Knysna is the beloved ‘Best Dorpie’ of South Africans (KFM’s Best of the Cape Awards 2021), and is listed by international travelers as the 19th Most Loved Destination Around the World (2021 Tourism Sentiment Index)!
It is easy to see why Knysna has won the hearts of South Africans and international travellers: “With its incredible natural beauty, rich history, fantastic tourism offerings and friendly people, Knysna offers something to everyone, and everyone loves Knysna”, says Mayor Lavael Davis.
Located on the Garden Route in South Africa, Knysna is one of the main tourist destinations of the Western Cape, but visitors to this beautiful part of the world have so much more on their doorstep than just Knysna. Within an easy half-hour drive, you’ll find various towns, villages, and hamlets, all offering a unique experience.
Base yourself in Knysna and use our handy guide to help you discover some of the rich offerings in the areas around Knysna:
Brenton on Sea
Just 15 minutes from Knysna central and 2 minutes from the luxurious Alkira Lodge, you will find the tiny seaside village of Brenton on Sea. Brenton on Sea is a quiet place known for its beautiful panoramic ocean views, long stretch of sandy beach, and unspoiled nature. This is one of the best places to pop down to for a beach picnic or sip on a cocktail overlooking the ocean views at Butterfly Blu Restaurant as you take in some of the best sunsets in the Garden Route. Train your eyes to the ocean for a glimpse of some dolphins frolicking in the surf or a humpback whale on his migration up the coast.
Walk the five-kilometre-long stretch of Blue Flag Beach from Brenton on Sea, and you’ll end up in Buffels Bay, also easily reached in 20 minutes by car from Knysna. Buffels Bay, also known as Buffalo Bay and Buffelsbaai, offers a great swimming beach and is a haven for surfers. The secluded and sheltered bay provides a safe spot to catch a wave while the beach is protected for sunbathers and families to enjoy a day out.
Just 25 minutes from Knysna, Sedgefield is a place where lagoons and rivers meet the sea. Take to the water in a speedboat, kayak, or stand-up paddle board for a tranquil day out, or a spot of fishing. Keep your eye on the shoreline too for a glimpse of a Fish Eagle or Knysna Loerie. This is one of the world’s top spots for paragliding and amateurs can catch a ride to enjoy panoramic views over the Garden Route. And don’t forget to stop at the wildly popular Wild Oats Market on a Saturday morning for some delicious food and to shop for the local arts and crafts.
Drive 20 minutes inland from Knysna, and you will reach Rheenendal. This peaceful community of farmers and nature lovers welcomes walkers, hikers, and cyclists who flock to the area to spend time enjoying the many nature trails. Locals were extremely excited recently when a lone Knysna Elephant believed to frequent the forest in the area, was spotted and caught on camera here. You can stop for a picnic in the forest or visit a local farm kitchen for some tasty, homebaked goodies. This is also the jumping-off point for a visit to Jubilee Creek and the Millwood Goldmine or a scenic drive along the Seven Passes Route.
While Harkerville may not be a town as such it is still well worth a visit. The area stretches between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay and is home to many of the area’s animal sanctuaries, including the Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary and the Knysna Elephant Park. You’ll also find wineries, breweries, antique stores, farm delis, restaurants, cafes, walks, and plenty of activities to entertain all ages along this route.