Knysna is a premier holiday destination located on the Garden Route just to the East of Cape Town. Knysna, which lies between the Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean, has twice been voted South Africa’s most favourite town. The towns distinctive atmosphere stems from its historic centre of Georgian and Victorian buildings, which gives the town its own individual character. A selection of craft galleries, street traders and a good but less than raucous nightlife add to the towns attractions. Its mild winter climate and sunny warm summers, has helped to make this a popular all year round resort, but unfortunately it becomes very crowded during the peak period of December and January, so it may be best not to visit at this time, especially as prices increase dramatically during this period.
Knysna Lagoon is actually an estuary which is fed by the Knysna and Salt rivers. It plays a vital role in the eco system of the area, sustaining both bird and aquatic life of both the lagoon and the costal waters around Knysna, this is thanks to the nutrient rich waters that flow through the Heads into the Indian Ocean.
Knysna Quays is a Waterfront Marina development containing some of the most exquisite and highly sought after properties in the area. Easily accessible from the main Town, it boasts a Small Harbour where boats and yachts can be hired or chartered. also Ferry trips, fishing boats, adventure sports, scuba diving and whale watching tours operate from here. the area is crammed with excellent restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, plus a craft market, and of course an Internet Cafe.
In 1985 the area, with its mix of swamps and salt lakes was declared a National Lake Area, and it is now administered by the National Parks Board. Around the lagoon are numerous holiday houses, hotels and guesthouses. Two islands in the lagoon, connected to the mainland by bridges, are covered with large, high quality homes, in fact the whole area has quite an upmarket feel to it.
The Outeniqua Choo Tjoe is a steam powered train that operates on the Outeniqualand Railway between George and Knysna, travelling via Victoria Bay, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Goukamma, which includes some spectacular scenery. During the high season the train operates as a passenger train. During the rest of the year it is mainly used for carrying freight.
There are a number of boats that offer trips through the lagoon to the Heads. One of the newer offerings is a romantic looking, but very modern paddle boat, with chefs that prepare quality Tapas style meals for its customers. The boat is becoming increasingly popular for functions, and even product launches.
A well visited attraction are two great sandstone cliffs guarding the mouth of the lagoon known as the Knysna Heads. These form the mouth of the estuary where it connects to the sea. A lookout point is located on the Eastern Head that gives superb views of the lagoon, Leisure Isle, and Knysna. The Western Head is the privately owned Featherbed nature Reserve.