Knysna

Map of Knysna
The Heads
The Western Head
Knysna lagoon

Knysna, pearl of the scenic Garden Route, is situated between George and Plettenberg Bay. Perennially green thanks to a Mediterranean Maritime climate with rain falling throughout the year, Knysna is mantled by indigenous forests extending into the Tsitsikamma National Park area. Nestled between the impressive Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian ocean, the culinary capital of oysters and other delectable seafood is a compulsory stopover on every travelers’ itinerary. At the heart of Knysna is a lagoon protected from the sea by the monolithic sandstone "Heads" Webcam – best explored on board a catamaran or from along hiking paths in the Featherbed Nature Reserve. A hotspot for art and craft, as well as adventure activities such as tree canopy gliding, kloofing and abseiling, Knysna offers something to everybody.

The peculiarity of the origin of the place-name Knysna is commonly explained with a light-hearted joke of two German tourists travelling to Knysna, and upon reaching the lookout point on the eastern Knysna Head, the one says to the other: 'Nice, na?'. On a more serious note, Knysna is believed to be derived from a Khoi word for place of wood, or fern leaves, but most probable straight down or hard to reach - referring to the steep Knysna Heads.

Annual events

Knysna hosts a variety of events annually, which draw local and international visitors alike. Such events include the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival (late June/early July); the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras (end of April/beginning of May); Gastronomica lifestyle festival, which promotes healthy eating and organic principles(September); and the Rastafarian Earth Festival held at the end of July, celebrating Rastafarian religion, culture and lifestyle.

Knysna Oyster Festival

The Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, held annually in late June/early July, is the town's biggest event. The duration of the festival is ten days, first held in 1983. Oysters, the festival's namesake, are a large component, and approximately 200 000 are consumed over the 10-day period. Many sporting activities take place too, such as rugby, golf, bowls, squash, cycling and marathons. The Knysna Forest Marathon and Half Marathon, as well as the Rotary Cycle Tour draw many a sporting enthusiast to the town.

Get in

By car

Located in the middle of the Garden Route Knysna is easily accessible from Cape Town (about 500 km) and Port Elizabeth (about 270 km).

By bus

The major bus companies serve Knysna on their run from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. The Baz Bus stops here too. The main Minibus taxi stop is at the Shell petrol station near the tourist office. the Minibus taxi to George and Cape town 4/8 hours. Plettenberg Bay R30. 30 minutes.

By plane

The nearest airport is in George, while for international flights you have to go through Cape Town.

By train

There is no passenger train service to Kynsna

The old railway station is adjacent to the waterfront shopping and restaurant complex, a couple of blocks from the centre of town. Up until 2006 the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe ran to George via Wilderness and Sedgefield ; however, heavy rainfall and severe flooding in 2006 and again in 2007 caused major damage to the railway route resulting in this train service being suspended. The train was the last-remaining scheduled steam-hauled train service in South Africa, and a not-to-be-missed experience. The train line itself still provides opportunities for viewing and photography: the Kaaimans River bridge (the most-photographed railway bridge in the world) and the bridge over the Knysna lagoon.

There is a railway heritage museum in George, alongside the train station.

Get around

Walking around is the best option or rent a bicycle for longer distances. Except the minibuses there is no public transport so you have to take a taxi if you want.

Traffic can become extremely busy during the tourist high season and long queues in and out of Knysna are common.

See

Do

Events

Buy

Shops line along the Main St. and the Waterfront.

Eat

Many restaurants line the main street and the waterfront area.

There are so many good restaurants in and around Knysna that you will be spoilt for choice!!

Drink

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under R500
Mid-range R500 to R1000
Splurge Over R1000

Many guesthouses, hotels and B&Bs compete for the visitor in off-season, but in high season prices rise and places fill early so book ahead. There are also several nice options out of town (like Brenton-on-Sea and Buffalo Bay) for those with their own transport.


Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

The town has rolled out municipal wifi provided by Uninet. Access is restricted to 45 minutes per user per day.

Go next

Hike in the Kynsna forest or take a tour in the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe steam-train to Knysna. Other options are a day tour to Oudtshoorn or the Noetzie castle a few km north east of town.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, January 26, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.