September 24

Top Things To Do in Knysna

September 24, 2023

Get ready to discover the untamed secrets of Knysna, a dazzling jewel of a seaside town found along the enchanting Garden Route in South Africa. As your trusted travel companion, let us be your guide as we uncover the top things to do in Knysna, a place renowned for its natural beauty and exciting experiences! 

Tourists appreciating the beautiful view of knysna

Spectacular vistas around every turn

1. Enjoy a Leisurely Lagoon Cruise

The Knysna Lagoon, a pristine estuary cradled by lush forests, unfolds across an expanse of approximately 16km2. Here, you can enjoy a myriad of recreational activities, such as kayaking, fishing, and birdwatching. However, if there's one experience that truly stands above the rest, it's a leisurely lagoon cruise.

As you embark on an unforgettable journey across the mystical Knysna Lagoon, allow yourself to be awestruck by the legendary Knysna Heads, guardians of nature that tower proudly at the lagoon's entrance. While aboard, keep your senses keen and your gaze steady, for playful dolphins often grace travellers with their gleeful presence.

Different sized boats on the Knysna Lagoon

Enjoy a spellbinding cruise during the day or at sunset, Image Credit: Magic Lagoon Charters

2. Savour the View from the Knysna Heads

One of the incredible things to do in Knysna is to indulge in the breathtaking view from the Knysna Heads. Creating a narrow channel, the Knysna Heads are a pair of imposing sandstone cliffs that guard the entrance to the Knysna Lagoon. Here, you'll witness the dramatic collision of the ocean's might with the lagoon's calm waters.

As you gaze upon this stunning panorama, imagine the rich history and maritime tales that have unfolded in these very waters. Moreover, take a leisurely stroll along the paths, absorbing the salty breeze and embracing the pristine ambience. This is where nature's power and beauty converge in perfect harmony.

Knysna Heads and lagoon

Many a ship met their ruin attempting to sail through the infamous Knysna Heads, Image Credit: Magic Lagoon Charters

3. Sample Oysters and Seafood

When it comes to the best things to do in Knysna, we absolutely insist you don't skip the chance to dive into its world-famous oysters! The lagoon's harmonious blend of fresh and saltwater creates an otherworldly habitat where oysters triumph in all their splendour. But the culinary scene extends far beyond these delectable molluscs...

Savour mouthwatering seafood dishes crafted with the freshest locally sourced ingredients. Immerse yourself in the flavours of the ocean and let your taste buds revel in the coastal decadence that defines Knysna's gastronomy. Trust us when we say you'll find it hard to find better seafood anywhere else!

Oysters with lemon wedges

Experience the finest flavours Knysna oysters have to offer, Image Credit: Ocean Sailing Charters

4. Visit Featherbed Private Nature Reserve

Spanning an expansive 150 hectares, the Featherbed Private Nature Reserve is a flourishing sanctuary, encompassing the Western Head of Knysna and proudly standing as one of South Africa's most treasured Natural Heritage Sites.

This captivating reserve offers an escape into Knysna's dreamy landscape. Traverse through lush forests, stand in awe of dramatic cliffs, and soak in the panoramic vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. From exploring ancient sea caves and relaxing on secluded beaches to uncovering rich biodiversity and unique ecosystems, every step within the reserve uncovers a new facet of Knysna's natural beauty.

Wooden walkway descending to a lagoon cove

The privately-owned Featherbed Nature Reserve is a pristine natural paradise, Image Credit: Featherbed Company

5. Explore Thesen Island

Thesen Island is a prime attraction for the best things to do in Knysna. It's a captivating enclave that effortlessly blends charm, creativity, and coastal allure. It's where dreams take shape, and the essence of Knysna's vibrant spirit comes alive, inviting you to create lasting memories.

Explore its quaint streets, lined with a delightful mix of shops, art galleries, and cosy cafés. Discover local artisans and craftsmen who bring their creative passions to life. Indulge in a leisurely shopping spree, finding unique treasures and one-of-a-kind souvenirs. And stroll along its waterfront, basking in the idyllic coastal setting that surrounds you.

Couple walking over one of the island's arched bridges

The Thesen Islands comprise 19 man-made islands that are linked by bridges that arch over the waterways

6. Embark on Kayaking and SUP Adventures

Amongst the top things to do in Knysna is to embark on a memorable kayaking adventure through pristine channels and hidden coves. As you explore, each stroke of the paddle reveals the captivating beauty of Knysna, treating your senses with its picturesque scenery.

If you crave a different kind of thrill, stand tall on a paddleboard and let the gentle sway beneath your feet excite you. Glide effortlessly across the lagoon's mirror-like surface, guided by your paddle's rhythmic motion. Take a moment to absorb the serenity of the water and the striking coastal landscape surrounding you.

Friends standup paddling in the channels

Kayaking and SUP are great ways to explore and experience the wonders of Knysna, Image Credit: Ocean Odyssey

7. Go on a Whale Watching Tour

Prepare to be enchanted by the magnificent spectacle of Knysna's close encounters with humpback whales. From May to December, these majestic creatures grace the coast and bay of Knysna, delighting lucky onlookers with their playful antics.

If you find yourself visiting during the whale season, consider yourself truly blessed! But the wonders of Knysna's marine world extend beyond humpback whales. Dolphin sightings and encounters with Bryde's whales are not uncommon during boat tours and cruises throughout the year.

Aerial view of a whale

Add boat-based whale-watching tours and marine eco-tours to your itinerary in Knysna, Image Credit: Ocean Sailing Charters

Knysna is Calling Your Name

Are you ready to embrace the captivating charm of Knysna? From lagoon cruises and kayaking with dolphins to sampling the world's tastiest oysters and seafood platters, this charismatic town provides a bevvy of fun escapades!

Chat to our Travel Experts and add start planning your ultimate Garden Route adventure!

Feature Image: aha Rex Hotel

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About the author 

Michelle Welvering

Growing up, Michelle always wanted to become a world-renowned artist, a kickboxing-champion and an eccentric explorer – aka a Kickboxing Exploring Artist! After pursuing an education in Fine Arts and opening her own Kickboxing gym in Pretoria, an unexpected twist led her to a six-year stint as a travel consultant in South African tourism. She believes that all things happen for a reason and, driven by adventure, she was eager to find a more “wild” and cultural space to call home. This led her to wander the Western Cape coastline, fall in love with the city of Cape Town and, of course, her workplace, Rhino Africa.

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