This is a brief travel guide and useful information about Knysna.
Knysna nestles on the banks of a beautiful lagoon in the heart of the Garden Route of South Africa. It is surrounded by a natural paradise of lush indigenous forests, tranquil lakes and golden beaches. With it's all year warm, Mediterranean climate, Knysna is the perfect 365 day holiday destination.
After being South Africa’s favourite town of the year for a few years in a row, it has now received international recognition for the gem it is - it was named as one of the Top 100 Destinations in the World and one of the Top 25 in Africa by the Trip Advisor, 2008 Travellers’ Choice Destinations Awards.
The Garden Route area is paradise for Golfers with Knysna being home to the Jack Nicklaus Simola Golf Estate, Pezula Golf Estate and Knysna Golf Course
The diner has a wonderful choice of restaurants, dining in elegant surroundings by candlelight or looking out over the Knysna Lagoon. There are intimate bistros or the opportunity to eat "al fresco", a popular activity due to Knysna's gentle climate and warm evenings. A host of coffee bars and pubs offer good wholesome "pub-grub" or South African fare as well as the locally brewed beer Mitchell’s Brewery, a legend in its own lifetime. Most restaurants also serve Knysna’s speciality: the Knysna Oyster which is bred and harvested in the lagoon and to which the town has even dedicated an annual festival in July. The Knysna Quays is a luxury waterfront development built on the famous Knysna estuary.
Knysna has a number of shopping centres, which provide for all a shopper's needs. There are supermarkets, boutiques, restaurants, coffee bars, pharmacies and a host of specialised shops. One centre is geared more towards the local arts and crafts and is housed in an up-graded historical building that was once a timber sawmill.
The Knysna Heads must be the most striking geological feature along the entire southern African coastline. The East and West Head flank a deep but potentially treacherous channel through which the sea pours in to flood the wide and breathtakingly pretty lagoon at the mouth of the Knysna River.
If you want to explore the night life then you have a choice of pubs, bars, music venues and a discotheque to discover. Another attraction: Mitchell’s Brewery, one of the few independent breweries in South Africa. Added to this Knysna is home to a host of wildlife species, like dolphins, seals and whales, as well as the Knysna seahorse and the brilliantly coloured Knysna Loerie.
From Knysna, other locations are accessible by minibus, taxi, or rental car; travel is thus fairly easy. It is about five hundred kilometers to Cape Town and around two hundred and fifty kilometers to Port Elizabeth.
Things you can do include:
• Go on a cruise boat to Featherbed Bay Nature Reserve or to the Knysna Heads, and enjoy a relaxing lunch, or romantic sundowners.
• Whale and Dolphin Watching - The Knysna coastline is home to one of the highest diversity of marine mammals in the world - including whales and dolphins. During certain times of the year, sightings of the following can be had: Southern right whale, humpback whale, Bryde's whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, orca, humpback dolphin.
• The Knysna Heads - go for a walk along the Heads and see the panoramic views of the town and lagoon from various view sites.
• Markets - There are many markets in the centre and on the outskirts of Knysna. Here you can buy anything from African Curios to clothes, shoes and jewellery.
• Beaches - There is no beach in Knysna itself, but the coast surrounding Knysna has some really beautiful places to visit for the day. Visit Brenton-on-Sea, Buffalo Bay, Bollard Bay on Leisure Isle, and the beach and estuary at Noetzie. Noetzie is famous because of the castles surrounding the beach that make it look like a scene from the medieval times.
• Canoeing - Many waterways in the area are restricted to non-motorised craft, giving ample opportunity for canoeing on the Knysna lagoon, Knysna River or Goukamma River.
• Abseiling - Knysna has awesome scenery and what better way to experience it then abseiling the cliffs at the Heads or through a waterfall in the Harkerville forest.
• Diving - Diving along the Knysna coastline is a great experience. Contact a local dive shop for information before going diving.
• Fishing - Knysna provides a wealth of opportunities for the keen fisherman: fly-fishing, rock and surf fishing, deep-sea fishing, bass and trout fishing.
• Hiking Trails - The Garden Route features some of the most spectacular hiking trails in the world, through forest, fynbos and along its pristine coastline. There are also many great walks you can do in the Knysna Forest.
• Horse Riding - Enjoy the Knysna forest on horseback; there are trails in the Harkerville area.
