the perfect place to start celebrating the arrival of these magnificent creatures.

TFestival locations & dateshe first event kicks off in Knysna on Saturday, the 5th June 2021 and the ensuing 24 events carry on all the way to Swakopmund on the West coast and Kenya on the East coast. The longest migration of any mammal echoes the longest whale heritage route celebrated on the planet. The route is a joint venture between the World Cetacean Alliance and Raggy Charters and other whale enthusiasts and groups along the African coastline.

These whales were brought back from the brink of extinction in the 1960s, when modern day whaling almost wiped out the entire population, along with all the other great whales. A paradigm shift stopped the slaughter and the humpback whales have led the recovery. They are the first of the great whales to reach their pre-exploitation numbers. We need to defend these gains and extend them to the other 80 plus species of cetaceans.

Their message to our planet is short and sweet, leave us alone and nature will take its course. They are an inspiration to help us sort out so many of our other pressing problems, like climate change and the polluting and raping of our oceans. Let us join these creatures and do our bit to make our oceans become a better place for everyone.
As these animals move up the coastline, we celebrate their arrival in the towns and cities along the way. Some of the venues will have full blown festivals, while others will simply host a presentation. Every year more venues are added to the route and the activities are expanded. The events are open to the public and the youth are especially encouraged to come along and learn about these animals. Education is the key to their survival.

The humpbacks face many dangers along their migration routes. The biggest natural threat to them is from marauding killer whales. Newly born calves and sub adults are the most at risk . . . but this has been going on alongside their evolution and relatively few animals succumb. Ship strikes, marine pollution, noise pollution and lack of food caused by climate change are the man-made problems. The chief problem encountered by these whales the world over, is entanglement in fishing gear and especially ropes. It causes these animals to die a slow and agonising death. It is for this reason that we have drawn up a petition to the Minister, to ensure that the fishing industry puts more mitigation measures in place, to prevent these entanglements from occurring. Marine scientists have developed technology that just needs to be implemented. If we all work together, we can make this happen. Please distribute this petition as widely as possible.

Knysna’s awareness and family outing which is open to the public takes place from 10h00 – 12h00 on Saturday, 5 June at Brenton-on-Sea. Children’s activities will be on the beach with the SANParks and their Honorary Rangers, whilst educational table displays, and posters will be on the grassed area in front of Brenton Haven.

Presentations will begin at 10h45 to 11h45, with SANParks marine biologist, Kyle Smith speaking about the biodiversity and importance of the Knysna Estuary; this will be followed by Lloyd Edwards of Raggy Charters, initiator of this ‘festival’, presenting on the southern hemisphere’s humpback whale migration route. Here, one lucky attendee can win a whale watching experience with local accredited operator, Ocean Odyssey.

The local awareness programme will end with an evening function hosted by Brenton Haven, where a limited number of interested and like-minded locals and visitors will mingle over a glass of wine and canapés to discuss the benefits of environmental awareness and tourism to and for the greater Knysna area.

For more information on humpback whales and the migration route please see the Raggy Charters website at https://www.raggycharters.co.za/page/southern-hemisphere-humpback-whale-migration-route-shhwmr

Buffalo Bay about to catch the biggest wave to date

There is no better way to describe the magic that will soon brighten up Buffalo Bay than with the lingo of the surfers who come to ride the waves here. The #knysnaartproject “rips,” and the (surf)board-walk planned for the beachfront will be nothing short of “kiff”. “Totally stoked” is how those involved in the project describe the plans that are busy unfolding here.

Just a short drive from Knysna, Buffalo Bay is part of the Goukamma Marine Reserve and has long been a favourite weekend hangout for locals and sun-seeking holidaymakers in season. With its pristine pilot Blue Flag beach and spectacular, sprawling coastline scenery, Buffs, as it is affectionately known, is also reputed to have some of the best waves along the Garden Route and surfers can be seen speckling the sea all year round.

Now the #KnysnaArtProject will give pleasure-seekers yet another great reason to turn off the N2 and spend some time here. An ambitious and exciting collaboration between Visit Knysna (the greater Knysna area’s Destination Marketing Organisation), the Knysna Municipality and the Knysna Art Society, #knysnaartproject has been in the planning stages for over a year. The end results will be well worth the wait though and will no doubt stake Buffalo Bay as an iconic surfing destination.

“For Buffs, the concept for the #knysnaartproject was inspired by the surfers who come here – a series of six artworks on surfboards, staged as a permanent exhibition of sorts near the main swimming beach, the sprawling bay providing a picture-perfect backdrop for that been-there-done-that selfie,” explains Colleen Durant of Visit Knysna.

