Aerial view of Knysna

Safety FAQ

As a top tourist destination in South Africa, Knysna hosts thousands of visitors every year. One of the first questions that travellers ask before they plan a trip to the area is, how safe is Knysna for tourists? The answer is: it is safe but you need to be vigilant!

Travellers are advised to exercise the same level of vigilance that they would exercise when visiting any other top tourist destination in the world. Here are some helpful answers to questions which you may have as a visitor to Greater Knysna:

What are the top tips for staying safe?

  • Always be alert and aware of your surroundings.
  • Follow basic safety tips and have emergency numbers on hand.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of cash and do not carry your cell phone in your hand.
  • Keep your valuables including your camera in a bag that you can wear close to your body.
  • Avoid walking in deserted and dark places at night.
  • At night, park in a secure, well-lit area with street guards.
  • Never allow strangers to assist you in any way at ATMs or cash points.
  • Keep copies of all valuable documents in a safe place. Report lost passports and visas immediately to the police. Your country’s embassy or consulate can be contacted through the Tourism Victim Support programme.
  • Don’t leave handbags under tables, on the backs of chairs or on restroom hooks.
  • Don’t leave cellphones or wallets on restaurant tables.
  • Keep your credit card in sight all the time.
  • Never swim alone on the beach – swim in areas that are supervised by a lifeguard.
  • Use a reliable registered taxi/ and or tourist guide service. Find an accredited list here… (link to Taxi listings)

Will I be safe in my hotel or accommodation establishment?

Accommodation establishments in Greater Knysna take the safety of their guests seriously and will offer their own tips and advice for ensuring that you have a safe and comfortable stay. In addition, you should ensure that you:

  • never leave valuables near open windows or doors
  • store valuables in the safety deposit box in your room
  • keep your room locked

Should I give money to street children and beggars?

When walking on the streets of Knysna or Sedgefield, you may be approached by beggars and street children for cash or other handouts. Please do not give money to them as it only encourages them to stay on the streets. If you would like to assist in some way, you can consider donating money to the Sinethemba Youth Development Center which works to integrate children back into school, or FAMSA, which works to promote a healthy, functional family life.

How do I book a tour or activity?

Where these involve tour guides, work with your accommodation establishment or the Visit Knysna office to ensure that you book with an accredited tour guides.

Is it safe to drive a car?

It is safe to drive a car in the Knysna area but be alert and follow these guidelines:

  • Have you keys ready as you approach your car.
  • Always lock your doors.
  • Park in well-lit areas at night.
  • Don’t give lifts to strangers.
  • If you think you are being followed drive to a busy place or a police station.
  • Keep your valuables out of sight.
  • After you’ve parked your car, make sure it is properly locked before you walk away, to ensure you don’t become a victim of thieves who use “remote jamming” devices.

Is it safe to draw cash from an ATM?

  • Only use ATMs in well-lit and safe places.
  • Don’t accept help from strangers or give out your pin number, not even to persons claiming to be bank officials.
  • Be wary of people standing very close to you and looking over your shoulder as you type in your pin.
  • Never leave your card in the ATM. If it gets stuck or swallowed, follow instructions provided on the ATM machine.
  • Make sure you are not followed after drawing cash.

What are some safety tips when hiking or cycling on the trails?

  • Obtain a map and plan your route.
  • The weather in Knysna changes rapidly and you could unexpectedly be caught in rain or cold weather even in summer, so be prepared.
  • Have sufficient water and sunblock with you and a warm jacket.
  • Start on the home trail long before sunset and stay on the marked paths.
  • Be sure to inform your accommodation establishment where you are going and when you expect to be back and preferably go in a group or with at least one other person.

What are the emergency numbers I should keep handy?

Emergency Service Contact Number
Knysna Fire & Rescue 044 302 8911 (all hours)
SA Police 10111 / 044 302 6677
Provincial Ambulance 10177 / 112
Provincial Traffic 044 382 5525 / 062 024 8673
Provincial Hospital 044 302 8400
Life Private Hospital 044 302 5200
ER24 (private ambulance service) 084 124
NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) 044 384 0211