Knysna has something for everyone which is why it is such a sought after destination on the beautiful Garden Route. Great land and water activities, scenic beauty and a vibrant town make Knysna an excellent all-round holiday spot.
The N2 highway narrows down and passes right through the town, so you can have direct access to a range of excellent amenities which line the road. Knysna can be reached in 5 hours from Cape Town and in 3 hours from Port Elizabeth when travelling by car.
George Airport is the main airport for the Garden Route and can be reached in 1 hour by car or slightly longer during the holiday season.
The Knysna Lagoon is surrounded by the Outeniqua Mountains, verdant indigenous forests and lakes. The tidal lagoon has 2 main islands and is guarded by the Knysna Heads, 2 rugged sandstone cliffs which stand on either side of the estuary.
There are 4 nature reserves in the area. Leisure Isle on the lagoon has a small beach and shallow water at Bollard Bay. The main beach for swimming and surfing is Buffalo Bay or there is a beach at Brenton-on-Sea although it has dangerous rip currents - both have life-guards in season.
The town is built along the waterfront on one side of the lagoon and along the N2 highway. The greater Knysna area includes Noetzie, Belvidere, Buffalo Bay, Brenton-on-Sea, Goukamma, Sedgefield and Rheenendal.
Historic Knysna is everyone's favourite holiday town. It has a range of attractions and festivals to keep young and old entertained. The town has mushroomed to include many excellent facilities, but somehow it has retained its quaint yet sophisticated atmosphere.
Once you arrive, you will find everything you need to have a great time. There are all kinds of shops and around 80 eateries to choose from. Art and craft is a big part of the Knysna vibe and there are many talented individuals who live in the area. You can also enjoy lots of delicious homemade goods, real beer and fabulous fresh foods including fresh, cultivated Knysna oysters.
Active people will love the variety of environments in Knysna which includes the beach and ocean, lagoon and lake, indigenous forest and mountain and also the manicured fairway. You can be busy every day doing something different or simply while away the time in your favourite spot.
Knysna has many facets and can be visited at any time - it caters for all pockets whether it is a simple camping trip or a blow the budget holiday. Families love the natural environment and range of accommodation, while couples enjoy the romantic ambiance and choice of dining venues. Whether you are the sporty type or the kind of person who enjoys relaxing while being close to nature, you can't go wrong with Knysna.
A top attraction is spending time on the lagoon. You can hire a boat and cruise the inlets while staying on board, or enjoy a scheduled cruise and see the sights. You could also take a ferry ride and then explore the Featherbed Reserve. Golfing enthusiasts will have the time of their lives on a range of stunning courses where the views are breathtaking.
When you visit Knysna you should taste the oysters; enjoy a proper brew in one of the great pubs; go on a forest walk and look at the beautiful and ancient trees; enjoy Whale watching from the Heads in the winter months; search for fynbos (wild flowers) and some special creatures such as the Knysna Loerie and the Narina Trogon or the Brenton Blue Butterfly and the Dwarf Chameleon. You could also explore the legend of the last Knysna Elephant at the Knysna Elephant Park.
- History & culture - Enjoy historic rambles through the town visiting museums, national monuments and places of interest, visit the Millwood Goldmines and teagardens of Rheenendal or take a picnic to Jubilee Creek. Interact with the local communities on a number of cultural tours.
- Markets & art / craft - There are 6 regular alfresco markets in Knysna and Sedgefield for art and craft goods plus fresh produce or you can visit galleries and craft stalls, alternately set off on the Funky Tortoise Craft Route
- Speciality - Oyster tasting and a cruise to the oyster beds; craft brewery tour; Knysna Timber Route; theatre shows at the Knysna Playhouse; Adventureland water park for the kids; great shopping at interesting outlets
- Water activities - Fishing (permits), sea safaris for Dolphin and Whale watching, surfing, swimming (most of the year), boating, lagoon cruises and ferry rides, canoeing, yachting and jet skiing (certain areas only)
- Wildlife - Eagle Encounters for interaction with birds of prey, Knysna Elephant Park for personal Elephant encounters and rides
- Hiking & biking - Choose from a superb range of trails of different lengths in the forest and nature reserves, on the mountainside and around the lakes. Knysna is a popular venue for bike challenges and quad biking. Guided walks and hikes are also available in the area
- Wining & dining - Knysna offers an exciting array of dining options in different settings with the waterfront being especially popular - everyone is catered for
- Golf - There are 4 superb options in Knysna, 3 offer challenging 18 hole courses and 1 offers a 9 hole course which is ideal for those just starting out
- Adventure - Knysna offers paragliding or you can abseil off the Heads; horse riding trails; 4x4 trails; rock climbing; kloofing; kite-surfing
Knysna has a few rainy days but for the most part the climate is warm and sunny with balmy temperatures right thorough even in the wind-free cooler months from May to August (known as the 'secret season'). It is a year round destination.
What You Need to Know
The Literary Festival in April, the colourful Pink Loerie Mardi Gras, for gay fun and parties in May, Knysna Speed Festival in May, the well known Knysna Oyster Festival in June / July, Knysna Woodworkers Festival in September / October and the African Experience Golf in October.
See recommended Knysna Accommodation options.