Photograph: courtesy of South African Tourism

Knysna is a breathtakingly beautiful coastal town on the shores of a 21 hectare Indian Ocean estuary on the Garden Route. The dramatic Outeniqua Mountains form the backdrop with magical, indigenous forests encircling this paradise. Two sandstone sentinels, “The Heads” protect Knysna’s estuary from the sea.

Knysna has garnered accolades of being voted South Africa’s favourite town and locals will tell you that Knysna is one of the most scenically exquisite places in all of Africa.

Knysna prides itself on the diverse attractions it offers for a dream holiday for local and international visitors. Below are some of Knysna’s attractions for visitors to enjoy.



A variety of adventure and extreme sports are offered. Abseiling is popular at both Knysna Heads, in the Featherbed Nature Reserve and at Kranshoek Waterfall.

Other activities offered: creeking which includes hiking, climbing and swimming, quad-biking, mountain-biking, and kayaking. Paragliding is another popular action attraction.



Stretches of uninterrupted white sanded beaches attract beachgoers, hikers and surfers.

Photograph: courtesy of South African Tourism

Brenton-BuffaloBeach is idyllic and offers fantastic whale and dolphin watching from its shores during the behemoth’s migratory season. BollardBay on Leisure Isle is especially suitable for families with young kids due to its gentle wave-free swimming conditions. Noetzie is a cove, famous for its castles on the beach.


Knysna’s many natural areas provide the ideal habitat for prolific birdlife.

The striking green Knysna Turaco (loerie) is iconic to Knysna. Abundant birdlife can be spotted in different natural areas, such as Pledge Nature Reserve, Featherbed, SteenbokNaturePark, Kingfisher Creek & Goukamma Nature Reserve.

Photograph: courtesy of South African Tourism



The Eastern Head and Thesen’s Jetty are good spots for underwater diving & snorkeling.



Cruise on a ferry boat to the Heads, sail on a yacht or hire a boat or canoe. The Estuary is a biologically rich and diverse lagoon, with salt marshes and deep water channels. It is also home to the endangered Knysna Seahorse, found only in Knysna, in Plettenberg Bay & Sedgfield – and nowhere else in the world!
Oysters, pansy shells and diverse fish and bird species also live in and around the estuary.



Photograph: courtesy of South African Tourism

Knysna offers rock-surf- and freshwater fishing.Deep sea fishing trips are available for sports anglers, salt water fly fishing is popular in the Knysna Lagoon and at Goukamma Lagoon in Buffalo Bay. The bass fishing at Swartvlei is highly rated.



Knysna boasts spectacular 18-hole golf courses for low handicap and weekend golfers: Pezula +27 (0)44 302 5300, Simola +27 (0)44 382 4116, Blackwaters Mashie Golf Course +27 (0)44 383 0105 & the Knysna Golf Course +27 (0)44 384 1150. The latter is close to the scenic Heads with many water hazards and is particularly challenging for golfers. Other acclaimed courses such as Fancourt, George, Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay are within easy driving distance from Knysna.



Knysna is a hiker’s paradise – places to explore include Knysna’s magical forests and reserves:

the Featherbed Nature Reserve, Goukamma Nature Reserve, Knysna Indigenous Forest, Pledge Nature Reserve, Steenbok Nature Park & Kingfisher Creek.



Photograph: courtesy of South African Tourism

Knysna has a few festivals throughout the year. The most well-known is the Knysna Oyster Festival, a social highlight in July, with the focus on enjoying the good life. It also features the legendary Knysna Forest Marathon and Knysna Cycle Tour. The Knysna Arts experience takes place annually in September/October, showcasing the visual arts, theatre, music and dance.



Knysna’s population is complemented by many artists and crafters.
The Rheedendal country district, 10 kilometres outside Knysna, features more than 30 art studios – on the route known as the Rheedendal Ramble.

Another interesting route is the Timber Route where you can find out more about the forest origins and the processes involving the wood by meeting the talented individuals involved in the industry – bowl turners, cabinet makers, carpenters etc.



The Waterfront Knysna, ThesenIslandHarbourTown,& Woodmill Lane/Walk, De Oude Fabriek & The Knysna Mall offer unique shopping experiences.


Useful contacts:

Phone: +27 (0)44 873 6355

Phone: +27 (0)44 382 5510
40 Main Street , Knysna, 6570

Distances in kilometres
Knysna – Cape Town: 503 km
Knysna – Ceres: 435km
Knysna – Durban: 1258km
Knysna – Johannesburg: 1349km
Knysna – George: 61km
Knysna – MosselBay: 138km
Knysna – Oudtshoorn: 120km
Knysna – Paarl: 453km
Knysna – PlettenbergBay: 37km
Knysna – Stellenbosch: 612km
Knysna – Worcester: 390km

Compiled from information gleaned from following sources:

Garden Route & Klein Karoo Route 62

Cape Town & Western Cape – the official travel guide
Tel: +27 (0)21 487 4800

Photographs: courtesy of South African Tourism