Our top sights, highlights and exclusive tips
Once the bustling center of the wood industry, the charming town of Knysna now captivates travelers with its excellent hotels, restaurants and vibrant arts scene. Outdoor lovers will be enchanted by ancient forests, home to rare forest elephant and antelope, as well as wonderful beaches and a wild coastline featuring breathtaking seaside cliffs. Welcome to the most famous city on the Garden Route.
Featherbed Nature Reserve
Knysna Elephant Park
The Waterfront Knysna Quays
Mitchell's Brewery Knysna
Millwood House Museum
The Featherbed Nature Reserve is located on the western Knysna Head and accessible only by ferry. Absolute peace awaits as you enjoy a spectacular view of the Outeniqua Mountains and the wonderful Knysna Lagoon. Boat cruises and nature trails are activity highlights while visiting the reserve.
The Knysna Forest is an absolute paradise for nature lovers. The largest forested area in South Africa offers you jungle-like landscapes just off the famous Garden Route. Gaze at the majesty of 800-year-old Yellowwood and Cape chestnut trees as they tower above you. If lucky, you may come across one of the rare forest elephants or antelopes on your walk.
At Knysna Elephant Park, elephants are within touching distance: due to the constant nurture from their caregivers, the elephants are habituated to people and will happily eat from your hand. The park, which is dedicated to the protection of these nearly extinct animals, offers them space and care in the midst of breath-taking nature.
Two giant sandstone cliffs line the harbour entrance of the city, offering an imposing view of the lagoon and stunning surf of the Indian Ocean. The narrow lagoon entrance and pounding surf led the Royal Navy to once call this "driveway" the most dangerous in the world. The Western Head, which also hosts the Featherbed Nature Reserve, is only accessible by organized excursion.
The idyllic Waterfront at Knysna Quays is one of the most popular attractions in the area. The Quays offers a variety of shops and restaurants constructed around the harbor, with many restaurants offering stunning views overlooking the Knysna lagoon. Come here for unique souvenirs, wonderful food, or to enjoy a harbor cruise to the famous Knysna Heads.
Leisure Island is one of two island suburbs of Knysna and is surrounded by the waters of the Knysna Estuary. Here you will find beautiful beaches, the Steenbok Nature Reserve and amazing views of the Knysna Heads. Once a year, the island also transforms into "Treasure Isle," a two-day festival with local chefs, artisans and businesses.
Created to better satisfy loggers from the nearby forests, Mitchells Brewery is an icon in Knysna and South Africa. Their award-winning beers have been brewed on-site since 1983, making Mitchell's the oldest independent brewery in South Africa. Be sure to stop by and visit their restaurant and tasting room for a nightcap.
The charming Millwood House Museum is one of five buildings that make up the Knysna Museum. Once located in the small gold mining town of Millwood, the building was dismantled and relocated to Knysna once the mines were shut down. The timber industry is the main focus of the museum, though it also details Knysna’s involvement in the Anglo-Boer War and the life of the town’s founder, George Rex.
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