Visit Knysna, Knysna Tourism, Garden Route, South Africa

What’s in a name?

The Knysna Oyster Festival is a household name in South Africa. But just how did the Festival start, and why is it called the Knysna Oyster Festival?

It all started as the “Winter Festival” in 1983 to bring business to town during the quiet winter period, and since then it has grown to a 10-day Festival that attracts thousands of people to Knysna.

From Winter Festival To Oyster Festival
Oyster farming started in the Knysna lagoon at the beginning of the 80’s and it was not long before it was named “The Knysna Oyster Festival”, about 30 years ago.

The cultivated oysters were popular with locals and visitors alike, but the operation was never really viable financially, socially, or environmentally. Conditions in the lagoon were not exactly suitable for oyster farming and oyster beds often silted up, and when permits were not renewed in 2010, all cultivated oysters were removed from the lagoon.

There may not be any oysters in the Knysna lagoon anymore, but the coastline around Knysna have ample coastal oysters – born and bred in the Knysna area! “Salty, sweet, buttery, briny” – there are many ways to describe an oyster. Tasting one can be a life changing experience – you either order another 12 immediately, or you decide “never again”. In Knysna, and certainly at the Knysna Oyster Festival, we always order “12 more please”! It is a mecca for oyster lovers – these days they come with delectable toppings – oyster ceviche, Asian oysters, Sushi oysters, Panko fried oysters – gourmet oysters for the oyster gourmands!

And cultivated oysters? They are still available, and most are brought in from Port Elizabeth and Agulhas. Thousands of oysters are sold during the Knysna Oyster Festival and cultivated oysters are key to ensure the sustainability of the wild oysters along our coastline.

So, when in Knysna, keep on trying both. And celebrate the KNYSNA OYSTER FESTIVAL in all its glory, whether its sport with oysters on the side, or oysters with sport on the side! Or even – heaven forbid – no oysters! We’re joking! Maybe.. 😊

See you in Knysna in July!

The 2022 Festival
1 – 10 July
Cycle – Trail Running – Running – Golf – Art – Fun Activities

Schedule of events –

Facebook: @KnysnaOysterFestival Instagram: @knysnaoysterfestival Twitter: @oysterfestival

A Holy Grail for Trail Runners

Are you a trail runner? Then Knysna is where you have to be this July! With four trail runs taking place over the 10-day Knysna Oyster Festival in iconic surroundings it is fast becoming a “holy grail for trail runners”.

Taking place from 1-10 July this year, the Festival is known for its bucket list sport events like the 37th Knysna Forest Marathon and Half Marathon and the 2-day Knysna Cycle Tour. These events happen in the forest part of Knysna’s “natural playground” – the indigenous Knysna forests framed by the mountains in the back and the Knysna lagoon and oceans on the other side.

By their nature trail runs take people to “off the grid” areas, and the races happening during the Festival do that in spectacular style!

Saturday 2 July
The Featherbed Trail Run
“Profoundly more than just a run.” That is how race organisers Magnetic South describe the event. The adventure begins with a remote start on the other side of the famous Knysna railway line. Runners will walk across and start on the reserve. From here the route follows the dramatic coastline and traverses the Western Head to end down the “stairs to heaven” at the Featherbed Nature Reserve. There are two options – the 21 km GREAT WHITE or the 11km SEAHORSE.

The reserve is not usually accessible for visitors other than on a guided tour, so this is also a great opportunity to see usually inaccessible areas of the Reserve. Plus – your entry includes a ferry trip on the Knysna lagoon, a buffet lunch and live music!

Click here for more information.

Sunday 3 July
The Garden Route Trail Park Trail Run
A few years ago Barrington was just a farming area known for the Big Tree Nursery, beautiful vistas and herds of cows. That all changed when the Garden Route Trail Park opened. A hotspot on any adventure seeker’s list, the Park boasts a seriously hot pump track and a variety of single route tracks in valleys and mountains around the park.

This run is taking place on one of the Trail Park’s existing routes. It is a 7km fun run that will appeal to everyone, even those with basic fitness levels. The Trail Park will also be the venue for Day 2 of the Knysna Cycle Tour, so if you have a cycling buddy and want to be part of the action, this is a great option!

