Knysna is a compulsory stop on South Africa’s Garden Route. There is an endless list of things to do in Knysna, from golfing at some of the country’s best courses, birding in the forests and wetlands, biking, hiking, and walking in the natural landscapes, to lazing around on magnificent Blue Flag beaches.
However, we also understand that you also sometimes need a little bit of retail therapy when on holiday. If that’s the case, don’t worry, Knysna has it covered. Gifted local artisans offer unique crafts, you can browse quirky market stalls, and locally-owned shops, or pop in for a quick fix at one of the better-known department stores.
Keep reading to discover some of our best places to go shopping in Knysna:
No visit to Knysna would be complete without stopping in at the Knysna waterfront. Here you’ll find restaurants as well as a promenade lined with stores where you can pick up something for yourself or a Knysna-themed item for your friends and family back home. If you’re looking for rare African jewels or some curios, then this is where you want to be, while there are also some tremendous sport-style clothing stores and exclusive boutiques. Be sure to stop for a minute at the miniature train station, where you can watch as tiny trains make their way around a replica of Knysna.
If you like the finer things in life, then be sure to schedule a stop on Thesen Island. There are so many wonderful, independent shops here where you can search for clothing, jewellery, and a unique decor piece for your home. Some of our favorite stores include the laid-back luxury clothing store, French Kisses, or Diana Loon for her curated line of clothing and advice on what suits your body type. Aldo Kleyn sells handcrafted unique leather goods or you can chat to the designers and proprietors at custom home store Paisley & Bloom Interiors to add a touch of flair to your home. Tahir at Zahar is a fountain of information on oriental rugs and kelims, Sybaris designs and makes beautiful wooden kitchens and accessories, and their neighbour, Shumbawi sells wonderful jewellery.
There are lots of other gems to visit from the clock shop to interior and homewares. When you’re all shopped out, kick your feet up at île de païn – a buzzing café that is a feast for all the senses with homemade breads and creative pastries.
Oaks on Main Knysna
It may not look like much from the outside, but enter through the colorful gate at Oaks on Main and you’ll find a tranquil haven from the busy main road of Knysna. This unique little shopping centre has a lovely outdoor deck area surrounded by towering trees and tiny stores with local paintings, woodwork, clothing, and handmade goods. Be sure to grab some delicious food, a freshly squeezed juice, or some vegan, dairy-free ice cream as you wander around looking at the shops or just gazing at the vibrant drawings and sculptures dotted around.
If you need some modern retail therapy, require a new costume for your beach day, or just want to stock up for a braai or meal at your villa in Knysna, then Knysna Mall offers all the conveniences you would expect back home. There are more than 60 stores and restaurants in the mall, including a large Spar and Woolworths.
Shabby Fufu Lifestyle Farm (15-minute drive from Knysna)
Shabby Fufu, is on the N2 between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay and opened on the 19th of March 2021. This barn mixes old and new in a fun 60s fashion. A huge double-storied store is jampacked with vintage furniture, decor, art, toys, and fashion and will leave antique lovers with plenty of things to gaze at and tinkle with. You can also enjoy a delicious meal overlooking the dam at the back of the property while your children run rampant in the large play area.
Scarab Arts & Crafts Village, Sedgefield (30-minute drive from Knysna)
Set just outside the sleepy town of Sedgefield, the Scarab Arts & Crafts Village is a must-do stop off the N2. Here you can learn about the art of paper production and how elephant dung is included in the manufacturing process. You can also browse local art, find one-of-a-kind gifts made from recycled commodities, find some indigenous plants for your garden, discover custom yellowwood furniture, shop for beads, or even book a beading lesson. Be sure to visit on a Saturday when the artists display their original works, handmade clothing, wooden products, hand-spun wool items, ceramics, and much more as part of the market. Come with your friends, listen to live music, and grab a bite to eat at the country-style Wild Oats market or a craft beer from the Sedgefield Craft Brewery.
The Old Nick Village, Plettenberg Bay (30-minute drive from Knysna)
Old Nick Village is a 19th century Cape Farm complex surrounded by tall trees and indigenous gardens. It is here where you have the unique opportunity to visit local manufacturers, artists, and designers. This quirky community center features an eclectic collection of shops, including special home decor items, luxury artisanal chocolates, African designer artifacts, handcrafted pottery, locally woven textiles, and contemporary clothing. You also have the opportunity to visit Mungo Mill and learn more about the art of weaving from the pre-industrial revolution to the present day. A mid-week market is also held at Old Nick Village every Wednesday, where you can stock up on homegrown fruits and veggies as well as ethically farmed meat and dairy.