Many move to Knysna and the Garden Route in search of a different life, often this means a life more connected with the outdoors and the natural world. Of course, what this means is that Knysna has a big fitness community, with all sorts of outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and kayaking available.
For active travellers who need a bit of action before lazing at the pool or tucking into the local delicacies and fine wine, Knysna is the ideal destination.
So just what options do you have for staying fit in Knysna? Let’s take a closer look:
Trail running and walking
There are many trails available in the Knysna area for those who enjoy a good outing in the fresh air. These breathtaking single tracks range from easy trails through the forest to more challenging trails over mountains, along soft beach sand, or leaping between rocks. It’s a wonderful way to view the rich local birdlife in their natural habitat and to discover other beautiful experiences, from fabulous waterfalls to scenic views. For the more energetic, a variety of marathons are held annually in the area, including the Knysna Forest Marathon and the Plett Half Marathon.
Then of course one shouldn’t forget the Otter Trail, a picturesque five-day, four-night hiking trail along the Garden Route that is widely regarded as one of the best in the world!
When it comes to mountain biking in Knysna you will be spoilt for choice. Cycle alongside rivers and lagoons and through the indigenous fynbos, keeping an eye out for antelope, baboons, and monkeys, or even the dung of an elusive Knysna elephant! With safe, easily accessible trails, Knysna is also a great spot to introduce your children to the cycling world. Consider bringing your family to participate in the Knysna Cycle Tour – an annual event, offering two days of family-friendly cycling activities.
Stand up paddle boarding
A great way to stay fit and have fun on holiday, stand up paddle boarding is a fabulous activity for the whole family and a must for your next Garden Route vacation. The tranquil waterways of Thesen Island offer 10 kilometers of protected area to explore, perfect for beginners who want to try out the world’s fastest-growing sport. More experienced paddlers can head out to catch the waves between the famous Knysna Heads while enjoying magnificent views of one of Knysna’s most iconic sites.
Those who want to explore the Knysna estuary at their own pace can rent a kayak or canoe from an hour to a day. Break up your fitness session with a stop at the beach or a waterside picnic along the way. Paddlers who want the chance to spot dolphins or whales along the way can head further along the Garden Route to Plettenberg Bay for an ocean kayaking adventure!
Horse riding is a unique way to discover the forests and mountains of Knysna while your four-legged friend does more of the work. A number of guided outrides are available for both beginners and the more experienced. Highlights of the forest riding trails include beautiful waterfalls and towering yellowwood trees, some of which are over 800 years old!
One of our favourite companies for horse riding in Knysna is Black Horse Trails. They place an emphasis on nature, offering riders a chance to really discover the indigenous forests and peaceful surroundings of the Garden Route. Their rides vary from 1.5-hour trail rides to whole-day mountain rides, and even three-day coast to Karoo adventures!