Lifestyle and Decor

A local’s guide to Knysna

Private Property South Africa
Robyn Anthony |
A local’s guide to Knysna

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, a fun-filled adventure, or you simply want to be a tourist, Knysna has everything you need and more.

Nestled in the Garden Route, between Wilderness and Plettenberg Bay, lies the picturesque town of Knysna. Though fires devastated large parts of Knysna earlier this year, the one thing that couldn’t be destroyed was the town’s sense of community.

Ian Fleming, who lived in Knysna for 21 years, is still very positive about the town, even though his home burned down along with hundreds of other houses, forcing him to move to nearby Sedgefield. He says you would be hard-pressed to find the many attractions the town has to offer concentrated in one area anywhere else. “We have the lagoon, forests and mountains. A visit to Knysna is a sublime blend of adventure and relaxation,” he says.

The town has seen the development of new malls in recent years. While this has brought in more visitors, Ian says it’s had an impact on smaller businesses. With that said, Knysna still thrives and is a hive of activity throughout the year.

It’s easy to see why this popular destination attracts tourists and senior citizens looking for a place to retire. The pretty and accessible Waterfront has a variety of stores and many restaurants where visitors can enjoy a meal while taking in the view over the lagoon.

Visitors can even enjoy a boat ride on the lagoon. Knysna also boasts several world-class golf courses, including the Knysna Golf Club, Pezula Championship Golf Course and the Simola Golf Course.

For those looking for outdoor adventure, the rivers and forests surrounding the town provide ample opportunity for activities such as hiking, running, kayaking, swimming and fishing.

According to Ian, the town’s most popular attraction is the Knysna Heads. “This treacherous entry into the Knysna lagoon is where many ancient sailing vessels met their doom,” he says.

The town hosts several festivals throughout the year that draw both South African and international visitors. There’s the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival at the end of April, the Knysna Speed Festival in the first week of May and the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival in July, to name just a few.

With rebuilding efforts under way and its sense of community firmly intact, Knysna is well on its way to recovery. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, a fun-filled adventure, or you simply want to be a tourist, Knysna has everything you need and more.

It’s vibey, alive and pulsing. The buzz of international trends is in Knysna.

-Ian Fleming, former resident.

Things to do in Knysna:

  • Explore the natural beauty of the Knysna Heads.
  • Go on a boat cruise or tour.
  • Enjoy an elephant back ride at the Knysna Elephant Park.
  • Visit the many stores and restaurants at the Waterfront.

Where to eat in Knysna:

  • Olive Tree Restaurant: for delicious food and excellent service
  • Daniela’s at Leisure Isle Lodge: for a tasty, eclectic menu
  • The Project Bar: for fantastic cocktails
  • Zachary’s Restaurant: for a fabulous menu offering
  • Croft Courtyard: for delectable breakfasts in a beautiful setting
  • The Island Cafe at The Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa: for alfresco dining in a chic environment

Where to stay in Knysna:

  • The Mount Knysna Boutique Hotel
  • Oniro On Thesen
  • Brenton Haven Beachfront Resort
  • The Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa
  • Under Milkwood self-catering chalets
  • The Alexander Boutique Suites

Click here to view the widest selection of property for sale in Knysna.

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This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

Explore neighbourhoods mentioned in this article

Port Elizabeth
Be Blown Away by PE
A seaside city with an artsy air. Dubbed the “Windy City”, this coastal area has world-class beaches. An outdoor-lover’s dream, the city has the Big 5 of the animal kingdom, boat cruises, museums, an oceanarium and much more. For those interested in history, Port Elizabeth proudly hosts one of the oldest surviving Settler cottages, as well as many museums.

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