South African Hotels

Knysna Tourism Information

Quick Facts: Knysna

  • Knysna is home to the Knysna seahorse
  • Knysna Elephant
  • Magnificent Knysna Lagoon with 'The Heads.'
  • Pezula Golf Course / Pezula Resort & Spa
  • Knysna Golf Course
  • Simola Golf Course & Simola Hotel
  • Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary
  • Knysna Elephant Park
  • Lakes Area National Park
  • Birds of Eden Bird Sanctuary
  • Featherbed Nature Reserve
  • Garden Route National Park
  • Goukamma Nature Reserve
  • Keurbooms River Nature Reserve
  • Outeniqua Choo Tjoe
  • Robberg Nature Reserve

Distance to Airport: 73 km

Distance to City: 1 km

Introducing Knysna

Knysna forms part of the beautiful Garden Route in South Africa and is a town with about 77 000 inhabitants in the Western Cape Province. It is situated 72 kilometres east of the city of George on the N2 highway, and 25 kilometres west of Plettenberg Bay.

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 estuaries, beautiful rivers and golden beaches. A moderate climate and an excellent selection of accommodation, restaurants and enjoyable activities make Knysna the perfect holiday destination. Landowner George Rex, who landed at the Cape in 1796, played a significant role in Knysna's early development and is considered the town's founder.

Being a difficult port to enter, a harbour pilot was employed to assist large vessels in the past. The port was officially closed in 1954.  The picturesque town of Knysna is primarily built on the northern shore of a large warm-water estuary which is fed by the Knysna River. The estuary opens to the ocean after passing between two large headlands. These are popularly known as the "The Heads", and have become infamous due to the loss of boats and fishermen passing through their treacherous and unpredictable waters. Near them are geological formations, known locally as "The Map Stones." To the north of Knysna, Afro-Montane or temperate rainforest covers the hilly terrain for 20 km until changing to fynbos or macchia high up in the Outeniqua Mountains. Knysna has become a popular destination for both tourists and senior citizens entering retirement, especially among the British and former expatriates due to the year-round warm climate.

Recently the town has also become a preferred destination for golfers, as the city boasts several world class golf courses including Pezula Golf Course, Simola Golf Course and the well established Knysna Golf Course situated on the lagoon. In close proximity to Knysna are additional golf courses such as The Links Golf Course at Fancourt, the Outeniqua Golf Course at Fancourt, the Montagu Golf Course at Fancourt and the Oubaai Golf Course at the Hyatt Regency Golf & Spa Resort 8 km outside of George.  The nearest beach is located at Brenton-on-sea which lies directly west of the heads and is continuous with Buffels Bay, a favorite surf spot.  Furthermore, Knysna is home to the fabled Knysna forest elephant.

Knysna nestles on the banks of an 18 km² estuary where the Knysna River meets the tides of the Indian Ocean.  The impressive lagoon is home to the Knysna seahorse, the beautiful Pansy shell and at least 200 species of fish. Humpback and Southern Right whales frolic along these coastal waters from May to September, while dolphins can be observed year-round.  The indigenous forests form the largest closed canopy forest in Southern Africa and are home to the colourful and endemic birds the Knysna Lourie 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.