Knysna is one of the prettiest places you will visit in South Africa. Located approximately five hours drive from Cape Town, Knysna is on the Garden Route, about half way between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The closest airport is George.
Knysna is set on a beautiful lagoon with the sea on one side and the mountains on the other.
We are regular travellers to Knysna and stay with family in Belvidere, just outside of Knysna, but there are plenty of wonderful places to stay in and around Knysna. We would recommend bed & breakfast accommodation and there are lots of good quality places to choose from. Leisure Island is a pretty place to stay. On the Heads you will have spectacular views over Knysna or on Thesen Island or the Waterfront you are quite close to town. If you want to stay at Belvidere have a look at Belvidere Manor and cottages.
Our favourite things to do in Knysna:
·Knysna Elephant Park You will probably never get so close to an elephant as you will here. We patted them and fed them on our visit. The baby elephants are adorable.
·Monkey Land and Birds of Eden Combine a visit to both these places as they are next to each other – just beyond Plettenburg Bay. Wander through the forest of Monkeyland with a guide and you will be captivated by the cheeky monkeys most of which roam freely. Birds of Eden is no ordinary aviary. Follow the boardwalk through indigenous forest under the largest canopy in the world to see birds from Africa and the rest of the world.
·Take a drive to Plettenburg Bay and have lunch at The Lookout on the water.
·Take the tour to Featherbed Nature Reserve – we love this day out. You take a ferry across to the western shore of the lagoon, board four wheel drive vehicles and drive along sandy roads high up on the headland.Take the walk through the forest and along the edge of the sea – it’s wonderful. At the end of the walk a smorgasbord lunch was provided. Our tour was 4 hours or you can do a 3 hour tour without lunch.
·Take a walk around Thesen Island and have lunch at Ile de Pain
·Visit Knysna Heads for the fantastic views and have lunch at Cornuti or East Head Café at the bottom of the heads.
·Take a walk around Leisure Island, a very pretty residential area with picnic areas, beaches and lots of B&Bs.
·Visit the Waterfront and have lunch at 34 Degrees South.
·Have breakfast at Simola Hotel, Country Club & Spa – enjoy spectacular views.
·Visit Noetzie Beach, east of Knysna – a beautiful, pristine beach made all the more interesting by the holiday houses that are built to look like castles.
·Visit the Wild Oats Market at Sedgefield on Saturday mornings. We love to go early and have breakfast at the rustic tables under the trees. There is a delicious array of locally grown produce, locally made breads, jams, dips, cakes, etc. The cinnamon pancakes are fabulous. One of the best food markets we’ve been to anywhere in the world. Afterwards wander across to the Scarab market for local crafts.
·Take a walk around Belvidere Estate, visit Belvidere Manor and have lunch at The Bell pub. While in the area visit the old village of Belvidere with its historic church.
·Walk along the beach at Brenton-on-Sea at sunset. This beach is 7km long and we love its wildness and the natural setting.
·Have Sunday lunch at Pembreys, Brenton Rd, Belvidere, telephone 044 3860005. Simple, delicious and sophisticated.
·Have a picnic at Jubilee Creek in the Knysna Forest (Take the Rheenendal Rd west of Knysna, then the turnoff to Millwood and follow the signs.)
·Have afternoon tea at Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa
If you would like a safari experience in the Knysna area, we like the relatively small Botlierskop Private Game Reserve for the gorgeous setting, luxury tented accommodation, meals and ambience. We have also visited the Plettenburg Bay Game Reserve for a game drive (we have never stayed there). Again it is a small reserve and there can be no comparison with places like Kruger, Addo, Imfolozi or Hluhluwe.