• Cycling and Mountain Biking - Knysna offers cyclists some great mountain bike trails. These cycle routes consist of a choice of difficulty grades.
• Sailing - With over 18 square kilometers of lagoon, and a tidal system of over 1.7 metres (five feet) Knysna draws sailors from far and wide who enjoy swapping stories at the third oldest yacht club in South Africa, with its most hospitable 'bar'.
• The Knysna Elephant Park is an excellent half day outing and allows you to see, touch and smell elephants really close up! Options include feeding, riding or walking these gentle giants.
EVENTS & FESTIVALS
Sedgefield Slow Festival
22 – 27 April
Set in the heart of abundant natural beauty, Sedgefield has for years remained poised for a social event that is a fusion of nature and the relaxed standard of life enjoyed by it's inhabitants. Blessed with sea, beaches, dunes, lakes, river and a mountainous skyline it begs for an outdoors event. The Slow Festival from Friday 22nd to Wednesday 27th April will launch a well balanced series of events to fit into the lifestyle of Africa's first official Slow Town.
While most people live by their watches, the Sedgefield Slow Festival will offer the time to enjoy, appreciate and savour. Follow the event developments and program on Twitter by following SlowFestival and on our website at www.slowfestival.co.za
Events for the Festival:
Slow Music Concert
• Slow food outlets incorporating all of Sedgefields eateries
• SWC Giant puppet parade
• Classic cars exhibit
• Flying Bunny Beach fling & Easter Egg hunt
• Dog Walk & Show
• Geo Oyster geocaching competition
• Cossack Horse Stunt show
• Pedal, Paddle and Pant (Walk, Run, Paddle, Mountain bike and Spinnathon)
• Off road Triathlon
• Sailing competition
• Bass Fishing Tournament
• Target Archery competition
• Croquet, Bowls and badminton competitions
• Photographic competition
• Art in the park exhibition
• Medieval dinner evening
• Black tie evening (fundraiser)
• Cigar & Whiskey evening
and much, much more...
Knysna Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival
27 April – 2 May
“The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras has become an institution after a decade on the LGBTI social calendar. To further build on this established brand, it was decided to add a mostly day-time Arts Festival to the programme as a need for it was identified” said Coenie Kukkuk, member of the Pink Loerie Organising Committee.
The Arts Festival will be running during the day from 11 am to 3 pm and the Mardi Gras will be concentrated in the evenings. Exciting performers will be invited to showcase their talents, an arts and crafts market will be open and a nationwide LGBTI visual art competition will be launched. As part of our new strategy we will also offer our visitors special packages on accommodation and travel to Knysna.”
Speed Festival & Knysna Hillclimb
13 – 22 May
The Knysna Speed Festival story began in 2009 with the running of the fi rst Knysna Hillclimb. From humble beginnings the event exploded in 2010 and, although it is a relatively new fi xture on the South African motorsport calendar, it has immediately positioned itself as one of the premier events on the South African motorsport scene.
Knysna Oyster Festival
1 – 10 July
The annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival is one of South Africa’s most popular festivals with huge appeal for sports lovers, families and those in search of a great party!
More than 100 exciting events ranging from cycling, running and adventure races to wine and whisky tastings and gala evenings, are expected to draw about 65 000 people to the beautiful Garden Route town over the 10 days of the festival.
The festival’s two main sporting events, the Pick n Pay Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon and the Pick n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour, will give participants the unique opportunity to run and cycle through the ancient indigenous forests of Knysna and experience the scenic beauty of the area.
There’s a great programme for kids too – the Pick n Pay Young Oyster Festival includes youth theatre, puppet shows, creative art workshops and cooking courses. The Knysna Sport School Sports Fair will give kids the opportunity to try their hand at a variety of sports, free of charge.
More information go to: www.oysterfestival.co.za
Highlights of Programme:
02.07. - Cycle Tour - Pick n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna
03.07. - Cycle Tour - Pick n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna
03.07. - Whisky and Jazz on the Paddle Cruiser
04.07. - The Wade Bales Wine Festival
05.07. - The Wade Bales Wine Festival
05.07. - Salomon Teatherbed Trail Run
06.07. - Pick n Pay Oyster & Wine Mardi Gras
09.07. - Pick n Pay Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon and Half Marathon
Knysna Rastafarian Earth Festival
22 July - 1 Aug
Come experience the peace and love of the Knysna Rastafarian Earth Festival this year.
