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Most visitors to central Knysna think they would love to live here as it is the closest thing to a seaside paradise. Regularly voted the cleanest town in South Africa, Knysna is known as the Jewel of the Garden Route. The Garden Route is an enchanting coastal region and one of the country’s greatest attractions.
The mini hustle and bustle of central Knysna is that of a townsfolk eager to provide service excellence to the throng of regular visitors. People are attracted to Knysna’s natural settings, surrounded by an estuary, forests, lakes and the impressive sandstone cliffs, known as the Heads, on either end of the river mouth. The town itself is upbeat and vibrant with elegant shopping malls, old stone churches, chic restaurants and modern marinas.
Knysna experiences mild weather year round and can be visited anytime, however, the highlight in winter is the Knysna Oyster Festival, forest marathon and whale watching while summer is the best time to explore the forests and enjoy the unspoiled beaches.
Top 10 reasons to visit Central Knysna
1. Retail shopping in Knysna includes the airy Knysna Mall, Woodmill Lane, the Waterfront Knysna Quays and Thesen Harbour Town, enough to leave the hardiest of shoppers exhausted!
2. Enjoy a day on the beach at Bollard Bay on Leisure Isle or at Brenton on Sea where the waves are a lot more challenging.
3. Take a champagne cruise on a yacht along the lagoon and out via the Heads into the Indian Ocean.
4. The Knysna Museum is located in the old gaol and has some fascinating items on display. An entire room is dedicated to the Titanic, the sinking thereof and the personalities aboard.
5. Hike through the forests to appreciate the massive yellowwoods and bird life, including the colourful Knysna Turaco and shy Narina Trogon. Look out for the well-camouflaged Knysna Dwarf Chameleon along the way.
6. The Knysna Elephant Park gives visitors the opportunity to ride on the back of these gentle beasts.
7. Visit the Goukamma Nature Reserve for a quiet, pleasant walk on untouched beaches and along sandstone cliffs and dune forests. The venomous puff adder is regularly seen basking on the dunes.
8. Knysna has a cornucopia of golf courses, some world class such as Simola, a Jack Nicklaus signature course, the 5-star rated Pezula Championship Course and nearby George has 3 stunning courses at Fancourt, 2 designed by Gary Player.
9. Knysna hosts the annual Knysna Oyster Festival, the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras & Arts Festival, the Knysna Timber Festival and flower and arts festivals throughout the year.
10. A drive up the eastern Head to the viewpoint at Coney Glen at sundown is a sight rarely forgotten.
The nearest airport is George Airport, 70km outside of Knysna. Several car rental agencies are based in Knysna and at George airport , or you could order a rental online. There are a number of metered taxi companies in Knysna. Shuttle service operators transport visitors between George Airport and Knysna.
Did you know?
Knysna is renowned for the unique and quality products created here from indigenous yellowwood and stinkwood timber. Crafters use the wood to produce works of art and buying these products are well worth the effort to ship back home.
The rare seahorse unique to Knysna’s estuaries is a truly strange marine animal. It doesn’t have teeth nor does it have a stomach yet its diet includes shrimp and small crustaceans. The males carry the babies during the gestation period.
For a more down to earth experience there are guest houses. Less expensive than hotels, they offer a more homey environment, as well as more privacy. Converted from a private house it’s a much gentler environment and for those with furry friends, there are also pet friendly options. They are usually well situated with shops and places of interest nearby. Being so small it offers a much more personal and intimate attention to it’s upkeep, leaving you with a more polished and homely experience.