Ysternek Nature Reserve

Info that’s good to know

When is summer in South Africa? Should I tip my server? Do I need to bring a converter for my chargers? Here you’ll find the answers to these and many other questions – useful information on Knysna and the surrounding areas.

The weather

Knysna is the perfect year-round destination. If you are planning the beach holiday you’ve always dreamt of, you might prefer to visit during summer. But we must let you know that winter is known as the secret season in Knysna, with moderate temperatures and crisp, clear days.

Season When? How Hot?
Summer Nov – Feb Up to mid-30°C (86°F)
Autumn March – May Up to mid-20°C (68°F)
Winter June – Aug Below 20°C (68°F)
Spring Sept – Oct Up to mid-20°C (68°F)

Keep in mind that the weather can change at any time. When venturing out on a cool day it’s always a good idea to dress in layers – and it’s always a good idea to bring a jacket on a warm day. The African sun means business, so make sure you have extra sunscreen and water at hand.

Money, money, money

The currency is the South African Rand (ZAR). Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, as is American Express, but to a lesser extent.

Service in restaurants and coffee shops is generally rewarded with a minimum tip of 10% on your bill or check. You are welcome to tip exceptional service with a higher tip – at your own discretion. Please be aware that some restaurants will automatically add 10% to your account if you are a large group, please check with the restaurant when making your reservation.

Give it gas

When renting a car, check with the agent if you’ll need to fill up with diesel or unleaded petrol. Both are widely available at any service station. There are service stations in Sedgefield and Knysna. If you are road tripping, please check that you’ll have enough fuel to reach your destination. The closest service station to the west of greater Knysna is in Wilderness (just over 20km from Sedgefield), and to the east, Harkerville (just under 20km). You can also tip your attendant, but the minimum 10% rule does not apply. A few loose R5 coins or a lower denomination banknote will be accepted with a smile. By the way, click here to find the easiest routes to Knysna, and here for info on getting around once you’re here.


The standard voltage in South Africa is 230V, and the frequency is 50Hz. If the standard voltage in your country is between 220V – 240V, you will be able to use your electrical appliances without a travel adapter. If you should arrive in South Africa and realise that you need one, travel adapters are widely available.

Who you gonna call?

Life happens – even on holiday. Make a note of these important telephone numbers and you won’t be caught short in case of an emergency.

Emergency Service Contact Number
South African Police Service (Knysna) +27 (0)44 302 6602
South African Police Service (Sedgefield) +27 (0)44 302 6702
South African Police Service (all areas) 10111
Knysna Fire & Rescue (all areas) +27 (0)44 302 8911
Sedgefield Fire & Rescue +27 (0)44 349 2900
National Sea Rescue Institute +27 (0)82 990 5956
ER24 084 124
Provincial Ambulance +27 (0)44 382 5613 / +27 (0)44 302 8400
Life Knysna Private Hospital +27 (0)44 384 1083
Knysna Provincial Hospital +27 (0)44 302 8400
Knysna Municipality +27 (0)44 302 6300

It’s a good idea to keep the telephone number of your accommodation establishment on you at all times. In a pinch, your host will be happy to make emergency calls on your behalf.


South Africa has a number of public holidays (known as ‘bank’ holidays in some countries). Some shops may only be open half-day on these dates – or even be closed completely. Emergency services will operate as usual. South African public holidays are:

Date Public Holiday
1 January New Year’s Day
21 March Human Rights Day
10 April Good Friday
13 April Family Day
27 April Freedom Day
1 May Workers’ Day
16 June Youth Day
9 August National Women’s Day
24 September Heritage Day
16 December Day of Reconciliation
25 December Christmas Day
28 December Day of Goodwill

The locals

The greater Knysna area is not nearly as densely populated as the main centres of South Africa like Cape Town or Johannesburg. In fact, the locals make for only 0.13% of the total population of South Africa. According to Knysna Municipality, the permanent population projections per settlement for 2020 are:

Town Population
Knysna Town 54 160
Karatara 950
Rheenendal 5 771
Sedgefield 9 087
All other areas 4 257
Total 74 226

These numbers increase exponentially during the summer season, with Sedgefield’s population known to double as visitors flock to the coast.

The lay of the land

The greater Knysna area has an interesting topography. At absolute sea level to the south, but with the peaks and valleys of the Outeniqua Mountains to the north, this stretch of the Garden Route between Sedgefield and Noetzie is characterised by undulating roads of smooth dips and rises. Forests, mountains, hills covered in Cape fynbos, beaches, an intricate network of rivers, lakes and estuaries and bustling urban centres – the greater Knysna area has it all.

Our credentials

Knysna has been placed in the top 5 of the best 10 destinations in South Africa in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards, and Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards has named Knysna as the second best city in Africa. Locals have also voted Knysna as South Africa’s Favourite Town more than once. The area welcomes thousands of visitors throughout the year. With fantastic restaurants and amazing activities that all adhere to the highest levels of professional service delivery, Knysna proudly caters to a refined tourism market of all ages.