Visit Knysna, Knysna Tourism, Garden Route, South Africa

Take a working holiday in Knysna and #wfk

Do you want to get away with the family during the school holidays or just need a break, but have deadlines and meetings that can’t wait? Come #WFK (work from Knysna) during the Knysna Oyster Festival, 9 to 18 July.
“There are many online hubs, coffee shops and restaurants and accommodation establishments with excellent Internet connections in Knysna,” said Festival Coordinator Andrew Finn. “So you can easily honour your work commitments in between enjoying the fun of the festival and everything else the greater Knysna area has on offer.”
Great care has been taken to ensure that all COVID-19 prevention protocols are adhered to. “Businesses are still operating, restaurants are open and exciting activities are on offer even on Alert Level 2 of the national lockdown, and they will be should the country move up to Alert Level 3,” said Knysna Executive Mayor Elrick van Aswegen. “While I urge all residents and visitors to wear their masks, continue social distancing and sanitizing, Knysna is open, and there is so much to do.”

At the heart of the Garden Route National Park, the area is full of trails to explore and natural marvels to experience. These out- of-doors adventures are the perfect decompressor after a long video meeting. Hiking trials wind through the forest, coastal fynbos and plantations, climb down gorges and follow valley edges. You’ll cross natural streams, visit rock pools and waterfalls and marvel at the massive indigenous trees that spurred Knysna’s historic timber industry. Well-maintained picnic sites are equipped with braai- and ablution facilities, with seating and fresh water available at various sites.

If you prefer exploring the forest on your bike, take on any of the five circular Harkerville mountain bike routes, or the linear Petrus- se-brand trail that starts at the Diepwalle Forrest office and ends at the Garden of Eden. It offers fantastic forest scenery, exhilarating downhills and ample streams from which to refill your water bottle.
Find your sea legs and take the family on any of the discounted boat-based adventures during the run of the festival. Enjoy sunset cruises, private charters and close encounters with whales and other aquatic species. Or board a real-life pirate ship, experience adrenaline trips on the lagoon or even stay on a houseboat.

Families will also enjoy touring some iconic local factories or visiting the Rastafarian community at Judah Square. Join a guided walking tour of Knysna’s most iconic heritage buildings and sites or find where X marks the spot with the Knysna Treasure Trail – a self-drive discovery of some of the town’s most prized gems.

Cultural afficionados may look forward to art exhibitions in Sedgefield and Knysna, from local arts associations to an Old Masters collection by the Southern Cape Association of Visual Artists (SCAVA). For a more immersive, interactive experience, join the local art world by touring the public interactive art pieces to take a couple of selfies, working studios and galleries, or even taking a lesson.

Visit Knysna General Manager Colleen Durant said that many daily refreshment offerings would be available throughout the 10 days. “Of course you’ll need some great food and drink to keep up your energy, or just for a fun time out. Our website is bursting with specials on offer at local coffee shops, restaurants and bars. You’ll also find incredible, exclusive accommodation offers at, so click on through and book your working vacation in Knysna. We already #WFK – why don’t you too?”

Full listings are available at
Browse Knysna’s accommodation options at
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @KnysnaOysterFestival and keep an eye on for updates.
Visit or their office on Thesen Island for more information on obtaining the relevant forest entry permits.
For information on the greater Knysna area view details on or pop in at the Visit Knysna information office on Knysna’s Main Road.

Contact Festival Coordinator Andrew Finn on email for more information, or call 0443825510.

#WFK #WorkFromKnysna #stayworkplay #knysnaoysterfestival #KOF2021 #visitknysna #knysna

Are You Ready for the 2021 Knysna Oyster Festival?

According to Festival Coordinator Andew Finn, the calendar for the Knysna Oyster Festival taking place in July this year will be made up of an exciting mix of physical and virtual offerings and activities. “The festival is happening,” he said. “And we are getting ready for guests to STAY, WORK, PLAY in the greater Knysna area from 9 to 18 July.”

Finn confirmed that the festival mainstays will be taking place, albeit in different formats. “The Knysna Cycle Tour will be taking place,” he said. “Under COVID-19 prevention protocols, the Knysna Forest Marathon will, however, not be presented as in the past but, has been transformed into the In Knysna Virtual Marathon for this year, which will be taking place. The formats to these popular sporting competitions have been changed to accommodate all relevant health protocols and regulations, while still – and most importantly – offering fun, unique and challenging races to serious athletes and weekend warriors.”

Visit Knysna General Manager Colleen Durant, who has previous experience as the Race Director for IRONMAN South Africa, said that the organisers from both the running and cycling fraternities had gone to great lengths to create innovative hybrid and virtual activities. “While our calendar reflects set dates for both the In Knysna Virtual Marathon and the Knysna Cycle Tour, there are now fantastic physical and virtual components to these competitions,” she said.