“First we needed the surfboards,” says Helena Gerber, Knysna Art Society chair, “so we put a call out on social media for second-hand ones. We ended up with twelve boards being donated – twice what we’d been looking for”. Each surfboard was refurbished and primed before being handed over to an artist.

“But at the same time, word was getting out about the project and more and more artists started approaching us with requests to participate. We found ourselves in a position where we didn’t have enough surfboards to go around but we also didn’t want to say “no” to anyone. So we’ve made a plan and negotiated a bulk purchase from a supplier.” This means that the Buffs Boardwalk will now showcase the contributions of more than thirty local artists. And others can be added in future.

At the forefront of the Buffalo Bay component of the #knysnaartproject is the passionate force of Waldermar van Wyk, “Wildy” to his friends. Wildy has been a Knysna local since 1995. “I came to do a music gig with PJ Powers and just never left,” is how he explains it.

Since then, Wildy has shared his love of music with hundreds of students from far afield through his music academy, The Garden Route Music Collective. His mother Barbara van Wyk is a household name in the world of teaching music while both his sisters are music professors. Wildy himself has been offered overseas scholarships in the fields of music and arts and is the founder of The Knysna Jazz Quartet.

Wildy is the resident champion for the Buffalo Bay “Boardwalk” and creative director for the project. “Wildy is not only a brilliant musician but he is also an award-winning surfer and a highly accomplished artist. He lives, works and surfs in Buffs – we couldn’t have found a better face and voice for the project,“ explains Helena.

Wildy is the consummate surf-rat, never missing the gap to head for that perfect wave. Feathers in his cap are provincial colours for surfing and Springbok judging colours. “Surfing is at the core of everything I do,” he says. According to Wildy, Buff’s Bay has waves that can compete with any in the world because of the nature of the surf. “Here we get good consistent waves, a short window for excellent waves, but conditions which are perfect for beginners and experienced surfers, for all levels of proficiency,” says Wildy who has been teaching people to surf since he was a child.

Along with his own board-work for the Boardwalk, Wildy is working on a large sign for the beachfront. A glimpse at his sketches reveals that it is less a sign and more of an artwork in its own right – a beautifully illustrated map of the surf along with some pointers on surf etiquette and guidelines on safety.

However, his most notable contribution to the project will be a mural on the railway bridge that you pass through just as you turn off the N2 towards Buffalo Bay. Wildy is about to start painting a giant wave over the arch.

Waves have been a primary source of inspiration in his paintings. He describes his work as drawing and painting at the same time since he has a novel way of dripping paint which he says is a way of combining both talents. During the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 Wildy created thirty paintings in anticipation of an exhibition later this year. In the meantime, he has a few on display at his new living and working premises alongside the RiverDeck farm stall (opposite the popular RiverDeck restaurant), where he is bringing all his passions together in one place.

Wildy has set up a surf shop here offering top-of-the-range gear – the first of its kind in Knysna. Premium quality but reasonably priced, the quirky #kiffsurfboards is already attracting surfers from up and down the Garden Route. With its painted surfboard signs and bright wave mural, the shop perfectly complements the spirit and style of the #knysnaartproject. “I want local surfers to be excited, to buy-in and take ownership of our beautiful beach and waves, our Buffalo Bay area,” says Wildy.

In the not-too-distant future, this will also be where Wildy paints, teaches music and performs. A laid-back jazz bar is on the cards and he’s moving his surfboard repair workshop and custom-board manufacturing business here. Wildy has made more than sixty custom-made surfboards to date and has recently started offering customised artworks on them too.

Chairman of the Buffalo Bay Ratepayers’ Association, Jacques Malan, summed up the response to the project in the area. “We love it, we absolutely love it,” he said praising organisers of the #knysnaartproject, Visit Knysna and the Knysna Art Society.

Ends

#knysnaartproject

The Buffalo Bay beachfront is one of six iconic sites in Greater Knysna identified for public art placements in phase one of the project. A 2.2m statue of a Rastafari priest is about to take centre stage at Judah Square in Concordia. A giant nautilus sculpted from stainless steel and indigenous wood will grace the SANParks waterfront on Thesen Island, contemporary steel and mosaic impressions of indigenous Knysna fynbos and Brenton Blue butterfly will be mounted at viewpoints in Belvidere and Brenton on Sea respectively, and in Sedgefield a full-size, fully-mosaiced classic VW beetle will be parked alongside the estuary as the latest addition to the town’s celebrated Mosaic Route. Knysna’s central business district will be cheered with the 70+ Knysna in Bloom flowerpots being turned into creative canvases for contributing artists.