Knysna heads and outenniqua choo choo train -

"People, Beauty and Mystery" is what comes to mind when describing Knysna. The town nestles between the impressive Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean, with the world-renowned forests encircling it like a protective mantle. At the heart of Knysna is the 85 acres lagoon protected from the sea by the monolithic sandstone "Heads" - silent sentinels down the centuries of the rich history of this unique part of "paradise on earth".

Knysna, the ideal base from which to explore the Garden Route, offers visitors an unforgettable holiday - for everyone from the very adventurous to those who prefer to relax in the sun, stroll through the cool forests or take scenic day drives.

Knysna lies at the heart of the scenic Garden Route, on the N2 between Cape Town (380 miles) and Port Elizabeth (80 miles). Surrounded by a vast lagoon, the Indian Ocean, a range of mountains and ancient indigenous forests, it is a natural wonderland offering unique and varied outdoor experiences for nature and adventure lovers from hiking, mountain biking, bungee jumping, kite surfing and abseiling to fishing and bird and whale watching.

The cosmopolitan sea-side town of Knysna has an abundance of upmarket restaurants, coffee bars, night clubs, shops and boutiques.

The local speciality is the famous Knysna oyster to which tribute is paid annually at the Knysna Oyster Festival. Two other festivals, the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Gastronomica are highlights of the local annual events calendar.

Knysna's natural beauty and vibrant community inspire a unique creativity in artists - both local and international - making it the art capital of the region, with various rambles and craft routes opening up a fascinating world of design, art and culture.

Knysna is close to Plettenberg Bay (known for its boutique clothing shops), and Outdshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world and home to the fascinating Cango Caves.

Knysna is a shopper´s paradise.

 boutique in Knysna - www.classicencounters.comVibrant and abuzz with creativity and energy, it is a place where old and new talented artists mix with new age hippies and Rastafarians. A visit to the Knysna Quays is a must - a Waterfront Development that boasts fine vintage wine, fresh seafood, curios and magical indoor market, guaranteed to provide that extra special gift. Here you can sip sundowners whilst enjoying breath-taking sunsets, or take a leisurely lagoon cruise.

Wooden Furniture is a heritage of Knys Timer of Knysna - www.classicencounters.comna´s Timber industry.

Knysna´s fine quality handcrafted furniture is famous the world over, made from carefully selected indigenous timber, using traditional joining methods which has become highly sought after collectors items, as are the famous birds created from wood - often used unconsciously as ambassadors for promoting Knysna´s timber industry.

 Golf at Pezula Knysna -
What better way to spend a day than on a golf course!
The Knysna area offer numerous course and country club options, suitable for any level of golfing enthusiast, and more courses are in the process of being developed.

Knysna hosted the Woman´s World Cup of Golf in 2005.

 dolphins -

Whale season.
The Garden Route coastline is home to one of the highest diversity of marine mammals in the world - including whales and dolphins.

During certain times of the year, sightings of the following can be had: Southern Right Whale, Humpback Whale, Bryde´s Whale, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin, Orca, Humpback Dolphin. The Knysna Heads as well as Brenton on Sea provide a wonderful opportunity for land-based whale watching during whale season (June to November), or take a boat-trip to experience a closer encounter.

Knysna is home to many artists, many of whom have dropped out of the fast lane of the cities to enjoy the gentle life in the Outeniqua mountains.
 knysna art gallery - www.classicencounters.comTake a drive along the Rheenendal Ramble and visit resident artists at work.

Head off towards Plett and pop in at the numerous farm and craft stalls along the way. Pick up a Timber Route map and explore the various timber merchants and furniture craftsmen found in our area. Book a Township Tour and experience the cultural diversity that Knysna has to offer, including the largest Rastafarian Community in Southern Africa.


Jan 72.7 57.4
Feb 73.3 57.9
Mar 71.6 56.5
Apr 69.6 54.5
May 66.5 51.3
Jun 62.8 48.0
Jul 61.8 46.8
Aug 63.2 47.0
Sep 64.6 48.4
Oct 65.9 50.2
Nov 68.1 52.9
Dec 70.6 55.4

• Knysna nestles on the banks of an 15 mile estuary where the Knysna River meets the tides of the Indian Ocean.

• The lagoon is home to the unique Knysna seahorse, the exquisite Pansy shell and at least 200 species of fish.

• Humpback and Southern Right whales frolic along these coastal waters from May to September, whilst dolphins are year-round residents.

• The indigenous forests form the largest closed canopy forest in Southern Africa and are home to the colorful Knysna loerie and narina trogon.

• Knysna is also home to the only forest elephant in South Africa.

