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About Knysna

About Knysna

Welcome to Knysna, the beating heart of the Garden Route. Wherever you have come from in the world, Knysna is sure to steal a piece of your heart. Knysna is not only a small and unique town, but it also offers up-to-date and convenient services. From getting around town to excellent medical assistance, you will feel as though you have come to your second home.

Visitor Essentials

Even though Knysna is the most temperate place in Southern Africa one must always be prepared for a change in weather. It is not uncommon to have four seasons in a day. For your trip to the beach, make sure you have a hat and sun cream, but also a wind breaker and keep an umbrella in the boot of your car just in case of a sudden downpour.

Visitor Essentials

Total 1,109 km2 (428 sq mi)
Population (2011)
Total 68,659
Density 62/km2 (160/sq mi)



The town is primarily built on the northern shore of a large warm-water estuary, known as the Knysna Lagoon, which is fed by the Knysna River. The estuary opens to the ocean after passing between two large headlands. These are popularly known as "The Heads", and have become infamous due to the loss of boats and fishermen passing through their treacherous and unpredictable waters. The Paquita, a German vessel, sank on the eastern side of the Knysna Heads way back in 1903. Near them are geological formations, known locally as "The Map Stones." To the north of Knysna, Afro-Montane or temperate rainforest covers the hilly terrain for 20 km until changing to fynbos or macchia high in the Outeniqua Mountains.



Knysna has an oceanic climate (Cfb in the Köppen climate classification). Summers are hot and winters mild to chilly. During the summer, the average maximum temperature reaches about 25 °C (77 °F) and rarely goes above 30 °C (86 °F). The average maximum temperature during the winter months ranges in the area of 16 °C (61 °F) to 17 °C (63 °F). Knysna has one of the richest rainfall percentages in South Africa with the wettest time of year being between June and August. Knysna stays green in all seasons, and its temperate climate makes it a tourist destination all year round.[10]


Climate data for Knysna

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 26
Average low °C (°F) 15
Average precipitation mm (inches) 62.4
Average rainy days 14 12 14 12 9 10 10 12 12 14 13 13 145
Mean daily sunshine hours 10 10 9 8 7 7 8 8 9 9 9 9 8.6
Source #1: World Weather Online 
Source #2: Holiday Weather.com 

Economic Development

Defining the economy: The economy is about how wealth is created, distributed and consumed. It concerns the ways in which a country produces, distributes and consumes the tangible, material commodities of life. It is also about how the proceeds or income from these activities are distributed amongst those who contribute towards them: businesses, workers, the state and the whole of society. Every person affects the economy in some way and we are all affected by it.

Economics attempts to answer questions such as:

  •  What is produced and how?
     Why does a particular country produce particular goods and services?
     How are the natural resources used?
     How does a country earn and spend its money?
     How are its people employed, and what technology do they use in their work?
     What is the relationship between these things and the wealth and poverty of different communities?
  • From the preceding, ED as a development approach is based on the central idea of local stakeholder mobilisation, building the competitive advantages of the locality and enabling local role-players to capture and exploit market opportunities.
  • Throughout the world, local governments are being confronted by an increasingly competitive global economy that is rapidly embracing market-oriented economic systems. At the same time, local governments are experiencing democratic reforms and greater decentralization passed down from higher levels of government. This means that local governments and communities now have greater opportunity, and growing responsibility, to take control of their future.
  • Economic Development (ED) is an approach to sustainable economic development that encourages residents of local communities to work together to stimulate local economic activity that will result in, inter alia, an improvement in the quality of life for all in the local community.
  • The purpose of ED is to build up the economic capacity of a local area i.e. Knysna Municipal area to improve its economic future and the quality of life for all. It is a process by which public, business and nongovernmental sector partners work collectively to create better conditions for economic growth and employment generation.
  • Economic Development in Knysna: The next decade represents a critical period of change for the Knysna economy. Increasingly, we will be affected by major long-term global trends including: intensified competition from emerging economies like China and India; rising energy costs; ICT-driven disruptive innovations; and demographic changes, especially ageing and the pace of population growth.
  • The community, industry and governments, together, face a range of opportunities and challenges – only by working more closely together can we most effectively address them. Knysna Municipality is dedicated to ensure that a conducive environment is created to promote economic growth and development of all residents and businesses. This key objective will be lead by the Economic Development Department who focuses on promoting economic growth, job creation, reducing poverty and monitoring inequalities. The department does this through a number of projects and programmes, such as Investment Promotion, Entrepreneurship Development Programmes, Sector Development Strategies, informal trading and business support facilities framework and specific ED interventions such as the timber cluster initiative and the Comprehensive Rural development Programme in Karatara and Rheenendal amongst others.
  • Currently the Knysna Local Economic Strategy is being revised as part of the Integrated Strategic Development Framework (ISDF) conceptualisation. This strategic working document will provide a roadmap to enable economic development taking into consideration the natural environment and its challenges and resources as well as the spat ial implications thereof. The focus will be on ensuring that Knysna has a economic future and that investments are made in human capital, physical infrastructure and leading and emerging enterprises.
  • ED offers Knysna Municipality, the businesses in Knysna and the local communities the opportunity to work together to improve the local economy. It focuses on enhancing competitiveness, increasing sustainable growth and ensuring that growth is inclusive.
  • ED encompasses a range of disciplines including physical planning, economics and marketing. It also incorporates many local government and private sector functions including environmental planning, business development, infrastructure provision, real estate development and finance. The vision for ED in Knysna is that of robust and inclusive local economy that will take advantage of local opportunities, address local needs and contribute to national development objectives such as economic growth and poverty eradication.

