Visit Knysna, Knysna Tourism, Garden Route, South Africa

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 www.knysnaoysterfestival.co.za 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 – www.knysnaoysterfestival.co.za

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

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 knysnaoysterfestival.com, so click on through and book your working vacation in Knysna. We already #WFK – why don’t you too?”

Full listings are available at www.knysnaoysterfestival.co.za.
Browse Knysna’s accommodation options at www.knysnaoysterfestival.co.za/stay/.
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @KnysnaOysterFestival and keep an eye on www.knysnaoysterfestival.co.za for updates.
Visit www.sanparks.org 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 visitknysna.co.za or pop in at the Visit Knysna information office on Knysna’s Main Road.

Contact Festival Coordinator Andrew Finn on email info@knysnaoysterfestival.co.za for more information, or call 0443825510.

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

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 www.knysnaoysterfestival.co.za.

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

For additional information:
Contact Festival Coordinator Andrew Finn on email info@knysnaoysterfestival.co.za for more information, or call 0443825510