Visit Knysna, Knysna Tourism, Garden Route, South Africa

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


Cheeky Knysna Oyster Festival “Limited Edition” campaign yields successful results

The tongue in cheek ‘Why #WFH (work from home) when you can #WFK (work from Knysna)?’ marketing campaign saw the return of seasoned festival goers alongside fresh faced first timers, with the re-imagined ‘Limited Edition’ yielding successful results in the face of the COVID-19 third wave.

With the campaign tagline ‘Stay, Work, Play’ – consumers were enticed to stay the full ten days due to being able to work with fully enabled WiFi and play by curating their own programme by selecting from unique experience available on the ‘Limited Edition’ programme. The predominantly digitally-driven campaign was supported by a paid-for PR component – targeting key domestic markets in Gauteng, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape – with Gauteng removed following the travel restriction imposed in late June.

Kicking off with the ‘awareness phase’, followed by the ‘consideration phase’ – the campaign saw 2.4 million unique users engaging with the content, with the majority of these users being based in Gauteng. Gauteng has always been a key domestic tourism market for the Western Cape, and the high engagement from the province shows the eagerness of Gauteng visitors to come and explore the Garden Route.

“This year we had a real opportunity to tap into a current truth: if you’re working from home, you could be working from anywhere,” explains Visit Knysna General Manager, Colleen Durant. “The Knysna Oyster Festival ‘Limited Edition’ proved to be the perfect antidote to the level 3 restrictions – allowing families to re-imagine their July winter getaway, re-connect with their family unit, and re-discover the beauty of the Garden Route through a select COVID-19 friendly programme,” she adds.

Reflecting on the curveball thrown by the announcement of the move to Alert Level 4, Festival Co-Ordinator, Andrew Finn, comments: “This year’s event organising was not without its challenges, but thanks to the committee already putting together a COVID- friendly event at the heart of the planning, we were able to seamlessly adapt the progamme to provide a ‘Limited Edition’ offering; it even saw us tapping into popular gaming trends through the introduction of the Knysna eSports Cup Challenge, featuring the popular video game Fortnite with teams from South Africa and neighbouring countries taking part.”

As this was the first time the programme was introducing an eSport, only 600 participants could be accommodated. However, the demand for participation was huge, showing a new category of experiences to be included in future programmes.
The semi-final and final rounds of this inaugural event was livestreamed from Knysna. South Africa’s youngest professional Fortnite player RoMike and his team participated live from Knysna, and the finals gained over 1 700 views from across the globe on YouTube.

Main sporting drawcards adjusted their formats, but runners could still run and cyclists pedal at their own leisure, tracking their performance via the Rouvy app.
“With three routes available on the Rouvy app, we received over 3 000 entries, with more than 2 000 active riders taking part in the virtual cycle tour – many of these being internationals, and 180 cyclists participating in the live virtual race held on Saturday 17 July.

Similarly, the Virtual Knysna Forest Marathon invited runners of all capabilities to tackle one of three route options: the traditional forest route of the marathon and half marathon routes from The Farm; or a flat route option leading competitors around a scenic tour of the town,” added Finn.

Offering flexibility, the events could be completed over the 10 days of the festival, with many locals and visitors taking part.

Knysna Executive Mayor, Elrick van Aswegen, thanked the organisers for their efforts saying, “It takes hard work, agility and dedication to pivot an event of this scale at the last minute. It is testament to the organisers’ dedication, community involvement and, more importantly, Knysna’s natural allure that the festival still drew great numbers of holiday makers and day trippers, offering them wonderful family outings, entertainment and activities.”

“The Knysna Oyster Festival has yet again shown its agility and resilience in the face of adversity. We are thrilled with the successful results of the marketing campaign, and the positive uptake from the public to the “Limited Edition” format. With the programme expanding to include new features such as eSports, we hope to see the popularity of the iconic festival grow, and welcome back old and new faces to the quaint seaside village at the Knysna Oyster Festival 2022,” concluded Acting CEO, Yaw Peprah.

Dates for the 2022 Knysna Oyster Festival are yet to be confirmed. Please visit for updates and information.

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

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