Did you know?
Seahorses are classified as fish and breathe through gills.
When you go snorkelling with seahorses in Knysna, you'll be privileged to meet the endangered Knysna seahorse. Endemic to South Africa, they are only found in certain estuaries along South Africa's southern coastline.
Be prepared to fall in love. These greenish-brown little creatures only about 12cm long are the stuff of fairy tales. With the head of a horse, the prehensile tail of a monkey and eyes that swivel like a chameleon's, you'll be hard put to resist their charms.
It's the male seahorse that gives birth. He has a kangaroo-like pouch where the female lays her eggs. When the babies are ready to hatch, they pop out the pouch and into the water.
Knysna, South Africa's most popular coastal town, is the place to find these seahorses, and when you travel along the Garden Route, take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come face-to-face with one of the world's most fascinating marine creatures. If you're lucky, you may witness a courtship dance, or even see Dad give birth.
An experienced diver will take you at high tide to the places where you can safely encounter these little creatures. As they are endangered and protected by law, great care is taken not to disturb their natural habitat on the sandy floor, where they congregate round clumps of plants.
There's other abundant marine life in the waters of Knysna. The southern right whale comes to breed in these waters between August and December, and you'll get great views all along the Garden Route. If you visit the nearby Robberg peninsula, home to a colony of fur seals, you may well see dolphins leaping the waves in pods of up to a 100 strong.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Stefan De Bruyn
Tel: +27 (0) 78 488 6405
How to get here
Knysna is on the Garden Route. Take the N2 east from Cape Town (500km), or west from Port Elizabeth (280km). The nearest airport is in George, 65km west.
Best time to visit
August to December is when the southern right whales are breeding. The seahorses can be seen all year round but in winter the water is very cold.
Around the area
The area around Knysna is stunningly scenic with beaches, indigenous forests, lakes and charming villages.
What will it cost
Snorkelling costs R250 per person, including equipment. Scuba diving is R400 per person, including all equipment.
What to pack
All snorkelling and diving equipment is supplied by the dive operators. Never forget to bring plenty of sunscreen and a hat!
Where to stay
Choose between a forest lodge, a houseboat, a log cabin, a welcoming B&B or a hotel - there's lots of varied accommodation on offer in Knysna.
What to eat
Oysters are the thing to eat in Knysna.
The Knysna Oyster Festival is one of the Cape's most popular events, held annually in early July.