What to see in South Africa

Knysna

Tourist attractions Knysna

An unmissable stop on South Africa’s spectacular Garden Route, Knysna is located in the Western Cape region. A natural paradise of verdant forests, golden beaches and turquoise lagoons, vacations to Knysna are popular with both local and international tourists. A haven for outdoor pursuits, the city’s modestly sized population and rich natural surroundings make it a peaceful destination, where you can relax, pursue your sporting passions and immerse yourself in the pristine landscapes of coastal South Africa

Famed for its excellent seafood restaurants and fresh oysters, a trip to Knysna is often included as part of a classic tour of the Garden Route. Nestled between the warm Indian Ocean and the dramatic Outeniqua Mountains, the city offers activities and sights to suit all tastes. Cruise on a catamaran across the lagoon, go shopping for arts and crafts, go kloofing in the canyons, follow nature trails, join in a cycling event or simply take in the views with a glass of local wine from a waterfront bar! Knysna is also much-loved by golfing enthusiasts, with several golf courses within easy reach of the city. Nearby, the old gold mines of Millwood offer an insight into the city’s heritage, whilst protected nature reserves, such as Featherbed and Pledge, keep the most spectacular landscapes pristine and untouched by human interference. 

If you visit Knysna, be sure to check in with the city’s thriving cultural calendar. From oyster and gastronomic festivals to Mardi Gras and speed racing events, there’s always something happening in Knysna. Furthermore, with mild winters and warm summers, the best time to travel to Knysna is at any time of year! So, if you’re planning a Garden Route tour, don’t forget to spend some time in this beautiful city.

Things to see in Knysna

One of the most famous natural attractions in Knysna is its vast indigenous forests. The largest forest complex in the country, Knysna Forest covers around 568 square kilometers. A backbone of the incredible Garden Route, visiting the forest is one of the best things to do in Knysna if you long to reconnect with nature. Ancient trees, exotic ferns and a dense canopy of milkwood create an impressive natural spectacle, best enjoyed by following one of the several hiking trails that weave through the forest. Furthermore, Knysna Forest plays host to an array of unique bird and animal species, including the elusive Knysna lourie and possibly elephants, although sightings are extremely rare. 

If you do want to see elephants during your trip, Knysna Elephant Park is one of the most exciting places to visit! Situated halfway between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, this sanctuary is dedicated to the conservation of African elephants. Many of the elephants here are abandoned orphans, rescued from other game reserves in South Africa. It’s considered an unmissable place to visit due to the fact that the elephants at the sanctuary are very familiar with humans, allowing visitors to get up close to the wildlife!

For altogether different landscapes, one of the best places to visit in Knysna is Featherbed Nature Reserve. Situated on the western headland of the dramatic ‘Heads’ of Knysna, the reserve can be accessed by ferry from Knysna port. Featherbed is a private reserve and visitor numbers are limited in order to cause the least possible impact on the spectacular coastal ecosystem. Highlights include the views from the top of the headland and the charming outdoor restaurant

To delve deeper into the heritage of this part of South Africa, a trip to the Millwood Gold Fields is sure to be a highlight of any vacation to Knysna. Long since abandoned, the old mine is tucked away in the forests of Knysna and was the site of one of the first gold rushes in South Africa. Nowadays, visitors can view the old mining buildings, like a ghost town frozen in time, and learn more about the events that took place here since the middle of the 19th-century. 

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