Knysna is a peaceful and idyllic spot along the Garden Route.
In its heyday, Knysna was the centre of South Africa’s timber industry. From here, locals transported yellowwood and stinkwood all over the country so it could be made into railway lines, houses and more. The timber industry has since died out and been replaced by tourism. However, the green trees that hem the town around the lagoon serve as a reminder of Knysna’s heritage. There are also a few specialist woodwork shops that make traditional furniture. You might spot some you like on your travels!
One of the biggest draws to Knysna is the bright blue lagoon. It’s exquisite and a perfect spot for sailing. Take a guided tour or hire a boat and explore at your own pace. When you get to dry land, go to Tsitsikamma Forest and listen to the monkeys chattering in the trees. Go walking and hiking through the hills and take in the astonishing scenery.
An attraction that’s not to be missed in Knysna is the Elephant Park. Since 1994, it’s been a home for abandoned, orphaned and abused young elephants. However, it wasn’t until 2003 that the owners opened their doors to the public. Some park staff hand-feed the youngest calves 40 litres of formula a day and sleep next to them at night. They go above and beyond to ensure that these animals are happy. Tour the park, feed the animals and take a guided nature walk with one to see them in their natural habitat.
In 2017, there was a huge wildfire in Knysna. It destroyed over 1,000 homes and left the wooded landscape charred and bare. The forest will take a while to recover, perhaps even decades. However, the tourist part of town was back up and running within a few weeks, offering a spectacular escape for travellers once again.
You won’t get a raw and untouched vibe in Knysna, but the town is inclusive and engaging with fantastic restaurants, bars and hotels. The town and the forest blend perfectly together to make a peaceful but exciting destination just waiting to be explored.
Plan your trip to Knysna today.