Area Information

Area Information

Knysna is both nationally and internationally recognized as South Africa’s favourite town.

Surrounded by lagoon, sea, mountains and forest, Knysna boasts outdoor lifestyle like no other.

From bungee jumping to birdwatching its all available here for you to enjoy.

Restaurants serving everything from the famous Knysna oyster to fusion. Superb shopping, art galleries, boutiques and authentic African traders are part of every visitor’s Knysna experience.

Eating Out

Knysna is a coastal town and the flavours of the ocean influence much of its cuisine. Expect the freshest seafood – from the catch-of-the-day to coastal and cultured Knysna oysters. And you will find the best bread of the southern hemisphere in Knysna (at the famous “ile de pain” where Markus bakes it and of course on our table at Falcons View). You can be sure we will recommend only the best places to you (we do not accept bribes)!

Cultural Interests, Festivals & Markets

Knysna’s natural beauty and cosmopolitan community inspire a unique creativity in artists – both local and international – making it the art capital of the region. Various rambles and craft routes allow visitors to enjoy the local craftwork, its history and its people.

Zulu, English, Xhosa, Afrikaans and even Rastafarian are just a few of the languages you’ll hear on the streets and with them come an extraordinary mix of cultures – all with their own rich stories to tell.

Oyster Festival - July

With 26 years of fun and games to celebrate this year, the ten-day annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, one of the country’s longest-running festivals, will boast a jam-packed programme of sport, entertainment and 200 000 oysters!

More than 100 exciting events ranging from super-popular sports events and adventure challenges to wine and whisky tastings and gala evenings, are expected to draw a crowd of some 65 000 people to the beautiful Garden Route town.

The festival’s two main sporting events, the Pick n Pay Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon and the Pick n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour, will give participants the unique opportunity to run and cycle through the ancient indigenous forests that have made Knysna famous. And if marathons are not your style, there’s a full programme of adventure and soft sports for the whole family to participate in, including paddling, golf, bowls, soccer, night biking and angling.

To live up to its name, the festival will present a variety of oyster-related events including the annual oyster-shucking (opening) competition, the ever-popular oyster eating competition and the Pick n Pay Oyster & Wine Mardi Gras – a fabulous evening of oysters and wine tasting.

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Pink Loerie Mardi Gras -- Apri/May

Fabulously flamboyant and totally outrageous, this is the party of the year!

The annual Pink Loerie Mardi Gras will transform the town again at the end of April. The first Mardi Gras that was held in May 2001 was a great success and since then it has grown every year to be more popular with huge support from the gay and lesbian community. Originated by Knysna local, Juan Lerm, it is Africa’s biggest, boldest and most colourful Gay carnival.

The Mardi Gras is a celebration of freedom and the diversity of the gay culture and offers six days of non stop entertainment for anyone, no matter their sexual orientation, who enjoys a party.

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Wild Oats Market

This multiple award-winning Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market is located on the outskirts of the tiny coastal town of Sedgefield, adjacent to the beautiful Swartvlei lake-lagoon. Now in it’s tenth year, this small, rustic but internationally famous farmers’ market continues to attract the enthusiastic attention of proud locals and discernng travellers who consistently return for more of its festive fare. What this initiative has achieved is the blending of people from diverse backgrounds, uniting urban and rural in a mix where important educational experiences about local food sources, nutrition, environmental awareness and agricultual issues all blend into an unusual festive spirit of community.

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Knysna boasts more than 240 terrestrial and marine species, 40 pelagic species and some of the rarest and the most beautiful birds you’ll ever see. African black oystercatchers, Knysna warblers, Knysna loeries and malachite kingfishers. Although you will probably not encounter an elephant on a nature walk through indigenous forests, there are a number of wildlife sanctuaries in and around Knysna that are of great interest and worthy of your support. The Elephant Park, Eagle Encounters and Monkeyland to name a few.

Eagle Encounters

Eagle Encounters, raptor rehabilitation, education and eco-tourism centre is situated at the Heath 7km outside Plettenberg Bay towards Knysna. A non-profit organisation whose mission is to assist in the preservation of birds of prey through creating community awareness and provide a necessary facility for rescue, rehabilitation and release of successful rehabilitation candidates. You are welcome to experience up close and personal encounters with magnificent birds of prey, spectate, participate and photograph they free fly a selection of owls, kites, buzzards, hawks and falcons around and to you in their daily interactive flying displays.

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The Elephant Sanctuary

The Elephant Sanctuary is a family orientated operation catering for both young and old. We focus on education through interaction, so you will not only learn a lot about elephants, but also get to touch, feel, feed, walk trunk-in-hand and even ride these magnificent animals. Elephants are highly intelligent and delightful – when meeting them you will discover that each one has a different character, personality and temperament.

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Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre

Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre at Plettenberg Bay offers a truly unique Wildcat Experience. Guests are taken on a guided tour to meet captive-bred furry felines, living in a semi-natural environment.

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Knysna Elephant Park

Join the southern most elephants in the world at the Knysna Elephant Park where our resident family of African elephants and world-class guides will unravel the sad and mystical story of the Knysna Elephants. The park offers a rare and exciting opportunity to get close to these gentle giants, who live in a controlled, free range environment in the heart of the famous Garden Route.

