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Posted on: Friday, 31 May 2013

Knysna – A seaside town close to my heart

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Noetzie Castles

Noetzie Castles

Growing up caravanning and camping in and near the little town of Knysna almost became a norm for me. I would visit every year during the school holidays, visit the town’s markets, picnic alongside the lagoon and enjoy the summer rainfall.

Now that I’m travelling the world, it’s hard to believe that such a spectacular little place exists in the heart of the Garden Route only a few hours from Cape Town. Mountains, beaches, rivers and lagoons will leave you awe-struck and with many things to do. Here are some things to do in and around Knysna

Knysna – A seaside town close to my heart …

Knysna Castles

Just 20 km outside of Knysna and along a short dirt road will lead you to the Knysna Castles at Noetzie. The view is simply beautiful and once you’ve walked down 150 stairs, you can swim on the beach, go for a picnic in the forest, whale watch in season, hike, go fishing and walk a bit further to views the castles.

Garden of Eden

Visit Monkeyland

Visit Monkeyland

True to its name, this indigenous garden is nestled between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay and can be summed as a small portion of paradise. Follow the trail all the way around the wet forest and look on a tall canopy of yellowwood, Witch-hazel and Sagewood trees, various bird and animal species as well as tranquil rivers. The sanctuaries of Monkeyland and Birds of Eden are 40 km away and if you’re travelling with family, these spots will be a hit with the kids. Bring your binoculars and try to spot the Knysna Lourie, Olive Thrush and Cape White-Eye.

Cycling Forest Trails

For those who are happier to trail through the foliage on a bike, there are multiple trails to enjoy. Try the 19km Homtini Cycle Route at Milkwood beginning at Krisjan-se-nek picnic spot. In Diepwalle forest, there’s a longer 24km route called Petrus-se-brand Cycle Route ending in the serene setting of the Garden of Eden.

Cruise the Lagoon

Cruise on the lagoon

Cruise on the lagoon

Cruising out to the Knysna Heads at sunset, was one of the best cruises I’ve experienced. On either side the Featherbed Private Nature Reserve covers the peaks, the boat putters along smoothly as the sun sinks below the horizon. Some day tours will drive you to a lookout point whereby you can walk down the through the Milkwood forest before lunch is served. Either way you look at it, the lagoon is best experience right on the water.

Explore the markets and shops

On any given day especially weekends in season, the main road of Knysna is abuzz with those in search of coffee, treats and lunch beneath the giant trees. Art galleries open their doors, vendors display their leather bags and shoes and jewelry designers market their artwork on tables. When visiting Knysna, you’re bound to return home with beautiful trinkets or artisan treasures.

Picnic and swim at Coney Glen

Take the steep road down to Coney Glen on the other side of Knysna’s Eastern Head. Bring your meat to braai and snacks to picnic with as you can relax on the grass and braai with friends and family. Spend the day swimming at the beach, lying on the sand or finding shells in the rock pools.

Knysna Information:
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Accommodation in the Garden Route

Be it for a week or weekend you will have plenty of things to do and see in this popular seaside town.


Knysna, Garden Route

Knysna, Garden Route


Lauren Manuel McShane


Six continents later, Lauren Manuel McShane still has itchy feet and wanderlust for adventure in all corners of the earth. She recently married the love of her life and together they are traveling the world pausing only to find work, take photos and write. She is currently in Asia and sharing everything about her expat life on The Travel Manuel.

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2 comments about Knysna – A seaside town close to my heart
  1. May 31st, 2013 at 11:02
    Helen says:

    I love Knysna – such a lot to do and see. Thanks for the interesting blog!

  2. May 31st, 2013 at 16:05
    Michelle says:

    Sounds like a great getaway spot! Im keen on seeing the knysna castles and visiting monkey land.