She explained that all entries for the Knysna Forest Marathon had been migrated to the In Knysna Virtual Marathon. “Runners are able to choose between different course lengths and run their chosen routes on any of the days between 9 and 18 July. Visit Knysna and the organisers invite and encourage participants to come and run their courses in Knysna – the home of the original forest marathon. There will be many fun and exciting offers and other activities on offer throughout the greater Knysna area throughout that time, and we’d like our runners to join us in the fun. Runners will be recording their own times and submitting them upon completing their routes. This time will be kept as your 2021 race time and used for lucky draws.”

Finn added that the Knysna Cycle Tour has also included categories for E-Bikes. “E-Bike start times will be delayed to avoid these riders being in single tracks with faster mountain bike riders. The organisers have devised three probable scenarios to adhere to COVID-19 prevention protocols,” he said. “The most likely scenario is that the races take place with staggered starts of limited riders. Riders can rest assured that, however the situation may change between now and the advertised dates, they will be riding in July. Exciting news is that both the 50km road and 50km MTB races will also be available as virtual courses on the online platform Rouvy.”

Knysna Executive Mayor Elrick van Aswegen said that the ability to choose your own race day plays perfectly into the “festival’s” theme of STAY, WORK, PLAY. “Set your online meetings around your chosen race days,” he advised. “With fast, easy access to the Internet throughout our municipal area, bring your work and your family to the Knysna area for 10 days. Stay in comfortable, yet affordable accommodation, work when you must and then play in and explore the whole of the greater Knysna area with friends and family.”

While not yet finalised, the programme already includes a Winter Christmas Market in Sedgefield, a sailing regatta, the Houtkapper Trail Run and children’s activities. “But that’s only the beginning,” said Finn. “We are still in the process of compiling the final programme, which we will advertise as soon as it is available. But we are excited to let our visitors and locals know that, aside from these old favourites, you’ll find festival-related pearls scattered throughout Knysna and Sedgefield from 9 to 18 July. There will be live music, wine and gin evenings, specials at your favourite restaurants and much, much more. All you need to do is be sure that you are here to enjoy it.”

The final calendar, with details on entries and ticket sales, will be made available at

Entries to the In Knysna Virtual Marathon and the Knysna Cycle Tour are now open.
Entry details, along with details on race protocols are available at and respectively.
Browse Knysna’s accommodation options at
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @KnysnaOysterFestival and keep an eye on for updates.
#knysnaoysterfestival2021 #KOF2021 #stayworkplay #knysna

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


Reimagined Knysna Oyster Festival now a “Limited Edition”

Re-imagining how to keep the iconic Garden Route festival on the 2021 events calendar, the Knysna Oyster Festival Committee is proud to bring to you the safe and fully level 4 compliant Knysna Oyster Festival “Limited Edition” experience.

“The safety of our visitors and locals involved in the programme is of upmost importance to us,” said Colleen Durant, Visit Knysna General Manager. “In support of the President’s announcement on Sunday, we’ve re-imagined the experiences whilst allowing for the flexibility to add further activations in the future, should the regulations lift in the next few weeks.”

With early school closures communicated, the Knysna Oyster Festival “Limited Edition” is the perfect family getaway, with members of the same household and family unit permitted to partake in a world of experiences together.

From an outdoor Rastafari Community Tour to mashie golf, canoeing and vintage boat cruises – there is something for the whole family to enjoy in the wide-open spaces of Knysna and the greater Knysna area. For sporting enthusiasts, the popular Knysna Forest Run and Cycle Tour can still be enjoyed at runners’ and cyclists’ leisure and tracked virtually. To reward your physical efforts, treat yourself and the family to local gourmet dishes, by ordering take-out from a list of our restaurants that will be open during the limited edition festival.

Knysna’s Executive Mayor, Cllr Elrick van Aswegen commented: “2021 has not been without its challenges, but I’m confident that our community will deliver a truly special, limited edition programme for all this year. Those visiting can rest assured that we have a wide range of compliant, memorable experiences, physical and virtual, for the whole family to enjoy. Our local businesses are committed to adhering to current regulations in order to host you safely. Now more than ever, Knysna welcomes you to stay, work and play in a region that has so much to offer this winter break. Your support benefits our community greatly and will go a long way in helping us keep this much-loved festival going for years to come.”