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Monkeyland is the worlds first free roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary. Monkeyland has as one of its aims, to create awareness about the plight of primates and to show that with a greater understanding of our primate cousins, that we can all live in harmony.

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Birds Of Eden

Birds Of Eden, Is The Garden Route’s Very Own World Class Free Flight Bird Sanctuary. The unique two hectare dome (the World’s largest) spans over a gorge of indigenous forest. The sanctuary has its own mysterious ruin, which incorporates a walk-behind waterfall. Another feature is its amphitheatre, which has the ability to seat over 200 visitors. The sanctuary’s dome incorporates the ability to synthesise thunder and create short spells of rain from an irrigation system in the dome structure. Roofed viewpoints within the gorge have been erected for use during these brief rain storms.

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Plettenberg Bay Private Game Reserve

Plettenberg Bay Private Game Reserve is the Southern Cape’s biggest game reserve and is home to Africa’s Big 4 (rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard). The reserve is situated on over 2200 hectares of indigenous beauty and is malaria free. There are over 250 different species of game and birdlife. Join us on a horseback safari to interact closely with the wildlife, or simply relax and enjoy a 2 hour game drive in an open landrover with our experienced and well-informed guides and see our large variety of wildlife up close.

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Ocean Blue

Ocean Blue offer a rare a powerful experience through the only permitted boat based whale & dolphin encounters. From a deep sea adventure to a relaxing river cruise through the Keurbooms river nature reserve, we strive to offer a unique variation of activities to suit you. We also offer an “at one with the ocean” kayaking tour. All tours are guided with expert crew and tour operators who are internationally qualified. Ocean Blue is a licensed SABBWWA permit holder, which enables us to approach whales from 50 metres instead of 300 metres. Should the whales approach our vessel we do not have to move away. The guests therefore get an up close experience with these majestic mammals in the bay.

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Adventure, Golf & Sport

The Garden Route, South Africa’s capital of golf, boasts more than 20 golf courses. All within driving distance of Knysna. Book your golf at Simola or Pezula at the reception – at special rates for our guests

Knysna provides endless opportunity for a wide variety of sports. High-speed mountain biking through indigenous forests or dive the Indian ocean or the lagoon. Hire a kayak or abseil above the ocean’s crashing waves. Quad bike, horse riding, fly fishing, rock-and-surf angling or deep-sea fishing, sand-boarding, kite-surf on the waters of the lagoon or paraglide over the hills and lakes.

Mountain Biking

South Africa’s Garden Route offers unlimited opportunities for adventure. Mountain biking legend Tony Cook (Two time finisher of the Absa Cape Epic), has years of experience on the best mountain biking trails in this stunning region.

If you love cycling and have always wanted to come to South Africa – we’ll take you for a ride on the wild side! Our professional, local guide is eager to show you the cycling time of your life. Mountain Biking Africa offers half-day, full-day and overnight tours for all levels of Mountain Bikers.

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Bungee Jumping

This is the ultimate thrill! Recognised by the Guinness World Records as the highest commercially operated Bungy Jump in the world. We secure you in a full body harness and proceed to walk along a specially designed catwalk (216m long), which is suspended beneath the road surface, which will then lead you to the top of the arch – 216 meters above the Bloukrans River. Here you will be given final instructions by highly experienced staff, a countdown and off you go! Bloukrans utilizes pendulum bungy technology ensuring you the smoothest, most comfortable bungy jump possible.

Flying Fox This is our NEWEST adventure at Bloukrans! A 200 m cable slide (“foofie slide” for our South Africans!) out onto the archway of the bridge! The quickest way to get to your bungy jump destination. But if the bungy is not for you – this is a great alternative adrenalin rush all on its own. This is a great option for groups and families.Bridge Walking Tours See one of Africa’s marvels up close. Bloukrans is the highest and largest bridge in Africa; the third highest in the world and the largest single span arch bridge in the world. Come and learn about the incredible engineering feats that went into building this amazing bridge. Walk along a spectacular and specially designed catwalk to the top of the arch from where you look out over the Gorge to the mountains and the sea in the distance. Informative guides will introduce you to the enchantment of this special place. This is the perfect way to watch the live “bungy show” up close and personal and is an ideal alternative to jumping off!

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Skydive Plett

Live life to the full! Experience the thrill of free fall over one of the the most scenic drop zones in the world. Start the experience with a short briefing. Then enjoy a 20 minute, scenic plane ride to 10,000 feet, over the Plettenberg Bay coastline. Now the pleasure flight stops and the adrenaline starts to pump as you exit the plane with your Tandem Master and experience the rush of a 35 second free fall at 220KPH!

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Blackwater Tubing

The ultimate Storms River Gorge experience in Tsitsikamma Garden Route South Africa! Storms River’s high fern clad gorge walls cascade down from the Tsitsikamma Mountains to meet the pool & drop black water of the Storms River.

