The jewel of the Garden Route

Although there is some contestation about what the name ‘Knysna’ means, it is largely agreed to be a Khoi word referring to the rolling valleys and hills of the Knysna forest. And what a forest it is: Its abundance of ferns and winding streams stretch across 20 kilometres before reaching the Outeniqua Mountains further inland. This coastal retreat is one of the Garden Route’s prime attractions, bursting with charm and buzzing with year-round activity thanks to its Oyster Festival, Pink Loerie Mardi Gras, and Knysna Speed Festival.

Knysna has come a long way since the first European settlers arrived in 1760. Many a ship met their ruin attempting to sail through the infamous Knysna Heads into the estuary. As a result, snorkelling and diving in the lagoon yield glimpses of old shipwrecks that have been claimed by the tidal waters. Visitors can now safely pass through the Heads on a yacht or high-adrenaline speedboat.

The Goukamma Nature Reserve is nearby, a perfect stop on the way to the excellent surf at Buffalo Bay while the illustrious golf courses at Conrad Pezula and Simola are the perfect wind-down after a hard day adventuring. Knysna offers a range of accommodation and restaurant types, easily suited to the needs of any visitor.

Highlights

  • Knysna has long been considered the jewel of the Garden Route and its convenient location makes for easy access to the area’s attractions 
  • Visitors can explore numerous hiking trails, beaches, and enjoy a number of water-based activities 
  • Take a trip to the Featherbed Nature Reserve and explore the undeveloped side of the Knysna Heads
  • Affordable, mid-range and luxurious accommodation and restaurant options are available
  • A perfect stopover between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth 
  • Best time to go:
  • Best
  • Mixed

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