Knysna is an area of spectacular natural beauty. It offers the glistening estuary, ancient indigenous forest, and a breathtaking coastline. Keeping these areas pristine and beautiful is important. Our tourism operators are making sure their offering is sustainable and activities need to consider the environment as well as the local community.
As a responsible tourist whilst you are here, you are a vital and valued part of this community. Your actions help make sure that nature is protected and stay in pristine conditions for the future.
So what are the things that you can do that make a difference?
Knysna is blessed with a temperate oceanic climate, which means it has rainfall throughout the year. It is however a water-stressed area. Use water carefully. Easy ways to do this are to take a short shower instead of a bath; don’t ask for new bath towels every day; and don’t run a tap for longer than necessary.
Keep to the beaten track
The Knysna Forest is a wonder to behold. If you take a moment to look you will see an abundance of ferns, lichen, herbs, fungi and unique fynbos. Trees tower above and form a dense forest canopy with a variety of vines hanging down. Take care to keep to the paths whenever you are hiking or riding a bike on the trails. When you leave the path, you can damage this delicate vegetation.
Take only photographs
You will see many wondrous things in the forest and on the beaches in Knysna. Make sure you have a camera to capture images of all of these things. Don’t pick flowers or take plants. Watch, but don’t touch any animals, small or (especially) big. Leave shells and rocks where you find them. Removing things can cause damage. Taking things away also leaves the area poorer than you found it.
Don’t leave anything behind
There is nothing as unsightly and disappointing as a picnic place in exquisite surroundings, but strewn with litter. This rubbish finds its way into the waterways and is a threat to our wildlife. Make sure to remove any packaging from your own picnic when you are finished. If there are no bins provided, please take it away with you until you can dispose of it responsibly.
I found a turtle on the beach! What must I do?
Occasionally sea turtles wash up on the beaches in Knysna. They are often exhausted and suffering from hyperthermia. Don’t put them back in the water. Contact the Two Oceans Aquarium on +27 (0)21 418 3823 and they will tell you what to do. The turtles are sent to Cape Town to recover, and then to uShaka Durban where they can be released back into the warm water where they belong.
And other stranded marine animals?
The wildlife rescue organisation SAPREC can help. Call them on +27 (0)71 643 2496 for assistance if you find a stranded animal. If you see a whale in distress, call the NSRI on +27 (0)87 094 9774 – they will either help or contact the relevant authorities.