I have been asked numerous times: “what is there to do in Knysna?” my answer would normally be: “well, what do you like to do?” Adventure is a personal choice and one that differs from person to person. Some of us are adrenalin junkies and like the great outdoors, some of us enjoy softer adventures such as walking, swimming or boat trips, and some of us just enjoy the luxury of sitting back in style and enjoying the great outdoors. Whatever your thrills you, here are some ideas to help you choose.
Let’s look at what adventures are available in or close to Knysna town, ones that don’t require much travelling and suit adventurers that have limited time and rather a tight schedule.
The Knysna Waterfront
An abundance of activities start and finish at the Knysna Waterfront, it is here that you can hop on a boat for a cruise on the Knysna estuary and enjoy picturesque views of the surrounding area. Take a sunset cruise, a powerboat thrill or a leisurely sail on a yacht, the choice is yours. There are a few options that offer a sail or powerboat adventure through the magnificent heads of Knysna and out into the wide-open spaces of the Indian Ocean. Here your ocean adventure will come alive, it is not unusual to encounter pods of dolphins, pelagic birds, inquisitive seals or even a passing whale. The Knysna Waterfront also hosts the beginning of a local food tour and the delicacies of hand-picked restaurants can be enjoyed as you savour the tastes of local cuisine while listening to stories shared by local guide Mandy from Knysna Hike and Bike
Thesen Island is situated in a unique position on the Knysna Estuary. Here you can park your car, stroll along the sidewalk and browse in modern lifestyle shops. It is home to an Ocean Sailing adventure tour operator offering trips that are perfect for the individual that enjoys a day out on the ocean or a simple sunset sail while sipping on bubbly and snacking on delicious treats. Nothing beats watching a sunset from a yacht! Thesen Island is also home to the Knysna sea horse, so head on over to the SANParks head office and take a peek at these adorable little creatures in the large holding tank there.
Knysna is rich in history and has numerous historical buildings each with its own story to tell. Read about the sailing industry, woodcutters and the miners at the turn of the 19th century. What shaped their lives and the history of this small coastal town? It’s at the old Gaol that you will find young Anita Best with her passion for history and culture, a modern-day storyteller who colours in the vague gaps in stories of times gone by. A definite must-do!!
This former island was, for many years named Paarden Island, due to the fact that it housed horses. These days it is a bustling community of homes and guest houses with some of the finest water’s edge fun to be had. For a good cool down take along your swimming gear and enjoy the shallow water. At low tide, you can simply stroll onto the sandy banks of the mesmerizing estuary without a care in the world. A perfect place for kids and water lovers, Leisure Isle is protected by the huge Heads of Knysna and offers good shelter from the wind.
The Knysna Heads
I regard these as the ‘calling card’ of Knysna. Once you position yourself on this rather large geological formation you will know why. With a 270-degree view of Knysna’s portal to the world, you will be bewitched by its beauty and understand why so many people call the town home. Ensure you have your camera ready! At the lower parking area of The Heads, you can stroll along the enormous rock formations and explore narrow paths to numerous viewpoints. This is the place where the infamous Paquita sailing ship sank in 1903, it was the first insurance scam in Knysna and these days it can be seen by many a snorkeler at slack tide. If this is your kind of adventure be sure to book an outing with Tony Cook Adventures. For the kids, the rock pools are a real treat as fascinating sea creatures can be found displaying themselves among the colourful anemones. For the more serious adventurer, this is the spot where many a spearfisherman has tried his hand at catching dinner.
Among its hills, Knysna boasts two fabulous golf courses perfect for the avid golfer. Dare I say, they are no easy ride, go on, give them a try! I’m sure that the 19th hole will provide a great place to cool down and share your stories of that tricky little hidden green. Both these golf courses have something special for the ladies if they themselves do not enjoy the mathematical game of odds. A spa, always a magical word, in my opinion, offers the relaxing pleasures of being pampered and then stepping back into the open air, feeling refreshed and revived.
Such a magical kingdom on a hidden beach. No battleship wars have been fought here and it remains a peaceful, somewhat isolated place which has now become famous worldwide because of its castles. The Noetzie Conservancy is dedicated to maintaining this pristine site for locals and visitors to enjoy. Holidaymakers and locals are attracted to its sandy shore; for a few hours of sun-seeking, birdwatching, canoeing and hiking or just to satisfy their curiosity and see the castles for themselves.
Exploring Knysna can be a leisurely thrill as many sights and sounds will attract you immediately, but hidden in the township of Knysna you can experience a warm culture with colourful people, a tour with Emzini of the township is celebrated with one on one interaction, music and food. Unknown to most, Knysna’s township has some of the best sunset views in the town and why not enjoy them while sharing a warm meal among its heart-warming residents.
So, before you leave be sure to explore Knysna Town and all it has to offer; you’ll never want to leave again.
Next up, the surrounding areas of Knysna and things you never knew.