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Located on the Western Cape’s exquisite garden route, Knysna is an oasis of serene beauty with a variety of natural habitats. With its shimmering lagoon, rare forest vegetation, the Knysna Heads and nearby beaches, Knysna is a highly desirable tourist destination and one of South Africa’s most special treasures.
Situated six kilometres from the centre of town, the Knysna Heads are large, rocky hills providing spectacular panoramas of the lagoon and the Indian Ocean. The lagoon itself is actually an estuary that provides fabulous opportunities for water sports, such as sailing, kayaking and water-skiing. Fishing is also very popular here.
Knysna Forest is one of the few areas in the Western Cape where natural forest vegetation has been perfectly preserved. It is home to some of the country’s last wild elephants, and the occasional traveller is privileged to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures through the foliage, though they tend to be shy and extremely elusive.
Knysna is easily navigated on foot, and wandering through its streets is a good way to absorb the town’s laid-back, rather bohemian atmosphere. The town and the vibrant waterfront area are permeated with clothing shops, souvenir/gift stores, arts and craft shops and markets, as well as a fabulous range of restaurants, coffee shops, pubs and bars. Oysters are farmed in the lagoon and are one of Knysna’s specialty dishes &endash; not to be missed!
Knysna, with its incredible natural diversity, offers visitors a plethora of exciting leisure activities. In addition to water sports on the lagoon, scuba diving, swimming and surfing are popular pastimes in the nearby ocean. Walking trails are widespread through the forest and around the Heads, and are permeated with indigenous flora and fauna, including a wealth of birdlife.
The Garden Route, featuring a variety of magical destinations, is a traveller’s paradise as it follows the picturesque coastline for 50kms either side of Knysna, dishing up gorgeous scenes of forests, gorges, inland lagoons and seascapes. Nearby Plettenberg Bay is a popular holiday resort with gorgeous beaches, a lively social scene, some fine restaurants and beautiful shops. The villages of Sedgefield, on the Swartvlei estuary, and Wilderness, located approximately 50kms away, are equally beguiling alternatives &endash; and popular locations for holiday homes for wealthy South Africans.
Knysna is located approximately 500kms northeast of Cape Town, and is accessible by car via the N2 highway. Daily buses travel from Cape Town and Port Elizabeth to Knysna and other destinations along the Garden Route. Rail access to Knysna is provided by Union Limited and Rovos Rail. Domestic airports are situated at Plettenberg Bay (30kms) and George (70kms), and there is an international airport at Cape Town (600kms away). Port elizabeth (155kms Northeast) has a busy airport with regular connections to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. By car Durban is more than a day’s drive North.