Tsitsikamma, the Khoi San word for place of abundant waters, an area known for its majestic mountains, deep indigenous forests fairy-tale waterfalls and wild rocky coast line is a place of infinite beauty. What better way to experience the magic of the Tsitsikamma than by floating through this forested beauty in the deep cut Gorge of the Storms River with Blackwater Tubing?

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Plettenberg Bay now has a fabulous new and unique attraction, the Plett Puzzle Park. It features the first amazing life size 3-D Maze in South Africa, as well as an exciting Forest Puzzle Walk which meanders through the natural forest, and a fun Rope Maze for the kids.

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Nature & Scenic Tours

Below are some of the many outdoor activities in the area.

Forest Walks

One of the most spectacular attractions in this area is the Knysna Forest. It is the largest indigenous forest in South Africa comprising of tall and ancient trees of local and exotic species, including stinkwood, yellowwood, blackwood, ironwood, white alders and Cape chestnut. Not forgetting the ferns, creepers and wild flowers which add colour to this endless green collage. The forest is vast and extremely dense in places making it impenetrable. Animal life is limited to a few small antelope and a large variety of birds, such as the famous Knysna Loerie.

Lagoon: Paddle Cruiser, John Benn,

For a unique cruise and dining experience – with a modern, hip and trendy twist – The Paddle Cruiser offers both lunch time (12h30 departure) and evening (18h15 departure) cruises. This is the only paddle-driven vessel in South Africa and is a unique dining venue in Knysna. Turn your evening meal into a special occasion – depart at sunset, cruise to the famous Knysna Heads at twilight and return under the stars and twinkling lights of the town. Other boats available are: John Benn, Heads Explorer, Three Legs


Featherbed is a privately-owned, registered Nature Reserve and a South African Heritage site, No.59. It is a pristine piece of paradise situated on the Western Head of Knysna and is accessible by ferry only. This spectacular four-hour eco-experience includes a return ferry trip, nature drive and guided walk, ending with a sumptuous buffet lunch at the Food Forest Restaurant.

The Featherbed Company gives visitors to the Garden Route ‘an unforgettable experience on the Knysna Lagoon’. The Lagoon, more accurately defined as an estuary, has five fresh water rivers flowing in from the surrounding Outeniqua Mountains meeting with the surge of sea water from the Indian Ocean through the mighty headlands – known as the ‘Knysna Heads’ – the grand sandstone cliffs towering above the entrance to the Lagoon.

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Tsitsikamma National Park

The Tsitsikamma National Park is situated at the heart of the picturesque tourist region known as the Garden Route, found in the Southern Cape of South Africa. Tsitsikamma is a Khoisan word meaning, “place of much water”. The Park incorporates 80 km of rocky coastline with spectacular sea and landscapes, a remote mountainous region with secluded valleys covered in mountain Fynbos and temperate high forests with deep river gorges leading down to the sea. The Tsitsikamma’s spectacular scenery includes the Indian Ocean breakers, pounding rocky shores beneath 180 m high cliffs, ever-green forests and fynbos (proteas and heath) rolling down to the sea in a lush carpet where ancient rivers have carved their path to the ocean through rocky ravines. All this conspires to attract large numbers of international and local tourist to the Park.

Robberg Nature Reserve

Robberg Nature Reserve along with kilometres of glorious beaches, edges the “Bay Beautiful” – Plettenberg Bay. Robberg has it all – spectacular scenery, unimpeded vistas of ocean and shore, uniquely adapted vegetation, a thriving seal colony, caracal, grysbok, porcupine, rock hyrax sunbirds and seabirds and funny little lizards (agamas) who watch you quizzically wherever you sit. On top of all this are its other secrets – fossils of unimagined antiquity under one’s feet (if you know where to look): caves where stone-age man hunted and fished, lived and died; stories of shipwrecks more dramatic than any fiction, and of fishing tales from times when shoals of great game fish surged past its flanks. Even the rock faces have tales to tell of giant inland seas, rising and falling mountain ranges and sea levels – the birth and death of rocky beaches and quiet lagoons. Walk high above the water and view schools of dolphins, gamefish or shark as they pass by. From May to November the peninsula offers excellent land based whale watching when the Southern Right Whale comes into the shelter of the bay to mate and calve. Take one of three guided walks – especially tailored to suit your personal interests and fitness level.

Tree-Top Tours

Enjoy the unequalled experience of travelling 30 meters above the forest floor through the tree top forest canopy gliding along on a steel cable. A view once only seen by the many exotic birds of the indigenous forest. At each platform spend a few minutes relaxing as your guide enthusiastically explains the ecology of the forest around you, pointing out magnificent giant ferns and the many different exotic trees. An unusual experience which you are likely to remember forever. Recommended age groups 7 to 70 years. One of the many popular family activities you can enjoy on your backpacking holiday. An experience you may never repeat anywhere else.

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Knysna’s coastline offers visitors endless opportunites to explore its natural beauty. Brenton-on-Sea, Buffalo Bay, Bollard Bay on Leisure Isle, Coney Glenn and the beach and estuary at Noetzie provide swimming, fishing, surfing and sunbathing.

The Indian Ocean make for pleasant sea temperatures in the summer months. Tides can be strong though, and bathers should take care with strong currents at specific beaches.

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