Although parts of the Garden Route are, understandably, not pet-friendly – here and there you still find a scattering of pet-friendly places, things to do and outdoor havens.
Note: If you are unsure, please first ask because nature’s preservation should be everyone’s first priority in this gorgeous part of South Africa.
Here are the best pet-friendly activities in and around Knysna and the Garden Route proper:
#1 Walk Your Pooches in Leisure Isle
The lovely, unique Leisure Isle offers some pet-friendly spots dotted about the island. In fact, it is the popular choice among many locals when it comes to dog walks.
Well-behaved dogs can generally go without a leash – but if your furry friend is trickier to handle or not as friendly as most doggies, it is best to keep him leashed at all times.
Although there is no particular information on whether or not you can walk your cats around the island, if they are leashed and used to dogs, it should be fine for you to do so, as long as you’re careful with kitty!
Note: Just be sure to clean up after your pet(s) and don’t leave their poop lying around to mar the experience for others, especially residents.
Contact: 044 302 6597/044 302 6558/9, email@example.com
Address: Leisure Isle, Knysna, Western Cape, South Africa.
#2 Stroll Along Wilderness Beach
Sections of Wilderness Beach are dog-friendly… just enquire or check the signage beforehand to be sure because some areas are not suitable even for leashed dogs.
In the areas you can take them though, this beach makes for a beautiful outdoor experience for the whole family. It is one of the most freeing sandy beaches anywhere in South Africa so it’s well worth a visit.
Please abide by the rules, keep your pooches under control and pick up after them so dogs can continue to enjoy the designated dog-friendly parts of this beach.
Address: Wilderness Beach, Wilderness, Garden Route, Western Cape, South Africa.
#3 Navigate Steenbok Nature Reserve
Steenbok Nature Reserve – which covers 17 hectares of beautifully preserved natural landscape – is a paradise for dog-lovers, with many suitable places and trails to walk with your furry friend by your side.
In addition to its dog-friendliness, the reserve also offers a wheelchair-friendly path, boardwalks, indigenous gardens, play areas and much more for its visitors to enjoy.
Note: Dogs must be leashed by municipal law – and there are bags and bins for dog poop, so please pick up after your pooches.
Contact:+27 (083) 254 5092/044 384 1896, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Steenbok Nature Reserve, Knysna, Western Cape, South Africa.
#4 Visit Wild Oats Farmers’ Market
Come rain or shine, this excellent, award-winning market can be enjoyed every Saturday of the year in nearby Sedgefield.
It’s well worth the drive to enjoy all it has to offer – especially with such great goodies up for sale. Plus, it’s very much child- and pet-friendly, just so long as you keep your pets leashed at all times!
So go enjoy this beautiful market with your whole family – including your four-legged friends!
Contact: +27 (0) 44 883 1177, email@example.com
Address: Wild Oats Farmers’ Market, Sedgefield, Garden Route, Western Cape, South Africa.
#5 Walk from Brenton-on-Sea to Buffalo Bay with Your Fur Baby
This beautiful beach walk (about 5.5 km one way) takes you from Brenton-on-Sea, a coastal resort town 15 km west of Knysna, to Buffalo Bay. It is a scenic treat for all to enjoy as it offers a real taste of the Garden Route’s natural beauty.
Thankfully, it is also a relatively easy walk. This means that kids and pooches can join in on the fun too. (If you wish to enjoy the entire walk, it is apparently best to hike at low tide.)
So take your camera and enjoy a lovely leisurely beach walk in this beautiful part of the world.
Address: Brenton-on-Sea, Garden Route, Western Cape, South Africa.
#6 Check out the Margaret’s Viewpoint
Margaret’s Viewpoint – named after passionate Knysna conservationist, Margaret Addinall – is one of the most panoramic places around. Best of all, it offers glorious views of the Knysna Lagoon, Lake Brenton and Belvidere Estate.
Informative signs provide extra insights as you navigate to the viewpoint to soak up the scenery.
According to Visit Knysna, it is also a pet-friendly walk so you can take your leashed pooch along for this pretty outdoor adventure.
Address: Margaret’s Viewpoint, Knysna, Western Cape, South Africa.
#7 Explore Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market
Much like the Wild Oats Farmers’ Market, this Saturday market in Sedgefield is also a wonderful experience for the whole family, including your pets. They just need to be leashed and then you can all enjoy a stunning day out.
There are plenty of goods to browse or buy, everything from beautiful items, arts and crafts to food and drinks too.
This market is sure to delight everyone… and their pooch (or cat)!
Contact: +27 (083) 442 2213, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market, Paul Kruger Street, Sedgefield, Garden Route, Western Cape, South Africa.
#8 Hit the Beach at Bollard Bay
Leisure Isle’s secret beach is a treasure in every sense… Not only is Bollard Bay quite secluded and private but, particularly during off-season, it is highly popular among dog walkers.
This is one of the prettiest beaches around and it offers great views of the Knysna mouth. It also allows for safe swimming in the lagoon, making it especially suitable for kiddies.
Note: Just remember to clean up after your pet and show consideration to other visitors when visiting with your canine.
Address: Bollard Bay Beach, Leisure Isle, Knysna, Western Cape, South Africa.
#9 Visit Scarab Village Market
Yet another pet-friendly market in Sedgefield, Scarab Village Market is sure to thrill with its exotic flavour.
This Saturday market claims to boast the best authentic handmade craft anywhere in the Garden Route. What’s more, it also offers a unique market experience for all to enjoy.
Note: There is a playground and adequate parking to make things easier. This market runs every Saturday from 08:00 am – 13:00 pm.
Contact: +27 (044) 343 2455, email@example.com
Address: Scarab Village Market, Sedgefield, Garden Route, Western Cape, South Africa.
#10 Head to Harkerville Market
Once again, we have a market gem in Harkerville Market. If you fancy a short drive (it’s about 18-20 km outside Knysna), this vibrant market is the ideal pit stop, as it is situated midway between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
Like many of the other Saturday markets in the area, Harkerville is both child- and pet-friendly so the whole family (furry friends included!) can enjoy a fabulous time together.
There is plenty of offer – with everything from jewellery to crafts to food and drinks and much more – and the atmosphere is pleasant and fun so head over to Harkerville for a weekend treat!
Contact: +27 (084) 510 9939, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Harkerville Market, N2 between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route, Western Cape, South Africa.
These are just some of the fun activities you can enjoy with your pets near Knysna, in the beautiful Garden Route!