The bustling town of Knysna, beside its beautiful lagoon, is known for its art galleries, boutiques and fresh oysters. Take a boat cruise to the Featherbed Nature Reserve or sail through the dramatic Knysna Heads.


Knysna is an attractive little town in the heart of the Garden Route. It is surrounded by a glorious lagoon and backed by an indigenous forest with abundant yellowwood trees. The sea approach to Knysna through The Heads (two cliffs) was so hazardous in the 19th century that the town was never able to develop as a major port. It was only in the 20th century that it has grown as a resort town. Sometimes the little town can get too busy, but usually it’s a charming town full of restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques and art & craft galleries.

There are a range of Knysna lodges to choose from. There are boutique hotels on the nearby hills overlooking the Lagoon – such as Kanonkop House or Belvidere Manor. For waterside hotels at the Knysna Waterfront or on Thesen Island there is the Lofts Boutique Hotel and Turbine Hotel. You may even choose to stay at The Heads overlooking the Indian Ocean at the luxurious Conrad Pezula Hotel or on Leisure Island.

Knysna makes a great base for your Garden Route holiday. It is the most central of all the Garden Route towns. But it doesn’t have an immediate beach. (The nearest beach is about 15 mins drive away.)

Knysna Holiday Highlights

  • Drive up to The Heads, the sandstone buttressed cliffs at the mouth of thelagoon.
  • Explore Knysna Quays waterfront with its restaurants, boutiques & lovely lagoon views.
  • Oysters and champagne at Knysna Oyster Company
  • Take a catamaran yacht cruise to sail the lagoon and through The Heads
  • Romantic slow yacht cruise at sunset, perhaps even taking a turn at the helm…
  • Explore the indigenous Knysna forest with its walking trails & old gold rush village
  • Visit the Featherbed Nature Reserve by boat
  • Enjoy the nearby beaches of Brenton and Noetzie

Note on the Knysna Fire aftermath

In June 2017, Knysna suffered a devasting fire which destroyed many outlying houses and indigenous forests surrounding Knysna. The town has come back remarkably well and the Featherbed Nature Reserve has reopened. But you will still still the aftermath when you first drive towards the town.

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