“The Knysna Oyster Festival programme was always designed with the pandemic in mind and thanks to this approach, the team has been able to seamlessly adapt to offer families an experience-rich and rewarding holiday. To those living in the Western and Eastern Cape – why would you #WFH (work from home) when you can #WFK (work from Knysna)? Re-imagine your July winter getaway, re-connect with your family unit, and re-discover the beauty of the Garden Route this year” concluded Wesgro’s Chief Marketing Officer, Monika Iuel.

For more information on the Level 4-ready “Stay | Work | Play” programme for the whole family to enjoy this July, visit For further accommodation deals and specials, visit Wesgro and Travelstarts Kids Stay Free site at

#WFK #WorkFromKnysna #stayworkplay #knysnaoysterfestival #KOF2021 #visitknysna #knysna

For additional information:
Contact Festival Coordinator Andrew Finn on email for more information or call 0443825510.

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

It’s almost time to #WFK

It’s almost time for this year’s Knysna Oyster Festival!

2021’s “Limited Edition” has been reimagined to be fully level four compliant, while still bringing households world-class activities across the Greater Knysna Area. Why work from home (WFH) when you can work from Knysna (#WFK)? Stay, work and play in the jewel of the Garden Route, with daily experiences to keep the whole family entertained. Taking place from 9-18 July, now’s the time to plan a fun, safe, family friendly winter getaway.

Colleen Durant, Visit Knysna General Manager, says, “We are pioneering a new approach with this year’s “Limited Edition” experience, with compliance of our operators and the safety of our visitors and local community being of upmost importance to us. Although the programme looks different than usual and you will have to ‘curate your own festival’ within the offerings, we can guarantee quality experiences for the whole family to enjoy within the wide open spaces of Knysna and the greater Knysna area.”

“The economic boost that the Knysna Oyster Festival brings to our beloved seaside village and surrounding town’s is significant. We are proud of the programme we’ve been able to compile within the re-imagined framework of the “Limited Edition”, and we encourage travellers to come escape for the full ten days and even more, through making our town your office and enjoying the experiences on offer in your down time. If you’re unable to make it down the Garden Route physically this year, we encourage you to peruse our virtual experiences that can be enjoyed from anywhere in the world!” adds Andrew Finn, Festival Coordinator.

Here are some of the highlights to look forward to at this year:

Cultural tours with local tourist guides, including the Rasta community. Tourist guides have been hard-hit by the lockdowns: the Knysna Oyster Festival “Limited Edition” is providing much-needed work and a chance for households to enjoy private tours of some of the region’s treasures, including a Thesen Harbour heritage walk, Knysna historical buildings, or even exclusive boat building factory tours. If starry nights are more your thing, enjoy a beautiful Moonlight Meander (9th and 10th July) by the light of the full moon on Sedgefield’s famed Swartvlei Beach.

Virtual sports: From the KYC Virtual J70 Regatta for sailing fans and the Garden Route Trail Park Strava Challenge for mountain bikers and trail runners, to the Virtual Urban X Trail Run and Obstacle Course (trail runs with fun obstacle courses set in local properties you can overnight at), the Knysna Forest Virtual Race, and Virtual Knysna Cycle Tour, there’s something for all sporting enthusiasts – and we encourage you to come to Knysna to do your virtual events.

Knysna E-sports Cup: An online competition for all Fortnite enthusiasts, which takes place over six qualifying rounds from 5-10 July, with the finals on 16 July. The series is hosted by the Elite Pro Series, and features the country’s youngest professional Fortnite player, RoMike, and his team.

Aquatic adventures: Select from a myriad of boat tours including catamaran or, mono hull yachts to lagoon cruises, or try catch sight of the majestic sea life in a guided dolphin or whale watching tour. Kayaks and stand-up paddle boards will be available for rent for those wanting to commandeer their own tours.

Food, glorious food: It’s what the Knysna Oyster Festival is known for! Sizzling steaks, sensational seafood, beefy burgers, fiery Mexican, Sunday roasts and of course oysters – indulge in a variety of locally crafted cuisine through selecting from an array of take-away offerings that are available.

“Treat yourself and the family to a well-earned mid-year break. Offering the right amount of adventure to keep the kids entertained, coupled with world-class outdoor experiences to relax and recharge the batteries – come and enjoy this historical “Limited Edition” experience. For those unable to take leave, throw in the laptop and maximise a staycation by curating an itinerary around your work day. #WFK this July and Travel for Good!” concludes Wesgro’s Chief Marketing Officer, Monika Iuel.

For more information on this year’s Stay | Work | Play edition, visit

#WFK #WorkFromKnysna #stayworkplay #knysnaoysterfestival #KOF2021 #visitknysna #knysna

For additional information:
Contact Festival Coordinator Andrew Finn on email for more information, or call 0443825510

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