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KKnysna is located along South Africa’s beautiful and famed Garden Route in the Western Cape province. This small town boasts an incredible annual oyster festival, friendly people, magical forests and the most magnificent views from Leisure Isle to the Knysna Heads. A visit to Knysna is a sublime blend of adventure and relaxation.
The forested town of Knysna, which grew around an extensive lagoon of the same name, is a verdant paradise of lush, indigenous forests, azure tranquil lakes and golden sun drenched beaches. It is nestled on the banks of a lagoon that is a protected marine reserve, home to amongst others, extraordinary sea horses and over 200 species of fish.
DDriving in on the N2 highway from Cape Town, you’re met with a well-developed town that feels as if you’re travelling in woodcutter county. The main street of Knysna, lined with small boutiques and shops, is actually a part of the N2 highway, which passes directly through the centre of the town en route to the Eastern Cape and beyond.
Knysna's most famed attraction is the Knysna Heads and no visit would be complete without a trip to the Heads – a striking geological feature made up of a pair of huge, brightly coloured cliffs lying at the mouth of the lagoon, flanking a channel of potentially treacherous waters that flow into the lagoon. The eastern Head houses a lookout with spectacular views of the lagoon, Leisure Isle and Knysna whilst the western Head is a privately owned nature reserve called Featherbed Nature Reserve. Visitors can get to the reserve via ferry.
TThe area around Knysna is a veritable Garden of Eden. This is the home of the only forest elephant in South Africa; the rare Pansy Shell; the brilliantly coloured and elusive Knysna Loerie; a plethora of waterfowl and forest birds; dolphins and visiting whales. The nearby Knysna Elephant Park is home to relocated jumbo families and is a popular choice for families.
Dolphins are often spotted offshore, while Southern Right whales pay seasonal visits to the shores of the Paradise Coast. A dolphin-spotting boat trip might include a stop off at the Robberg Peninsula near Plettenberg Bay to visit a noisy seal colony.
Knysna is brimming with all kinds of accommodation to suit all budgets. You can stay on a houseboat on the lagoon, a forest lodge near the beach, a log cabin in the forest, a Cape Cod-style mansion, and a bustling hotel on the main road or in one of numerous guesthouses.
Venture a little out of the town and head north to reach the Garden Route National Park, which takes in the beautiful scenery of the Wilderness region, a suspension bridge and the gastronomy of the Route.
Knysna, Western Cape
TThe harbour area and the Knysna Waterfront are also home to most of Knysna’s nightlife, with several bars, restaurants and clubs where patrons can enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset over the Heads. Golf enthusiasts will find the area a joy, with several world-class courses on offer both in Knysna itself, and in neighbouring towns. Fancourt in George is within easy reach, and Simola, Pezula and the Knysna golf course are all located in the town itself.
Beaches, lakes, mountains and rivers provide endless opportunities for leisure and outdoor adventure. Within the town, craft shops, flea markets and cosy cafés beckon with small-town charm and hospitality.