Rasta Earth Festival is a celebration of His Majesty Haile-I Selassie-I's Earthday (Birthday) and Emancipation Day which takes place at Judah Square.
South Africa's close-knit Judah Square Rastafarian Community celebrates its way of life with the lively Rastafarian Earth Festival.
Enjoy a jam-packed programme of activities and events on Judah Square, including live reggae bands and colourful costumes.
For more information go to: http://www.rastaearthfestival.co.za/
Klein Karoo Klassique - Oudtshoorn
8-11 August 2013
Classical Music, Wine, Food & Art
For more information go to: http://www.klassique.co.za
Karoo to Coast Moutain Bike Challenge
The Pennypinchers Die Burger Karoo to Coast 100km Mountain Bike Challenge
"Magnificent Mountain Biking from Uniondale to Knysna via Prince Alfred Pass”
For more information go to: http://www.karootocoast.com/
Plett Festival – Plettenberg Bay
18 September to 26 September
Entertainment / Music Festivals
The festival officially kicks off on Saturday, 18 September, with the welcoming of the whales and the opening concert at The Whitehouse. Golfing enthusiasts can get their weekend off to a great start with the Golf Day at the immaculate Goose Valley Golf Course. More adventurous visitors can gear up for the adrenaline rush of the challenging Robberg Express multi-sport event. The Robberg Express includes a 40 km mountain biking course through the Harkerville Forest on gravel roads and single tracks through sections of indigenous forest, a 10 km trail run traversing million year-old rock formations on the Robberg Peninsula and a 10 km ocean paddle in the beautiful Plettenberg Bay. Participants can enter as individuals or relay teams of two or three persons. Athletes can also participate in individual disciplines. Event organisers have also added a shorter version the Robberg Raggie with half distances in each discipline.
The highlight of the weeklong festivities will most definitely be the Jazz Fusion Concert on Saturday.
7th Annual Pezula-Simola-Pinnacle Point-Oubaai Festival of Golf:
29 September to 02 October
• B&B accommodation at the Simola Country Hotel and Spa for 2 nights and 1 night at the luxury Hyatt Regency Oubaai Golf Resort and Spa.
• 2 x Dinners including a three course dinner at Simola and a buffet dinner at the Hyatt Regency Oubaai Golf Resort and Spa.
• 18 holes at Pezula, including shared golf cart and half-way snack
• 18 holes at Simola, including shared golf cart and half-way snack
• 18 holes at Oubaai, including shared golf cart
• 18 holes at Pinnacle Point, including shared golf cart
• Welcome gift & daily competitions and fantastic prizes
• All ground transfers between George Airport & Pezula, Pezula to the Simola Country Hotel and Spa, Simola Country Hotel to Pinnacle Point, Pinnacle Point to the Hyatt Regency Oubaai Golf Resort and Spa and from the Hyatt Regency Oubaai Golf Resort and Spa to George Airport.
For all the info - Go to: http://www.africanexperience.co.za/3357.html
Annual Beach Festival
Summer, Sports, Activities, Family Fun and of course the Beach are what makes South African summers so healthy!
After the success of our Sports Development Beach Soccer Tournament in December 2009, Knysna will be hosting it’s 3rd annual Beach Festival in December .
THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN 300
22 – 24 February 2013
The Rocky Mountain Garden Route 300 is taking place from the 22 – 24 February 2013.
The Garden Route 300 the ultimate ride in Knysna, to share with the like-minded MTB fanatics, the best rides in Knysna - without the hassle of lugging your kit around from truck to tent to truck. And – no queuing for food, or grubby loos ... Arrange your own accommodation or if you're a local, ride from home, but join the vibe! Do your warm-up ride from your B&B to the Cruise Café, lagoon–side race village, and the daily start each morning and enjoy a cup of coffee and a rusk, before the days' adventure begins. Click on the accommodation tab to find yourself suitable B&B accommodation, or take advantage of the limited offer Premium package which is all inclusive. Race entry fees includes registration dinner and all lunches - each with an awesome Knysna twist. Lauded as one of SA’s top Epic prep rides.
This is no ordinary race!
Entries close at 17h00 on 1 October 2012.
R300 per rider late entry fee. Late entries will not receive the race pack or the limited edition race kit. No exceptions.