In 1957 local attorney, Bertie Stern, Chairman of the...
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Knysna travel guide
If you want a base to stay while exploring the Garden Route and the Klein Karoo, and you want somewhere with an offbeat personality all of its own, that has beautiful scenery and lots to do outdoors, then Knysna is it. A medium sized town spread out along the shores of a large lagoon, Knysna manages to be stylish, connected and yet old-time hippie as well. It’s accessible by car from Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and George airports. And it’s the kind of place that you can tailor to the holiday you want. If you want exclusivity and pampering, take a champagne cruise across the lagoon or out to the Indian Ocean, or play golf on a top notch course. Wandering the waterfront and old town centre you’ll find artsy little shops, curious characters and restaurants to suit all budgets. If it’s nature you’re after, take a kayak down the winding Knysna river. Or take a ferry to the Featherbed Reserve, explore the Knysna Heads and walk the silent forests. Children can have the time of their lives at wildlife sanctuaries, beaches and the surrounding Outeniqua Mountains. Adventure sports are all there too, from abseiling, kite surfing and paragliding, to angling and deep sea fishing. And if you’re up for a party, come when one of Knysna’s festivals is going on.
Fabulous trips from Knysna
- The Crags – About 45 minutes’ drive from Knysna towards Plettenberg Bay,
this hub has a monkey sanctuary, a bird sanctuary and an elephant sanctuary,
all winners of animal welfare and responsible tourism awards. You can also
taste wine, visit the Old Nick Village for some shopping or just lie on the
- Cango Caves and Oudtshoorn – A 1/1/2 hour drive from Knynsa
takes you to Oudtshoorn where you can visit an ostrich show farm. Drive 30 km
further and you’re at the famous Cango Caves, with their awe-inspiring
formations and challenging tunnels.
- Plettenberg Bay – Plett makes a great daytrip from Knysna and you only
have to drive for about half an hour. Detour to the indigenous forest of the Garden
of Eden on your way. Plett has wonderful beaches for swimming, but Robberg
Beach is the best for a beautiful long walk with your feet in the sea.
- Mossel Bay – This little town overlooking a small harbour has a rich history of
sailors, fishermen and explorers. Take a look at the replica of Bartolomeu
Dias' caravel, a memorial to his landing at Mossel Bay. Nearby is the Culture
Museum, the Granary and the Shell Museum. Don’t forget the famous Post Office
Tree, where sailors used to post letters that were then taken to their destination
by passing ships.
- Wilderness – a small seaside spot about forty minutes away from Knysna,
it has a lovely boardwalk along the lagoon that is great for birdwatching.
- The Tsitsikamma National Park – Dense forests and lakes just over an
hour’s drive from Knysna. You can take a leisurely drive on the old road or put
foot on the toll road, stopping for a bungee jump at Bloukrans Gorge on the
way. Along the coast there are some lovely walks. If you want a few days
hiking, the Storms River Mouth is the start of the much-loved Otter Trail.
Knysna loves its festivals – choose what appeals to you:
Loerie Mardi Gras in April/May - A
Gay Pride celebration with loads of sparkle.
Oyster Festival in July – Oysters are the theme, but this festival celebrates
food, wine and fun.
Woodworkers Festival in September -
Celebrates the ancient tradition of
woodworking that developed due to the magnificent variety of trees in
Experience Golf Festival in October – Especially for golf lovers, come and
try out as many golf courses as you can.
Speed Festival in May – This one’s for speed freaks. A highlight of the
festival is the Renault Simola Speed Climb, one of the country’s premier
Festival over the Easter weekend – Take your family on a slow drive to
Sedgefield to savour life, love and friendship with a range of fun events.