One of the most beautiful and magical towns on the Garden Route is undoubtedly Knysna. Drenched in natural beauty with a sprinkle of mysticism, this lakeside town is as dreamy as they come.
Surrounded by lush, ancient forest, gorgeous beaches and dozens of quaint restaurants, art galleries and curio stores, it is easy to see how Knysna has become a must-see destination for anyone traveling along the Garden Route.
Knysna offers an array of activities for both first-time visitors and returning fans. While it was almost impossible, we have narrowed our (ever growing) list of things to do in Knysna down to 8.
These 8 activities not only captures the heart and soul of Knysna, but offers something for everyone; from the cultural connoisseur to the adrenaline junkie.
If there is one thing that people across the board associate with Knysna, it’s oysters. These delicious delicacies are a true Knysna trademark; so much so that the town has their own Oyster Festival!
The Knysna Oyster Festival usually takes place in the winter and attracts thousands of visitors, ready to shuck fresh oysters and wash it all down with a crisp Chenin Blanc.
This year’s Oyster Festival takes place from the 29th of June to the 8th of July. For more info on this festival, check out their website here: http://www.oysterfestival.co.za/
The Championship golf course at Pezula Hotel is one of the most spectacular golf courses in South Africa – if not the world.
The scenic, 18-hole golf course stretches across the lush lands of the Pezula Private Estate on the Eastern Knysna Head.
Offering a 5-star clubhouse and other amazing facilities, if golf is your thing, then a stop at the Pezula Golf Course is a must – and even if golf isn’t your thing, you can still watch your friends practising their swing while looking out over the gorgeous view.
The Knysna forest is a magical space. So much so that it has inspired countless pieces of literature and art, most notably famed South African author, Dalene Matthee’s four ‘forest’ novels, set in the Knysna Forest.
‘Kringe in ‘n Bos’ circles around the extermination of the indigenous elephants in the Knysna forest and became an international best-seller. “Fiela se Kind” and “Moerbeibos” followed the first ‘forest’ novel and were equally successful.
It should come as no surprise then that a trip to this magical, mystical forest is highly recommended when in Knysna. The Knysna forest is an ancient Afromontane forest, which means it is a tropical forest, full of lush fauna and flora.
There are several walking and hiking trails in the forest. It is recommended that you tackle these trails with a guide who knows the forest well.
And perhaps, if you’re lucky, you spot some wild horses and donkeys…
When it comes to culinary experiences, Knysna is a dream.
We’ve already covered their infamous oysters – but besides oysters, Knysna is famed for stunning fine dining restaurants, beautiful bistros and quaint cafes.
One of Knysna’s most famous restaurants is 34 Degrees South. The seafood restaurant has been a stalwart on the Knysna culinary scene, offering fresh Knysna oysters and seafood on the daily.
If fabulous fine dining is what you’re after, however, then Zachary’s at Pezula Hotel is an absolute must. Zachary’s prides itself on making cuisine inspired by local produce, and only uses the best and freshest locally sourced produce to make their stunning dishes.
Another thing that makes Knysna so incredibly special, is the fact that the area has its very own seahorse, that can only be found in the Knysna Lagoon and two other neighbouring bodies of water in Plettenberg Bay and Sedgefield.
Unfortunately, the Knysna Seahorse is the most endangered seahorse in the world. Luckily, various conservation organisations are working closely with the authorities in Knysna to preserve this delicate creature.
If you want to experience these perfectly petit sea creatures in real life, you can do so! Snorkeling among the Knysna seahorses in the Knysna Lagoon is an opportunity not to be missed.
The Knysna Elephant Park is world renowned. Founded more than 20 years ago, in 1994, the Knysna Elephant Park was the first of its kind to house orphaned baby elephants in South Africa.
Spending a day with these majestic creatures is something out of this world. These gentle giants are gorgeous to see up close and personal, and won’t mind if you give them a gentle rub on their trunk.
The Elephant Park relies heavily on funding from their elephant encounters programme to sustain the wonderful work they are doing for these beautiful mammals.
Thus, a meeting with an elephant is definitely one of the must-do’s in Knysna.
As we said, there are countless things to do in Knysna, the one even more magical than the one before. So, what are you waiting for? Knysna is calling!