Contact Manager Economic Development:
Ms Ilse van Schalkwyk
Telephone: +27 (0)44 302 1646
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Investing in Knysna

Knysna is the ideal location to establish and expand a business. The Knysna economy is the third largest economy in the Eden District with a total Gross Geographical Product of R 2,3 billion in 2011 according to StatsSA (2013). The leading sectors are Finance and Business Services and Wholesale, Retail, Trade and Accommodation.

The key reasons which for investment in the Knysna economy and its people include the following:

  • Good infrastructure and basic services
  • Accessible via road (N2), rail and air (George Airport)
  • World renowned tourist destination
  • Foreign investment opportunities
  • Sufficient housing opportunities
  • Low crime rates
  • Excellent business support services
  • Ample industrial land and commercial space
  • Excellent educational facilities
  • Labour opportunities
  • Sound regulatory environment

Contact Manager Economic Development:

Ms Ilse van Schalkwyk
Telephone: +27 (0)44 302 1646
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Green Business Zone

Knysna Green Business Zone

The Green Economy refers to two inter-linked developmental impacts for the Knysna economy:

  • Increased economic growth (which leads to investment, jobs and competitiveness) in the green industry sector
  • A shift in the Knysna economy as a whole towards cleaner indus­tries and sectors

Key focus areas have been identified to increase the competitive advantage of Knysna as a local economy which is known for its beautiful natural environment and is linking economic opportunity to this through the following initiatives which is aligned to National Government:

Green buildings and the Green business zones: programme includes greening private and public buildings and transforming the industrial area as a green business zone which is geared for green industries.

  1. Sustainable transport and infrastructure: programme includes promoting non-motorised transport
  2. Clean energy and energy efficiency: programme includes -

- Expanding off-grid options in rural and urban
- Solar Water Heater programme
- Solar geysers for all RDP houses

  1. Resource conservation and management: programme includes -
  • Infrastructure resilience and ecosystems
  • Offset programme
  • Biodiversity management
  1. Sustainable waste management practices: programme includes -
  • Naturally Knsyna initiative
  • Waste beneficiation
  • Zero waste community programme (Recycling swop shops)
  1. Agriculture, food production and forestry: programme includes intergrated sustainable hydroponics projects and agricultural beneficiation plants for the industrial area.
  2. Water management: programme includes -
  • Water harvesting
  • Alternative technology for effluent management
  • Comprehensive municipal water metering (Demand side management)
  • Reduce water losses in agriculture, municipalities and mining
  1. Sustainable consumption and production: programme includes -
  • Industry specific production methods
  • Industrial production technology changes
  1. Environmental sustainability: programme includes -
  • Greening large areas
  • Dune rehabilitation
  • Research, awareness and skills development and knowledge management.

A number of initiatives within civil society, private and private sectors are already in implementation i.e. Biowise. The investment potential in Knysna is significant to position the Greater Knysna as a investment destination for clean industries and research to transition the local economy towards a sustainable diversified economic base.

Contact Manager Economic Development:

Ms Ilse van Schalkwyk
Telephone: +27 (0)44 302 1646
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Knysna Basin Project

The beautiful Knysna Estuary is the most important estuary in South Africa in terms of conservation. Home to 42% of all South Africa’s estuarine species, visitors and nature lovers will take pleasure in this diversity hotspot. The estuary is also home to South Africa’s only endemic seahorse species - and the symbol of the Knysna Basin Project - the Knysna seahorse. As such, the estuary is a protected area and part of the Garden Route National Park.

The Knysna Basin Project is a scientifically focused Not for Profit organization based in Knysna. The overarching aim of the Knysna Basin Project is to ensure the future conservation of the Knysna Estuary and the surrounding catchments. We believe that this aim can only be achieved through ongoing scientific research and the education of those that depend on the estuary and surrounding environment. As an organization, we work closely with management authorities and local groups to ensure the implementation of tangible management and conservation actions.

We welcome visitors to the Knysna estuary and encourage users to play a part in its conservation. Please adhere to all fishing and bait collection regulations within the estuary. A copy of our Fishing and Boating Regulations Flyer is available upon purchase of a fishing permit at the Knysna Post Office. Additional visitor and user information is available at the SANParks Offices at Thesen Island Harbour.

Knysna Basin Project has published a revised and expanded second edition of its field guide – A Field Guide to the Shores of the Knysna Estuary – the common creatures, seaweeds and saltmarsh plants. The Guide aims to help the community learn about and appreciate the Estuary and to raise funds for the Project. The field guide is available for purchase at the Leisure Isle library, and Nadine’s Corner on Leisure Isle.

For more information on the Knysna Basin Project and the research currently being conducted within the estuary, please visit our website at www.knysnabasinproject.co.za and our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/knysnabasinproject.