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Knysna Travel Essentials


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Ideal duration: 3-5 days

Best Time: August to October (spring) Read More

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"The South African Paradise"

Knysna Tourism

Knysna, located along the Garden Route in South Africa, is known as the "jewel of the Garden Route." Located in the Western Cape area of South Africa, it is famous for its oysters, wooden furniture, beautiful beaches, and lush forests. These landscapes offer endless adventure opportunities like tree canopy gliding, kloofing, abseiling, boating, and hiking. Visitors can explore the stunning Knysna Lagoon where the river meets the sea.

Knysna is far from commercial; it's a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of urban noise and pollution. Nature lovers can enjoy the Featherbed Nature Reserve and the opportunity to meet elephants at Knysna Elephant Park. The town offers world-class golf courses like Pezula, Simola, and Knysna Golf Courses.

Must Know Before You Travel to Knysna

  • Local Transports: Walking or renting a bicycle is ideal for getting around, and taxis are available besides minibuses for public transport options.
  • Car Rental: Choose between self-driven or with a driver from well-known companies like Europcar, Avis, and Budget (Fares start at R334 for a standard car).
  • Currency Exchange: There are limited options in Knysna with Travelex, Tower Bureau de Change, and ATMs as the best options. Consider changing cash in major cities before visiting.
  • Kind of Travellers: Knysna is popular among seafood lovers and beach vacationers.
  • Pre-Booking: Make advance reservations if visiting during the busy season (December to February).
  • Festival: The Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, held annually in late June/early July, is the town's biggest event. Consider planning your trip around it.
  • Knysna Lagoon: Visitors should explore Knysna Lagoon by boat - kayak, SUP, or sunset cruise. The activity can be arranged through tour operators or accommodation services.
  • Knysna Forest: Knysna Forest can be explored through the Garden of Eden Forest Walk with a small entrance fee of around R20.
  • Drinking Water: Tap water is safe to drink.
  • Mobile Network: MTN, Telkom, and Vodacom have good networks in all areas of Knysna.

Top Hotels In Knysna

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Shopping in Knysna

At Knysna though you won't find international brands all around, you will definitely find many lively shopping areas. Places like Woodmill Lane and Waterfront Knysna Quays are top destinations to shop, with various boutiques, jewellery and gift shops throughout for that perfect Knysna souvenir! Also, the Wild Oats Farmers' Makret is one of the most popular farmers' markets in the country!

Nightlife in Knysna

Since Knysna is a quiet and laid back place, there are hardly any dedicated nightclubs. Many restaurants have their own bar but if you're looking for a proper club, you will be disappointed.

History of Knysna

The European settles first arrived during the 18th century. George Rex was a British entrepreneur who is actually credited as being the founder of Knysna. He acquired the previously established European farm of Melkhoutkraal, and later to the farm Welbedacht which he then renamed Eastford. 80 acres of Eastford was donated to the Colonial Government where the town of Melville was established. After the settlements in Knysna grew slowly, it became a Magisterial Division in 1858. Soon after when the Thesen family came to settle here, their interest in commerce and sailing combined to make Knysna a major hub for timber export. Timber export was one of the main reasons for growth of Knysna, especially in the 1880s. Since the onset of the 20th century, Knysna has grown to become a very popular tourist destination in the Western Cape.

Best Time to Visit Knysna

How to Reach Knysna

How to Reach Overview

To reach Knysna, travellers can fly to George Airport for domestic trips and drive for an additional hour to reach the city. For international flights, landing at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and connecting to George Airport is possible.
Knysna is also well-connected to Cape Town and Port Elizabeth by the N2 national highway, taking around 5 to 6 hours and 3 hours, respectively. Buses from major companies also provide transportation between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

How to reach Knysna by flight

George Airport is the closest to Knysna, about 70 kilometres away. For domestic travellers, it connects to major cities like Bloemfontein, Cape Town, and Johannesburg with carriers like FlySafair, AirLink, and CemAir.

International visitors can fly to Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo International Airport and then take a connecting flight to George Airport. Another alternative is to fly to Cape Town International Airport which is around 480 kilometres from Knysna and cover the rest of the distance by road in 5 hours.

Flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town can be booked through Skyscanner.

How to reach Knysna by road

Knysna is well-connected by road to major cities in South Africa. The N2 national highway connects Knysna to Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. From Cape Town, it is approximately 500 kilometres (310 miles) away and takes around 5 to 6 hours by car. Port Elizabeth is about 260 kilometres (161 miles) away and takes around 3 hours by car.

How to reach Knysna by train

Knysna hasn't has had a railways station since 2006. Major flooding completely destroyed the railways and since then the nearest train station is in George

How to reach Knysna by bus

Knysna is decently connected by bus. Many major bus companies like Intercape and TransLux, as well as the backpacker's favourite Baz Bus.

Local transport in Knysna

Within Knysna, the best way to get around is either on foot or by renting a bicycle. To explore the Garden Route you can take the public minibus or rent a cab. However the best way to explore the entire region is renting your own car. Do remember that if you're going during peak season (December to early February), traffic can get fairly annoying.

Knysna Photos

Knysna, South-Africa
Steenbok Nature Reserve
Knysna town as viewed from Knysna Quays (waterfront)
A picture of the Knysna Waterfront

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FAQs on Knysna

What are the places near Knysna?

The top places near to Knysna are Cape town which is 426 km from Knysna, Johannesburg which is located 994 km from Knysna, Durban which is located 884 km from Knysna, Pretoria which is located 1048 km from Knysna, Port elizabeth which is located 231 km from Knysna

What are the things to do in Knysna?

The top things to do in Knysna are Brenton on Sea, Garden Route, Buffalo Bay (Buffelsbai), Featherbed Nature Reserve, Prince Alfred Pass, Wild Oats Community Farmers Market. You can see all the places to visit in Knysna here

What are the top hotels in Knysna?

There are 484 in Knysna which can be booked through Holidify. The most popular hotels in Knysna are Beacon House, Guinea Fowl Loft, Collection Luxury Accomodation Simola House, Alkira Lodge, Blue Ocean Villa, At Leisure Apartment. You can see all the hotels in Knysna here

What is the local food in Knysna?

Quite obviously, Knysna is best known for it's sea food, and also it's locally grown poultry and farm products. The best way for you to sample the local food is the Wild Oats Farmers' Market in Sedgefield. It is the single best place for you to acquaint yourself with all the brilliant local delicacies, while educating yourself on the local cuisine. Don't forget to eat the various dishes of Oysters! There are many restaurants like the Freshline Fisheries, Cafe Z, Caffe Mario and Mon Petit Pain are some places you should check out!
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What is the best time to visit Knysna?

During this time, the temperatures are fairly pleasant and it's a good time to go out on hikes. There are going to be one or two rainy days in a week, so carry an umbrella or raincoats just in case. This is also the best time for whale watching, as the Southern Right whales are headed to the southern waters for breeding. The summer season that follows becomes very hectic, as the schools have holidays and there is a lot of rush.
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