Million dollar views and friendly, welcoming locals. An exciting array of land and water based experiences within the unmatched natural beauty of indigenous forests, miles of beaches, rivers and lakes that border the town. Explore quaint shops, fantastic food or be pampered at one of the luxury spa’s . With a rich history, proud cultural heritage and a lively, contemporary atmosphere – Knysna is magnificent, naturally!
Growing up in Knysna, I believed that our beautiful town was normal. As I’ve explored the rest of the world, I’ve come to the realisation that nothing was typical about my childhood, Knysna is the most spectacular place on Earth.
- A boat trip on the Knysna lagoon
- Visiting the Knysna Heads viewpoints for breathtaking panoramas over the lagoon to the mountains, and to the ocean on your left
- A visit to Featherbed Nature Reserve on the Western Heads
- Lounging at one of the many lagoonside restaurants taking in the views
- A hike or cycle in the enigmatic Knysna forest
Things to do
Explore the Knysna Forest
Knysna virtually borders on the Knysna Forest – a magical place of enormous trees, gentle streams, rustling undergrowth and rare birds. Hike one of many well-maintained trails or take a guided tour on an environmentally friendly, body-powered scooter. Enjoy a family picnic under the majestic canopy or surprise that someone special with a romantic date amongst the giant ferns. You’ll be amazed at the variety of plants and birdlife, not to mention the animals. And if you don’t happen to meet one of the famous Knysna forest elephants, you can still visit their cousins.
Take to the water
Knysna is at the centre of the Garden Route National Park Lakes Section. The area is crisscrossed with a network of rivers, lakes and estuaries to explore by boat or canoe. The birdlife is prolific and in steep competition with anglers looking to land a freshwater fish for dinner. The Knysna Lagoon, actually an estuary, is a 21km² marine reserve that borders the mysterious forest and opens into the Indian Ocean. It is the natural home of the Knysna seahorse and where the famous Knysna oysters were first cultivated in the ‘40s. Boat excursions range from water skiing and trips up the Knysna River to luxurious, sunset yacht cruises. You can also sail through the Knysna Heads to meet the migrating whales, playful dolphins and loads of other marine life. And don’t forget about the beaches! World-class surfing, endless walks and family fun days of ice creams and sun cream are all part of the Knysna beach lifestyle. Or discover Knysna’s secret swimming spots – some of which the locals don’t even know about …
Food, glorious food!
Food in Knysna ranges from fine dining to casual, feet in the sand experiences. Culinary delights include enjoying a gourmet burger and chips while listening to live music or sampling succulent seafood in a romantic, lagoon-side setting. The local food culture is daring, cosmopolitan and, most importantly, unpretentiously satisfying. Artisan bakeries, local charcuteries and outdoor food markets cater to hungry holidaymakers alongside 5-star restaurants, family-run eateries and international food chains. Serious foodies and foraging families will all find delicious, real food with attitude. Must try: fresh oysters au naturel and the local craft beers and craft gin.
History, heritage & culture
Knysna was the site of one of South Africa’s first gold rushes when a nugget was found at what is now called Jubilee Creek in 1880. The town’s history is, however, rooted in the timber and boat building industries. Explore this interesting heritage at one of the entertaining museums in town or in the Knysna forest. South Africa is home to people of many different cultures, and Knysna is no exception as it houses the largest Rastafarian community in Southern Africa. The different people of the area, their histories and values culminate in an interesting art scene sure to interest collectors and art enthusiasts.
Book your trip!
Knysna’s people are friendly, the scenery is amazing and there is something to do for everyone. Check out the listings to find your perfect accommodation option and start planning the holiday of your dreams now.
- Decide when to visit and what to pack with this info on seasonal weather in Knysna . Keep in mind the weather in Knysna changes rapidly and you could unexpectedly be caught in rain or cold weather even in summer. Have sufficient water and sunblock with you and a warm jacket.
- Find all the area’s transport options with this guide on getting around.
- Visit a local visitor information centre for more detailed info on the area.
- If you plan to go cycling or hiking in the forest, check the SANParks access gates operating hours and make sure you plan this into your trip.