COVID-19 alert: Travel requirements are changing rapidly, including need for pre-travel COVID-19 testing and quarantine on arrival.

Travel Guide

Knysna Quays

From forests, mountains and lagoons to art galleries and flea markets, Knysna is a must-see on South Africa’s Garden Route.

With indigenous forests, placid lakes and striking mountains, Knysna is a destination of natural beauty. Visit the town for everything from leisurely relaxation and high-energy sporting adventure to shopping and haute cuisine. Knysna is a popular stop on the scenic Garden Route.

Knysna’s town center is compact, and museums and galleries, markets and fashion boutiques beckon with a welcoming charm. Admire the work of contemporary South African artists at Knysna Fine Art. Learn about the town’s gold mining history at the Millwood Museum. Shop for handicrafts and try artisanal food at weekly markets.

Go to the picturesque Knysna Waterfront to find cafés, restaurants and curio shops. This is a good place to sample Knysna’s famous oysters, served direct from a hatchery located in the town lagoon. In the evening, crowds gather on the open-air terraces to watch the sunset while sipping on a glass of wine or locally-brewed beer.

Stroll around Knysna Lagoon to two large sandstone headlands, which connect the town with the Indian Ocean. Explore a shipwreck and spot seahorses on a scuba diving excursion. Follow a trail to the summit of the eastern head for panoramic views of the town and coastline. Between June and November you’ll have the chance to see southern right whales. Ride the ferry across to the western headland, where you can join a guided walk or jeep tour of Featherbed Nature Reserve.

The nearby mountains and forests lend themselves to plenty more outdoor pursuits and adventure. Walk with African elephants at the Knysna Elephant Park. Spot over 90 species of birds while traversing the walking trails of Pledge Nature Reserve, or take a zip-line tour through the tree tops of Tsitsikamma National Park.

Knysna is situated 160 miles (260 kilometers) west of Port Elizabeth and 300 miles (480 kilometers) east of Cape Town. Bus companies operate a regular service between Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Knysna. Consider renting a car to explore other destinations on the Garden Route, such as the beach towns of Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay.

Where to stay in Knysna

Protea Hotel by Marriott Knysna Quays
Protea Hotel by Marriott Knysna Quays
3.5 out of 5
Waterfront Drive, Knysna, Western Cape
The price is £60 per night from 21 May to 21 May
Located in Knysna Central, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Cape Floral Region Protected Areas, Garden Route National Park and Knysna Lagoon. Knysna Quays ...
4.1/5Very Good! (236 reviews)
Great Stay at Knysna Quays
"was amazing- great room friendly staff and yummie breakfast"

Reviewed on 6 Jan 2021

Protea Hotel by Marriott Knysna Quays
Headlands House Guest Lodge
Headlands House Guest Lodge
4 out of 5
50 Coney Glen Drive, The Heads, Knysna, Western Cape
The price is £85 per night from 18 May to 18 May
Situated by the ocean, this guesthouse is within a 5-minute walk of Cape Floral Region Protected Areas, Eastern Head View Point and Garden Route National Park. ...
4.9/5Exceptional! (18 reviews)
"The view from the bedroom was wonderful, the mattress was hard. Breakfast and service was amazing."

Reviewed on 28 Mar 2020

Headlands House Guest Lodge
"Pezula Resort, Hotel & Spa"
"Pezula Resort, Hotel & Spa"
5 out of 5
Lagoonview Drive, Sparrebosch, Eastern Head, Knysna, Western Cape
The price is £84 per night from 23 May to 23 May
This family-friendly Knysna hotel is located near the beach, within 2 mi (3 km) of Cape Floral Region Protected Areas, Knysna Lagoon and Garden Route National ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (144 reviews)
"We have stayed at Pezula many times over the years and it remains one of our favourites. On this occasion you can feel the impact of covid in terms of the limited restaurant offerings and skeleton staff. However, it was still a wonderful couple of days to recharge the batteries in luxury."

Reviewed on 12 Jan 2021

"Pezula Resort, Hotel & Spa"
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Knysna

Top things to do in Knysna

Reviews of Knysna


Top Destination

5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent 54.54545454545455%
4 - Good
4 - Good 40.90909090909091%
3 - Okay
3 - Okay 4.545454545454546%
2 - Disappointing
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

12 Nov 2019

The elephant sanctuary is definitely worth a visit. Good selection of restaurants on the waterfront. Thesens island very pleasant

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

21 Sep 2019

Lots to see and do leisure island was amazing to cycle road and our guest house provided them for free . Millionaire row houses gardens views just beautiful. Also mini bus to the waterfront to dine for a small charge . But food in hotel was very good

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

4 Aug 2019

Our hotel was in a nice estate however walking around Knysna didn't feel very safe, particularly along the water. We ate on Thesen Island which was delicious and headed to the Knysna Nature Reserve which was beautiful and had some challenging walks.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

2 Jun 2019

Knysna is unique, it is beautiful, the locals are fantastic and it really is the gem of the Garden Route

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

2 Apr 2019

Knysna should be on list of every visitor to the South Africa. I wish they paid more to Native Africans.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

1 Apr 2019

Knysna is beautiful and there is a lot to do from shopping to boating.

Cities near Knysna