Embracing an exquisitely beautiful lagoon and surrounded by ancient forests, Knysna (pronounced ny-znah) is probably the most famous town on the Garden Route. There is no definite discovery of the meaning of its name but most consider it derived from the Khoisan word for ‘fern’. Locals and regular visitors sometimes refer to her as ‘Nice-Naa’. Knysna is considered by many to be the prettiest town in South Africa. The lagoon is popular with sailing enthusiasts, and there are plenty of boat trips on offer. Knysna, on the Garden Route, offers an eclectic mix of attractions and activities - something for everyone.


Diverse in its mix of people and its surroundings, this diversity is reflected in a range of choices of eco-tourism, cultural-tourism and heritage-tourism. Knysna is situated on South Africa's only National Lake, which is also the country's largest permanent estuary. Knysna has so many stunning features, it's indescribable. It is also a good whale watching destination in South Africa. Knysna lies between the Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean, with stunning forests surrounding. Dominated by its beautiful lagoon and the spectacular Knysna Heads, which guard it from the sea, makes Knysna is an attractive seaside town.

Knysna is accessed by road as it lies on the N2 between Cape Town 500 kilometres (310 miles) and Port Elizabeth 260 kilometres (161 miles). Bus coaches provide a daily service to Knysna from both these cities and car rental facilities are available. Flights can also be taken from Plettenberg Bay and George.

The lagoon has many good features, but one of the tastiest is the oysters which are cultivated in its clear depths. Visitors could spend a whole day at the oyster farm, guzzling these squirmy little delicacies or paddle out on a canoe to see them in their nurseries and then munch them or take some along. Leisurely sail on a luxury yacht, again enjoying bubbly and oysters. Knysna has a number of museums, all dedicated to fishing, forestry and the abortive gold mining industry, which was started (and soon abandoned) in the forest.


Knysna is also well known as the mecca of indigenous wood furniture, and the beauty of the area serves as an inspiration to artists, working with only the finest indigenous timber, carefully selected with pattern, grain and texture in mind, making every piece of furniture a masterpiece. Knysna will not fail to capture your imagination and sensitize you to this beautiful and fragile area, whose destiny hangs delicately between the very sensitive issues of development and conservation. 

Knysna is now very much a tourist destination, providing an unforgettable time, to the adventurer or the discerning traveler. It is a place where past, present and future merge as one, and capture you in their web, forever.