Knysna – pronounced ‘nice-nah!’ – is the heart of the Garden Route, famous for its scenic beauty and mild Mediterranean climate all year round. Originally two separate hamlets of Melville and New Haven in the early 19th century, the two separate villages have since then grown into the favorite town of both South African and international visitors alike. Situated on the shores of the Knysna Lagoon, fed by several tidal rivers, with the famous Knysna Heads separating the Lagoon from the warm waters of the Indian Ocean it is easy to see why.
Spectacular views over the lagoon and town from the viewpoints at The Heads or Featherbed Nature Reserve – which can only be reached by boat – will create unforgettable memories to all who visit. The dramatic backdrop of the indigenous forest and the Outeniqua Mountains offer great options for the active outdoor type as well: from hikes in the forest looking for the elusive free-roaming Knysna Elephants, a visit to the by now long-abandoned gold mines, or just a visit to the old manor house which was the home of the original dignitaries of the area.
The forests in this area further offer great mountain biking trails, including the ones open to the Oyster Festival riders, or the different routes at Harkerville – proclaimed to be some of the most spectacular mountain biking trails South Africa has to offer. Harkerville is also home to the ‘Garden of Eden’, a short walk through the forest on a wooden platform, particularly good for those with push- or wheelchairs and/or limited time at hand.
Beaches in the greater Knysna include the one on Leisure Isle, especially popular with little people, or those who do not want to pushed over by the big waves at surfers’ paradise Buffalo Bay or nearby Brenton on Sea. The spectacular ‘castles’ on the Noetzie Beach or the rocky shores at the bottom of The Heads are a great alternative for those wanting to explore the coastline rather than laze on the beach.
For those interested in experiencing township life, Knysna is a great place to do so! This area probably has one of the friendliest communities including the biggest Rastafarian community in South Africa. The cultural, very popular and interactive tours will be a real eye-opener!
In recent years the Garden Route has also become a preferred destination among golfers with different capabilities and handicaps. The town itself boasts several world class golf courses including Pezula Golf Course, Simola Golf Course and the well established Knysna Golf Course situated on the shore of the lagoon.
For more information about other courses in the area and discounted rates for our guests, please see the Golf page or send us an email.