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Garden Route Gems: Things to Do in Knysna

6 min read
Garden Route Gems: Things to Do in Knysna

Nestled along the Garden Route, Knysna conjures beautiful green imagery and coastal charm. You’ll find this lovely town between the Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean. Many make their way to this cosy town to see its lush indigenous forests, calm lakes and sparkling blue beaches. This charming town has so much to offer so be sure to have a list or a general idea of things to do in Knysna the next time you visit.

We’ve curated some worthwhile things to do when you visit Knysna. Take a look! 

things to do in knysna

image courtesy of @ferariii_mon via Instagram

1. The Beaches

If you’re making your way out of the city and you’re set on enjoying this nature-filled town then do not miss out on the beaches. It is one of the best things to do in Knysna if you’re looking for a chance to unwind with sand between your toes. The beaches in Knysna are some of the best you’ll find along the Garden Route. You’ll have the chance to partake in a variety of activities, including surfing, snorkelling, paragliding and of course a lovely stroll on the beach. These are some of Knysna beaches you’ll love: Bollard Bay, Brenton on Sea and Coney Glen. Pack in your bathing suit and make your way to a Knysna beach for the ultimate fun in the coastal sun.

2. The Forest

This is a special place and a true gem found in this lovely town. Knysna Forest is one of only a few remote Afromontane forests across the African continent. With a breathtaking mix of ancient trees, both local and exotic, Knysna Forest is a utopia for nature enthusiasts. If stillness is what you’re after, surrounded by dense trees and all things green, then make sure to add this epic forest to your list of things to do in Knysna! You’ll get to see trees like Outeniqua yellowwood, Stinkwood, White Pear and Assegai

things to do in knysna

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3. Jubilee Creek

Jubilee Creek is situated in a valley, deep in the forest, beside a stream. This picnic site is a lovely space for families and couples to enjoy. You’ll find an abundance of picnic sites where you can sit with your basket of treats while basking in the surrounding nature. Head to Goudveld Forest for this idyllic picnic spot along with its many other beautiful features, including a braai area, rock pools and waterfall.

Contact: Goudveld Forestry Station – 044 389 0129

Address: Farm 118, Edge of Goudveld Forest, Bibby’s Hoek, Rheenendal, Knysna, 6576 (You will reach a four-way crossing with a boom. Follow the Jubilee Creek directions to the Jubilee Creek picnic site, 10km).

4. The Lagoon

The spectacular Knysna Lagoon opens between two sandstone cliffs known as the Heads. The lagoon is a main attraction for tourists and it is the local hangout spot for fishermen and water sports enthusiasts. Ensure that you add the tranquil lagoon to your list of things to do in Knysna. Some of the popular activities at the lagoon include fishing, boating, kite-surfing, stand-up paddling and swimming. You can also go to the lagoon for exciting whale and dolphin watching. Dolphins can be spotted all year-round while whales frequent the waters between July and December.

things to do in knysna

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5. Oyster Festival

Winter in Knysna is like no other with its incredible oyster festival that takes place in the town. The annual Oyster Festival is considered to be one of the most popular festivals in the Western Cape. It promises to deliver you the “best 10 days of your winter”. So, make sure to visit this lovely town during winter, particularly in June. The Knysna Oyster Festival sees a great combination of sport, food and family time. There is plenty of entertainment, food and wine stalls, and exciting sports challenges. 

Contact: 044 382 5510 | [email protected]

6. The Waterfront

A trip to this lovely town is incomplete without going to the Knysna waterfront. One of the best things to do in Knysna is spending time at the scenic waterfront. Known as The Waterfront Knysna Quays, it is one of the most popular shopping and leisure destinations along the Garden Route. You’ll see luxury yachts and charters voyaging into the velvet lagoon. There are a variety of things to do at Knysna Waterfront, including shopping for souvenirs, books and trendy clothes, and dining at top-class restaurants. Take in the epic views from the waterfront!

Contact: 044 382 0955 | [email protected]

Address: 21 Waterfront Drive, The Waterfront, Knysna, 6570

visit knysna

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7. île de païn

Unwind at the popular artisanal île de païn. Head to this fine establishment for a hearty breakfast or a delicious lunch. île de païn is a café-style restaurant serving distinctive and appetising breakfasts and lunches. They are renowned for their authentic artisanal bread. The award-winning île de païn is a must-visit in Knysna.

Opening Times: Tuesday-Saturday 08:00-15:00

Contact: 044 302 5705 | [email protected]

Address: 8-10 The Boatshed, Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna, 6570

8. Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market

Visit the award-winning Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market located on the outskirts of the tiny town of Sedgefield. This internationally famous farmers’ market attracts many visitors who frequent Knysna. Open every Saturday, this market is a fresh mix of people from diverse backgrounds. You’ll get to taste locally-produced foods and purchase flora from the unique Southern Cape Floral Kingdom.

Opening Times: Saturday – Summer 07:30-12:00; Winter 08:00-12:00

Contact: 082 376 5020 | [email protected]

Address: N2, Sedgefield, 6573

visit knysna

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9. Knysna Elephant Park

The first facility in South Africa to house and care for orphaned African elephants, the Knysna Elephant Park is a phenomenal sanctuary for these wise animals. Today, there are 10 elephants, the largest matriarchal herd in South Africa. You’ll have the opportunity to get up close to these beautiful elephants. These responsible, ethical and educational interactions afford people the chance to interact with the elephants on the animals’ terms. 

Opening Times: Monday-Sunday 09:00-15:00

Contact: 044 532 7732 | [email protected]

Address: Just off the N2 between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, 6600

10. Seahorse Tour

Aside from the thrilling watersports such as kitesurfing, stand-up paddling and kayaking, the lagoon is also the ideal destination for snorkelling. Head to Knysna Dive Charters and sign up for a one-of-a-kind snorkel experience with the endemic Knysna seahorse. The lagoon is home to a diverse range of marine species, including the incredible Knysna seahorse. Thanks to the lagoon’s shallow waters, the whole family can go snorkelling and you won’t need any certification. The endemic Knysna seahorse has an amazing ability to change colour. You’ll have the best time spotting these precious marine species.

visit knysna

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Now that you know what the best things to do in Knysna are, you can plan an unforgettable trip to this beautiful little town. Visit Knysna for the chance to be immersed in nature and small-town culture. Whether you travelling from big cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town,  you are sure to enjoy this one-of-a-kind town.

Have you recently been to Knysna? Let us know what you enjoy doing and seeing when you visit Knysna.

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Also read: 30 Amazing Ways to Explore The Garden Route


All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of out-dated or incorrectly noted information.

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