Click here for more information.

Thursday 7 July
The KnysnaX Trail Series Winter Run
A choice of a 6km, 18km or 25km trail run along the beautiful Knysna railway with spectacular views of the Goukamma River and Knysna Lagoon. The routes include spectacular bridge crossings and breath-taking scenery all along the Knysna railway line.

The new 25km route is for the serious trail blazers and one not to be missed. The 6km fun run is a fun scenic trail for the whole family. Children are welcome to enter, but must be accompanied by an adult.

The KnysnaX Trail series contributes to the Western Heads Goukamma Conservancy and included in the entry fee is a small fee that goes towards the alien clearing and conservancy of the extremely endangered Knysna fynbos.

Click here for more information.

Sunday 10 July
The Houtkapper Trail Run – ‘There’s gold in them thar hills’

The Goudveld Forest Reserve, in the lush Afromontane forests of the Garden Route National Park, is the home of the Houtkapper Trail Run. Only 22km from Knysna, it is nestled in the lower slopes of the Outeniqua Mountains.

In 1887 James Hopper discovered alluvial gold along the Karatara River. Later, in 1887, more discoveries were made in the nearby Millwood Forest. The evidence of gold mining is still visible and let’s agree, it is not often you get a chance to “run through gold”!

The area has a magnificent variety of fynbos, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammal species. The route includes the Sour Flats and the Millwood forests, and runners can choose between a 27km, 15km and 9km start.

Who knows, you may just find your own nugget along the way! 😉

Click here for more information.

See you in Knysna in July!

The 2022 Festival

1 – 10 July

Cycle – Trail Running – Running – Golf – Art – Fun Activities

Programme –

Facebook: @KnysnaOysterFestival Instagram: @knysnaoysterfestival Twitter: @oysterfestival

If You Really Want The World As Your Oyster… Knysna Is Where It’s At!

Grab your calendar and save the date as Knysna welcomes back one of the highlights on the South African festival calendar. The Knysna Oyster Festival will once again offer visitors an exciting array of events to partake in from 1 to 10 July 2022. 

Festival manager, Andrew Finn describes the festival as a feast for sport lovers with the programme boasting of several cycling events, a variety of trail runs, a Lagoon Mile Swim as well as golf, soccer, netball, rugby, boxing, and basketball matches.

Oy’ and when you thought it couldn’t get better than that… he also said for those that prefer “exercise” of a different kind, the Knysna Wine Festival will be back, and of course, the Knysna oyster will once again have the main stage. “Wild oysters are harvested from the coastline around Knysna and will be served in a variety of ways – raw, cooked or steamed – delectable concoctions or plain with a dash of lemon. It is an oyster lovers’ dream”, said Finn. 

A longtime favourite on the programme, the 37th Knysna Marathon and Half Marathon, will take place on the 9th of July. Entries are open and the event is filling up fast. Described as “one of the most beautiful races in South Africa”, it has a unique start in the middle of the indigenous Knysna forest and participants are transported to the start by local taxis.

The natural paradise and picturesque town of Knysna was recently ranked #19 on the list “Leading Places: The 100 Most Loved Destinations Around the World for 2021”. Undeniably the jewel of the Garden Route nestled on the banks of a breathtakingly beautiful lagoon, the town is looking forward to showing off its tranquil natural assets and welcoming sports enthusiasts, families, food, and wine lovers, as well as adrenalin junkies from all over South Africa for a one-of-a-kind winter holiday fun. 

Cllr Sharon Sabbagh, member of the Knysna Municipality’s mayoral committee for finance and economy said that they are excited to welcome Oyster Festival fans, new and old, to Knysna. “I call on our local businesses, restaurants, accommodation establishments, musicians and artists, arts and craft vendors and residents to get behind the organisers and participate, and help where you can. Working together we can ensure a successful festival which will benefit our town and our communities. We need the buy-in and support of everyone to ensure the longevity and success of the Festival.”

Want to be part of the action and host an event or activity? Just complete the event application form on the festival website and forward it to 

For further information visit, email or call Visit Knysna on 063 649 1057.

