Family holiday, romantic getaway, quiet hideaway, or adventure and adrenaline: you’ll find your best beach in the greater Knysna area. Here’s a short guide to some of these. Beach hop until you find your favourite. Choose one and enjoy all that it has to offer. The opportunities are endless.
Buffalo Bay is half-way between Knysna and Sedgefield. Safe swimming makes Buffalo Bay one of the favourite family beaches in Knysna. Long hot days spent on a long sandy beach: that’s a real summer holiday. This is where kids make holiday friends and you share family moments that make forever memories. Hungry and sunbaked, there’s also the convenience of ice creams from the small beach side store or a toastie from the restaurant.
It is adjacent to Cape Nature’s Goukamma Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area and the “Wild side” of Buffalo Bay, a stretch of beach on your right when you enter Buffels Bay, is part of the reserve. A scenic, quieter stretch of beach that is great for walks, but swimming in this area is only advised when lifeguards are on duty.
Brenton-on-Sea is on the western side of the Knysna Heads. Rock pools. Views for days. Spectacular sandstone features. Dolphins. Long beautiful beach.
Brenton-on-Sea is a secluded seaside village with spectacular ocean views and a long sandy beach. There are shells to be found and rock pools to explore. The sandstone Castle Rock is a photographer’s favourite, especially at sunset.
The Fisherman’s Walk hiking trail gives you the best vantage point for spotting pods of bottlenose dolphins, but steps, ledges and boulder hopping mean it isn’t for beginners or the faint-hearted. But this doesn’t mean that you’ll miss out: spot the passing dolphins and whales from a bench on the cliff or the deck of the Butterfly Blu restaurant.
Sedgefield is 20 minutes from Knysna. Ocean and lake water sports. Saturday markets. Paragliding. Bird watching. World Heritage Site.
When it comes to beaches, you are spoilt for choice in Sedge. There are 5 beaches stretching for 9km – Myoli beach, Cola beach, the River Mouth, Sedgefield beach and Swartvlei beach – all the way to Gericke’s Point. This is an exciting snorkelling spot and just one of the many exhilarating watersports at this lake-and-ocean playground. Canoeing, water-skiing, and stand-up-paddling are popular. It’s also the perfect spot for paragliders.
The most popular beach for swimming, particularly for families, is the Sedgefield River Mouth when it is open to the sea. Not all areas are safe for swimming – only swim where and when the lifesavers are on duty. Out of season it is best to check with the local information office before you venture into the water.
Twitchers flock to the Swartvlei Lake system, the largest lake in the Western Cape, for a huge diversity of birdlife, including rare sightings of the Yellow-billed Stork. For the enquiring mind, there’s the Moonlight Meander guided nocturnal tour.
Noetzie is off the beaten track. Cliffs. Real castles. Untamed indigenous forest. Lagoon and river. Swimming and fishing.
Isolated Noetzie is wild, natural and spectacular. It’s difficult to reach, but worth every one of the 116 steep steps hewn out of the cliff. Surrounded by indigenous Tsitsikamma forest and overlooked by 6 sandstone castles, Noetzie is breathtaking. Fish, paddle, sunbathe. See soaring fish eagles, vervet monkeys and otter spoor on the beach. Magical.
A note of caution – the sea currents are strong so swimming in the lagoon or river is advised instead
Knysna is known as a boating paradise for old and young, but the lagoon offers a few secluded spots that makes for a great beach experience, especially if you have younger children. Bollard Bay on Leisure Island has a wide stretch of swallow water and hardly any waves, making it the perfect beach for small children. It is also popular with paddlers, stand-up paddle boarders, kite surfers and hobie cat sailors.
At low tide there are many other secluded little beaches tucked around the lagoon, accessible by boat.
Behind the Knysna Heads, on the ocean side, lies the secluded Coney Glen beach. Follow the road to the Heads viewpoint and then follow the road markers to the Coney Glen parking area. Rugged and scenic, it is great for walks, sunbathing, exploring rock pools and fishing. Other than a hidden little bay here and there, it is not a safe swimming spot.