This is our list of the top 8 activities for holidaymakers in Knysna, in no particular order…
1. Brunch at East Head Café
The food is fabulous and the location is probably one of the best in Knysna. Sit outside to maximise the superb views of the Knysna Heads. Watch the boats negotiate the famously dangerous passage through the sandstone heads and rocks from the ocean into the lagoon. I can recommend the eggs Benedict if you’re brunching and fish & chips if you’re lunching. More info
2. Coffee at ile de pain
île de païn is a café-style restaurant situated on Thesen Islands specialising in appetising breakfasts and lunches and authentic artisanal breads. Pop in at any time between 8am and 3pm for refreshments and be greeted by an impressive beverage selection including specialist coffees and teas and a delectable range of exquisite pastries created on site.
3. Picnic at Jubilee Creek
Stock up with pastries and sandwiches at ile de pain and head to the Knysna forest for a picnic. Jubilee Creek has a beautiful picnic site on the banks of Millwood Creek , a cool forest stream which meanders along the 1.8km trail to a pristine rock pool where you can swim. You will need a permit which is obtainable from the little office at the boom.
To get to Jubilee Creek, take the N2 from Knysna towards George. Turn right onto the Rheenendal Road and follow it for just under 13km to the Bibby’s Hoek turnoff to the right. This road becomes a gravel road and will take you to a four way crossing with a boom where you will obtain your permit. The picnic site is 10km from the boom and well sign-posted. More info
4. Ferry trip across the lagoon
Take a cruise across the lagoon on the famous John Benn or River Cat ferries. These scenic cruises depart from the Waterfront or in front of Cruise Café restaurant, and take cruisers across the estuary to the famous Heads and will give you a fantastic and very different view of Knysna including Thesen Islands, Leisure Island, Featherbed Nature Reserve, and the Eastern and Western Heads.
The more luxurious Paddle Cruiser offers an hour and a half lunch-time cruise or a two hour supper cruise. More info
5. Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market
The Wild Oats Farmer’s Market is a leisurely 15 minute drive from Knysna, and is open every Saturday from 7am to 11.30am in summer, and from 8am to 11:30am in winter. It’s absolutely one of the best farmers’ markets in the country and great for breakfast or for stocking up if you’re staying in self-catering accommodation and want fresh, organic, local produce. More info
6. Hit the beach!
Knysna has two beautiful beaches which this year received Blue Flag status – Brenton on Sea and Buffalo Bay (Buffels Baai) beaches have clean white sand and pristine dunes. You can swim at Buffalo Bay, which is in a SANParks Reserve, and there are life guards on duty during season. At low tide you can even cycle along the shore between the two beaches. The beach is popular with surfers and has a casual family-friendly restaurant. During high season (1 December to 31 January) dogs are only permitted before 9am and after 5pm daily in specially designated areas and must be on leashes.
7. Knysna Elephant Park
Knysna’s many animal sanctuaries are well worth a visit, especially if you are travelling with children. Possibly the most exciting and well known of these is the Knysna Elephant Park, which offers the opportunity to feed and get close up to these majestic animals, which once roamed free in the Knysna forests. Tours last between 45 mins and an hour and depart half hourly from 8.30am until 4.30pm. This makes a great morning or afternoon outing and there is a good restaurant on site. More info
8. Hike Featherbed
This pristine piece of paradise, a privately owned nature reserve and South African Heritage Site on the Western Head of Knysna only accessible by ferry, was tragically devastated by the Knysna fire of 7 June 2018. However, after months of rehabilitation the reserve is set to reopen with a new restaurant in November this year. Read more here.