• Fynbos vegetation contributes 8,000 plant species to the Cape floral kingdom.

• The town of Knysna, in the heart of the Garden Route, is surrounded by a natural paradise of lush indigenous forests, mountains and fynbos, tranquil lakes and golden beaches.

• A moderate climate and a fine selection of accommodation, restaurants and enjoyable activities make Knysna the perfect holiday destination.

• Knysna is experiencing an intense growth phase with new developments mushrooming, a new yacht harbor and a championship golf course completed recently and a 5-star resort hotel nearing completion.

• Tourism and the timber industry form the cornerstones of Knysna’s economy.

• The town and its surrounds boast a large variety of hotels, guests houses, bed & breakfasts, restaurants, arts & crafts retailers, adventure and eco-adventure operators.

• Timber is harvested from pine and gum plantations and, in controlled amounts, from indigenous forests in the area. This is used to manufacture cable drums, plyboard and other building timbers. Wooden houses are exported to the Indian Ocean Islands, Singapore and Australia. The furniture industry uses indigenous timbers such as stinkwood and yellowwood, while modern furniture lines are increasingly being exported.

• Khoisan people inhabited the Garden Route from the Stone Age onwards, feeding on the riches of land and sea. They were displaced only after the first Dutch settlers arrived in the area during the seventeenth century.

• Knysna’s recent history began in 1804, when the farm Melkhoutkraal was purchased by George Rex, a timber merchant. He owned virtually all the land surrounding the lagoon. Knysna became a port with naval and commercial ships bringing in supplies and taking timber out from the settlements of Melville and Newhaven, which eventually united to form the town of Knysna.

• In 1869, a Norwegian sea-faring family, the Thesens, settled in Knysna. They set up business and became important timber merchants and shipbuilders.

• In the 1880s gold was discovered in the forest and the mining village of Millwood sprang up. This was short-lived, however, as the gold yields were small and soon ran out.

• The harbor no longer functions as a port, but The Heads still guard the restless passage through which many a trading vessel sailed to the wide ocean beyond.

• The tides rise and fall an average 1,7m, flooding the lagoon through a turbulent channel between "The Heads", which are two great sandstone cliffs. Many a vessel came to grief trying to ‘cross the bar’ here during the years when Knysna was used as a harbor.

• The lagoon is permanently open to the sea, although the volume of influent fresh water is relatively small. This stable, saline environment accounts for the remarkable diversity of species recorded here, the highest in any South African estuary. Swampy areas, salt marshes and eelgrass areas of the estuary, exposed at low tide, produce almost all the food used by other organisms in the estuary, as well as reducing water velocities during floods, and trapping sediment.

• The magnificent Southern Cape forests are one of South Africa’s greatest natural heritages, owing their existence to the regular, orographic rainfall in the region. For many years the forests were mercilessly robbed of their rich resources, supplying timber to the furniture, construction and mining industries. Today, however, the forests are managed according to strict conservation principles.

• Outeniqua yellowwood trees draped with Old Man’s Beard lichen present an imposing sight. A particularly big, old specimen can be seen at Diepwalle forest station: the ‘King Edward VII’ tree, named in 1924 on a visit by the Empire Parliamentary Association, is estimated to be 600 years old; its total height is 39 m, the bole’s circumference is 6 m.

• Other common and well-known species in the Knysna forest include Stinkwood; Real Yellowwood; Blackwood; White alder; Ironwood and Hard Pear.

• The Tree fern, Cyathea capensis, is a protected species and grows in groups along banks of forest streams and under the canopy of moist forests. The ferns in the wet, high forests of Diepwalle have grown in abundance, to heights of 6 m.

• The Valley of Ferns is situated on the road between Knysna and Uniondale, approximately 10 km after the Diepwalle forest station. It offers a pleasant, tranquil picnic site and a short walk through the grove of ferns. Stinkwood trees, Ironwood, Red Alder and the Forest Elder may also be seen here.

• Fynbos (fine bush) is an evergreen heath-shrubland contributing a staggering 8000 species to the Fynbos floral kingdom. This Fynbos is unique to the southwestern areas of South Africa.

• Three plant families characterize this abundance: Proteas, including the famous King Protea, which can grow up to 20cm in diameter; Ericas (heather); and Restios, which are reed-like grasses.

Whilst in Knysna explore:



If you love oysters you might want to plan your trip around the annual Oyster festival that takes place in Knysna  - Click Here



Our favorite place to stay in Knysna - Pezula Resort & Spa.


Knysna Loerie - classic african bird found only in the garden route area.African Classic Encounters specializes in Bird tours