Knysna locals speak of Outeniqua Rust. This translates into the luxury of the slow pace you begin to enjoy once you have been here for a while. There is no need to rush. Slow down. Don’t try to do everything. Let the scenery and friendly locals work their magic. Take a real break, at a holiday pace.
Here’s a relaxing 6-day itinerary that’ll give you a real taste of Knysna.
Day 1: Start at the heart
Start off in town itself with a breakfast at any of the many restaurants to choose from, offering delicious pastries and mouth-watering meals. Take a tour of Thesen Harbour Town and meet the Knysna seahorse. Sit for a while on a bench at the jetty, and enjoy the view of the estuary and the Heads. There is also a safe play area where small children can burn off some energy.
Thesen Harbour Town has a variety of interesting and quirky shops, and from here it is a short walk to the Knysna Waterfront and the Gray street precinct where you can continue your browsing. This will also take you past the Knysna Yacht Club and the picturesque small craft harbor at the Waterfront.
A wide variety of boat trips leave from Thesen Island and the Waterfront which is a great way to explore Knysna’s water side. Or if you prefer to stay land based, take a tour around town, a hike to explore Knysna’s enigmatic forest or even hire a bicycle to cycle (with or without a guide).
Pledge Nature Reserve is one of the highlights of the town. This reserve is 10ha and is situated in the middle of town. It is a wonder of meandering trails and streams where you can enjoy the indigenous vegetation and prolific bird life.
Day 2: Be at the beach
Knysna has some excellent options for a cup of coffee-to-go. Pick up your favourite brew and drive out to Brenton on Sea on the Western Head. Or opt for a great breakfast option in Belvidere and Brenton-on-Sea. On the way you will find Margaret’s Viewpoint where you can enjoy your coffee, and drink in the breathtaking view.
From there head off to Brenton-on-Sea. There is a steep path from the car park to the beach but it is well worth the effort. If you and the family are feeling energetic you can walk all the way to Buffalo Bay, a 5km walk.
You can wet your feet or take a dip in the ocean. Follow it up with a delicious meal in Brenton-on-Sea, overlooking the Indian ocean.
You can also access Buffalo Bay by road off the N2. On the way you will find the Riverdeck where you can hire a canoe, hydro boat or paddle boat. There are also fishing options. Buffalo Bay itself is a pretty hamlet with a holiday feel. This is the preferred beach for swimming, and there are also rock pools to explore.
Day 3: Walk with wildlife
Day 3 is packed full of interesting activities and takes you up the coast towards Plettenberg Bay. The Knysna Elephant Park is your first stop. Here you can meet the herd and learn more about these majestic animals.
Next stop is Radical Raptors. This is a rehabilitation centre for birds of prey, with daily flying displays. It is situated at the Heath complex where you can enjoy a bite to eat.
The afternoon is spent out at the Crags, 16kms north of Plett. This is where you will find Monkey Land, Birds of Eden and Jukani. You can choose to visit one, two or all three of these sanctuaries. The guides are interesting and entertaining, and this will be a day to remember.
Day 4: Explore the forest
The Knysna forest is another wonder to explore. This can be done with a drive to Diepwalle Forestry station. Here you will find the Forest Legends Museum. There are a number of walks you can take, of varying difficulty.
If hiking feels too taxing, drive the Kom-se-Pad road which takes you through the indigenous forest.
On the George side of Knysna you can visit the Goudveld Forest.
Jubilee Creek is an idyllic picnic spot for young and old alike. There is a picturesque short, flat walk to the waterfall. Circles in the Forest is another walk that comes highly recommended. There is an option of a 3km and a 9km walk, depending on how energetic you feel. It takes you through a magical land of ferns, dappled forest floor, gurgling streams, and towering forest canopy.
To end the day, head back to town and take a sunset cruise on the estuary.
Day 5: Visit a village
Sedgefield and its surrounds is well worth a visit. If you can, pick a Saturday and visit the bustling Wild Oats Farmers Market and neighbouring Mosaic Craft market. Get there early before the crowds and get first choice of the best produce.
One of the features of Sedgefield are the beautiful mosaics around town. The easy beach walk to Gericke’s Point is highly recommended, but do check the tide table as this is only accessible at low tide.
Day 6: The famous Knysna Heads
After breakfast make your way up to the Knysna Heads viewpoint, one of the most visited attractions in Knysna. On a good day it offers sweeping views over the lagoon to the Outeniqua mountains at the back. From there visit the Coney Glen beach where you can explore the rock pools.
The final event of your trip is one to remember: a visit to Featherbed Nature Reserve on the Western Head. This means a ferry trip across the lagoon to the Reserve, followed by a drive to the top of the Head. From here the scenery is awe inspiring. There is a picture perfect walk back down to the Restaurant.
To end off the day head to Bollard Bay on Leisure Island, overlooking the Heads. This is a lovely spot for a swim for both young and old. The water is shallow and it gently laps the shoreline. Last but certainly not least, book a restaurant with an exquisite view – a fitting end to a wonderful holiday.