Best things to do in Knysna
Find out more about those top places in Knysna
Nestled on the turquoise waters of a tidal estuary, Knysna is rightly the most famous town on South Africa’s verdant Garden Route. The town is one of South Africa’s most liberal destinations with an LGBT friendly atmosphere, a stellar record for environmentalism, a burgeoning organic restaurant scene and a clutch of top class microbreweries. Beyond Knysna itself, the star attraction is the spectacular tidal lagoon, which was once stated to be the most dangerous harbor in the world by the Royal Navy due to the dramatic cliffs that guard its entrance. While a devastating forest fire ravaged Knysna in 2017, the town has quickly bounced back and remains one of South Africa’s hidden gems.
The Garden Route National Park stretches all along the Cape coast encompassing a variety of remarkable landscapes. At Knysna the park covers a vast swathe of millennia old giant Outeniqua Yellowwoods that can be explored from the canopy thanks to a series of breathtaking viewing platforms that let you walk amongst the treetops. On tours of these magical environments expert national park guides will provide fascinating information on the region’s unique ecology.
Whale watching tours from Knysna are one of the Garden Coast’s most thrilling experiences. Every summer southern right and humpback whales migrate from the seas around Antarctica to mate and calve in the tranquil waters of the Indian Ocean giving you the opportunity to see one of the natural world’s greatest wonders up close. Tours start by moving through the iconic Knysna Lagoon before pushing towards the whale nursery grounds.
Lying just north of Knysna, Addo National Park is one of Africa’s greatest conservation stories. When the park was founded in 1931 to protect the near-extinct cape elephants there were barely a handful left in the wild but now over 600 roam the savannah and acacia forests of Addo. For the best experience, guided tours are recommended as knowledgeable national park rangers offer fascinating information on the comeback of the region’s elephants.
Protecting the tranquil waters of the Knysna Lagoon from the roaring swell of the Indian Ocean is the iconic sandstone Heads. Boat tours of the lagoon let you marvel at the immense scale of these remarkable geological features while allowing you to get close to the area’s spectacular birdlife.