Stay on top of things by following us on social media – Facebook (@knysnaoysterfestival); Instagram (@knysnaoysterfestival) and Twitter (@oysterfestival).

We’ve got our ‘oys’ on you and hope to see you on the oyster side!  

Issued on behalf of the Knysna Oyster Festival by:


Nicci Rousseau-Schmidt

Cell: 083 299 7777


Knysna’s lineup of events and natural offerings make it the ultimate destination for a fun filled festive holiday season

Knysna’s lineup of events and its spectacular natural offerings has this holiday season all wrapped up with art, sport activities, live music concerts, festive markets, spectacular festive shows and amazing dining experiences.

To keep the whole family entertained this summer, Knysna has a great lineup of events, such as the Summer Splash Festival, which promises 12 days of non-stop fun for the whole family and the opportunity to max out your holiday time. Taking place from 16-28 December in locations across the greater Knysna area, this festival will have visitors spoiled for choice – from sports activities to art, live music, cultural and Christmas holiday themed events.

Better Live has another spectacular line up of events that people can look forward to when they visit Knysna this summer. The organisers promise 13 incredible shows lined up between 9 December 2021 and 4 January 2022, including a few first-time performances in Knysna by the likes of Majozi, Francois Van Coke and the full Bam Bam Brown outfit. Browse all upcoming events here.

Covid-19 protocols apply at all events and this includes restrictions on numbers – booking in advance is strongly recommended. To find out more about these events and to make a booking, click here.

In addition, with its fusion of diverse natural habitats, Knysna is a proverbial gem of a destination renowned for many things, including:

Situated along one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines, Knysna is home to an array of ruggedly beautiful shores and pristine beaches, from the remote and mysterious Noetzie, Bollard Bay with its calm lagoon waters to Brenton-on-Sea and Buffalo Bay who received their Blue Flag Beach status earlier this month, and the stretch of five sandy beaches and sandstone cliffs alongside each other in Sedgefield. For places to see, ways to wander, and signature experiences in Knysna, click here.

Rivers, lagoon/estuaries, lakes:
Waterways offer a myriad of adventurous activities for holidaymakers and the opportunity to swim, fish, boat, sail, snorkel and ski, paddle and SUP, kite and wind surf. Explore lots of unique spots to cool off after a busy summer’s day here.

Bestrewn with forest walks and hiking trails that allow visitors to explore its perimeters – enjoy numerous day trails in the Garden Route National Park, picnic on the grassy banks of a gently flowing, cola-coloured forest stream as well as hikes with waterfalls and swimming spots. Explore attractions in the Knysna forests here.

Knysna is famous for offering lavish delights for all of the senses. The Garden Route gem offers some excellent restaurants that are particularly unique, as many of them overlook either the Knysna Waterfront, Lagoon or famous Heads. You can find fish & chips parcels and designer sushi at restaurants on the same road. An alternative outing option is to braai at one of many public braaing spots found in the area.

Knysna Executive Mayor, Lavael Davis, commented: “We look forward to welcoming the holiday makers back to Knysna this summer – the town is ready and has a great lineup of events and offerings for the whole family to enjoy.”

“After the past 2 years of challenging times, there is no doubt that everyone is keen to relax, sit back and enjoy some sunshine and summer. The greater Knysna area is centrally located within the Garden Route area that offers something for everyone. Locally, there is such a variety of offerings: from a full moon swim to guided Knysna Seahorse experiences and meandering along the shorelines – even at moonlight; some of South Africa’s top musicians will be performing live, or enjoy a tranquil stroll in our peaceful forests. Stay, play and recharge,” said Visit Knysna’s General Manager, Colleen Durant.

“There is no doubt that after exploring what this beautiful destination has on offer this holiday season, many people will be inspired to visit Knysna again in the future. Guests can look forward to memorable world-class events, an extraordinary set of experiences and the best accommodation options,” concluded Wesgro CEO, Wrenelle Stander.

#VisitKnysna #Knysna #DiscoverKnysna #StayWorkPlay #DiscoverWesternCape