Discover Knysna on a honeymoon or romantic getaway to the scenic Garden Route – South Africa’s most popular tourist destination after Cape Town.
Knysna sits in a picturesque landscape overflowing with great natural beauty. With its large tidal estuary, soaring sandstone cliffs, unspoiled beaches, rich heritage and outstanding accommodation options, Knysna (pronounced nize-nuh) offers all the ingredients you need for a romantic getaway or honeymoon in South Africa.
The Garden Route is famous for its indigenous forests, freshwater lakes, wetlands, hidden coves and long and sweeping white- and golden-sand beaches.
This narrow coastal strip stretches for 185km (115mi) from Mossel Bay to Storms River and inland to the mountain peaks of the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma.
Attractions of this scenic route, include Knysna's lagoon, Plettenberg Bay and the Tsitsikamma National Park, where you can wander through dense indigenous forests past bubbling streams and stunning cascades to dramatic shoreline vistas.
Follow a choice of marked trails on foot or horseback through the ancient yellowwoods of Diepwalle Forest, looking out for emerald Knysna Loeries and brightly hued Narina Trogons.
Spot endangered blue duiker antelope on a hike through milkwood forests to cliffs and coastal caves on the 2km-long Bushbuck Trail.
See wild elephants on foot or by four-wheel drive on a sunrise or sunset safari at Botlierskop Private Game Reserve, near George.
Go surfing or swimming on the pristine and sweeping white-sand beaches of Buffels Bay Beach.
Paddle a kayak in the sheltered waters of the Knysna Lagoon and sunbathe on the white sands of Bollard Bay Beach on Leisure Isle.
Although Knysna Town has no beach of its own, a choice of great swimming and surfing beaches lie just a short drive away.
However, the lagoon itself offers sheltered swimming and good kayaking through the marine estuary where you may find a secluded beach accessible only by water.
(Leisure Isle) – Sunbathe on the soft white sands of this 270m-long beach that lies on southern shore of the small island of Leisure Isle.
Go swimming in the shallow clear waters and enjoy the Indian Ocean through the gap between The Heads. Bollard Bay Beach is easily located along Bayswater Drive. Note: High tide offers the best swimming conditions.
Leisure Isle is around 6km from the centre of Knysna, around 10 minutes by car.
Pick a spot to unwind on this long golden-sand beach that offers excellent conditions for surfing, kite surfing and windsurfing.
Bring your own food and drinks, as there are no facilities. Flanked by the lush green vegetation of Knysna National Lake Area, this wide beach is perfect for beachcombing, jogging and long walks to Buffels Bay, a distance of around 5km away.
Brenton Beach is around 16km from Knysna, a 20-minute drive.
This gorgeous golden-sand beach sits beneath grass-covered sand dunes and the charming town of Buffels Bay (also known as Buffalo Bay), which perches on a rocky outcrop jutting into the Indian Ocean.
The beach continues uninterrupted to the west for more than 12km until it merges with Sedgefield Beach at Kingfisher Creek – perfect for long walks and beachcombing.
The east side of Buffels Bay offers one of the safest swimming beaches along the Garden Route, while the west side offers good surfing. Buffels Bay Beach is located around 21km from Knysna, a 20-minute drive.
Unwind on the soft white sand of this 600m-long beach that lies surrounded by forest-covered hills facing a beautiful cove.
The region offers spectacular scenery and is renowned among locals for its spacious holiday homes, built in the style of medieval castles. Take your own food and drinks to this beach, as there are no facilities.
Noetzie Beach is around 10km east of Knysna, a 20-minute drive.
Knysna is the perfect spot for a break along the Garden Route and offers a good range of accommodation options to suit all budgets.
Try the luxurious Pezula Resort & Spa, which perches on a hillside surrounded by a golf course overlooking the ocean; the Rockery Nook, a stucco-and-stone beach house set in a sheltered cove facing the Indian Ocean
Pezula Resort & Spa
Location: Lagoon View Drive, Knysna
Prices: from AUD468 per room
Description: Surrounded by rugged cliffs, ancient forests and sheltered beaches, this luxury resort sits atop Knysna East Head cliffs, on the Garden Route coast, just a 40-minute flight from Cape Town. A choice of studio and villa suites are housed in detached villas, each with its own fireplace, balcony and spacious bathroom. Amenities include individual climate control, satellite television, a DVD player, electronic safe, direct telephone, complimentary Wifi connectivity and walk-in wardrobe. Facilities incl.: restaurant, bar, outdoor pool, horseback riding, mountain bicycles, tennis, spa and room service.
Or for a back-to-nature experience, the Phantom Forest Eco-Resort, which sits on a 137ha nature reserve surrounded by estuarine wetland and indigenous forest.
The best time to visit Knysna is from November to March when the average temperature is 24°C (75°F).
Knysna is pleasant year round, although there are rain showers throughout the year, most frequently between August and November.
February is the hottest month in Knysna with an average temperature of 22°C (72°F). July is the coldest at 15°C (60°F) and August the wettest month.
More about Knysna weather…
Knysna is located in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, around 55km west of the city of George, and 33km (20km) west of the town of Plettenberg Bay.
Knysna sits on either side of the Knysna River at the northern shore of a large estuary, known as the Knysna Lagoon. The estuary opens to the ocean after passing between two large headlands. The eastern head is developed, while the western head is a private nature reserve.
The most convenient route to Knysna is by air to George Airport (GRJ), formerly known as P.W. Botha Airport, located around 10km (6mi) southwest of the city cente, and 70km (43mi) west of Knysna. The nearest international airport is in Cape Town.
By road, Knysna is a 5-hour drive from Cape Town International Airport, a distance of around 475km (295mi). By air, it is a 55-minute flight from Cape Town Airport to George Airport, a 55-minute drive from Knysna.
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Latest update: Knysna Guide: 21 September, 2023