It is said that travel broadens the mind. From meeting new people, sampling new foods, experiencing new cultures, seeing new sights. Travelling gives you experience and perspective!
Situated along South Africa’s Southern Cape, you will find the beautiful Garden Route – tangled forests and deep river gorges fronting lovely long white beaches or craggy headlands. The area was once a vast African forest, the remnants of which can be found around Knysna and in the Tsitsikamma National Park at the Storms River Mouth.
During the month of June, South Africa experienced a number of fires and extreme weather disasters. Fires swept through some areas of the Garden Route devesting parts of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. As the tragedy unfolded, the community rallied together. The courage, tenacity and spirit of the community could only be described as unbelievable.
Areas of Knysna have been effected, however, large parts of the town remain unaffected. Knysna Tourism chairperson, Elmay Bouwer says “We would like tourists to know that it is safe to visit Knysna and that almost all tourist activities are fully operational”.
Knysna still possesses a sense of authenticity and charm that cannot be replicated. Out of this tragedy comes hope and opportunity.
Knysna is situated in the heart of the picturesque South African Garden Route, between George and Plettenberg Bay on the national N2 highway (linking Cape Town with Port Elizabeth); 72 kilometres east of George and 25 kilometres west of Plettenberg Bay.
Its moderate Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters, makes it an ideal tourist destination for all seasons. Surrounded by indigenous forests, tranquil lakes, mountains and expansive surrounding beaches, Knysna offers the traveller a diverse and exciting selection of leisure and outdoor activities.
Every year Knysna hosts the iconic annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival. Attracting sport enthusiasts, families, food & wine lovers as well as adrenalin junkies, the festival offers something for everyone from running, cycling, golfing and adventure racing to wine and whisky tastings, cooking competitions, food and wine pairings, gala evenings, live music, a children’s programme and, of course, oysters. The festival will take place from the 7th to the 16th of July 2017. Some of the events to look forward to include:
The Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour (Saturday, 8 July for the MTB and Sunday, 9 July for road race events and the Forest Family Dam Ride) and the Momentum Knysna Forest Marathon and Half Marathon (Saturday, 15 July) are always big draw-cards for sporting enthusiasts and this year will be no different.
The BIG5 Challenge (Saturday, 8 – Saturday, 15 July) will be switching things up this year with a new Momentum Health MTB X race added to the list which is sure to have spectators on the edge of their seats as the elite and amateur athletes fight it out over the five courses.
Pezula hosts the Europcar Knysna Classic (Friday, 14 July) golf tournament, which is always a popular event. Book your four-ball now to secure your spot! For the less athletically inclined, there is the Oyster Rapid Chess Tournament (Saturday, 8 July) and the Knysna Oyster Festival Motorsport Gymkhana (Saturday, 8 July).
The exceptionally popular Pick n Pay Seafood Wednesday is back (Wednesday, 12 July)! Top notch restaurants will showcase their best seafood dishes and once the sun starts to sink towards the horizon, the Pick n Pay SASSI Fish Braai, Oyster Shucking and Eating Competitions as well as the Pick n Pay Flavours of Knysna all get underway. Make sure you don’t miss the heated battle for the ‘Best Fish Braaier in Knysna’, the competition is hot!
Local establishments have a variety of specials on for the duration of the festival so come hungry and enjoy the large variety of sumptuous foods on offer.
For the Kids
If your child is the active type then why not enter them into the BIG5 Junior Challenge (Saturday, 8 – Saturday, 15 July), the Simola Little Phantom Kids Adventure Run (Saturday, 8 July) or the Spur Rotary Knysna Children’s Cycle Tour (Sunday, 9 July)?
The Fun Fair is open for the duration of the Festival and offers thrills for young and old. The Festival Grounds also have several inflatable fun activities and games taking place throughout the duration.
The Momentum Health Kiddies Area is a fun, secure play area tailored specially for little ones. The area is supervised by qualified child minders and offers loads of awesome age-appropriate activities to keep kids entertained and busy. The fun includes face painting, arts and crafts, jumping castles plus loads more. Open to kids from 2 to 12 years of age, there is no charge, however children must be checked in by their parents or guardians. To allow moms and dads to enjoy the festival in the evenings, the kiddie’s area will be open until late on some nights – until 21h00 on 10 & 11 July and until 22h00 on 12 & 13 July.
If the festival is not enough to entice you, Knysna is home to some of the most beautiful natural attractions in the Garden Route. Places to visit would be:
Valley of Ferns (Dal-van-Varings)
Resting in a valley, this picnic site offers beautiful scenery, tranquility and some forest exploring for the family. There is an easy, short 450m walk in the forest beneath the huge tree ferns and next to small trickling streams. The picnic spot can be reached via the R339 along the Prince Alfred Pass and is situated near the Diepwalle State Forest.
The Terblans Walk starts at the Grootdraai picnic site and passes through a section of indigenous Gouna forest – the second largest indigenous forest tract in the Knysna area. The walk is relatively flat except for the Rooiels River crossing where the descending trail is followed by a steep climb. Just beyond the halfway mark at Witplekbos, a natural swimming pool which offers the opportunity for a scenic break and refreshing dip. There are a number of picnic sites at Grootdraai where the trail starts out and ends.
Diepwalle Forest Trail
The Diepwalle indigenous forest is located in the Knysna section of the Garden Route National Park and covers an area of 3 200 hectares. The Diepwalle Forest was once the last known refuge of the renowned and elusive Knysna elephants.
Crossing rivers and streams, the Elephant Walk leads through tracts of indigenous forest. The Diepwalle Forest trail network comprises of three trails which are colour coded: the red trail, white trail and black trail, ranging from 7 to 9 kilometres.
The message from Knysna is: “Knysna is rising, we are open for business, please visit Knysna. Your visit is helping us rebuilt our town! Our town’s spirit is stronger and we are to rising above the disaster.”
To experience the 10 Best Days of Winter… Visit Knysna!
Hello Garden Route still has some accommodation available during the Knysna Oyster Festival & July School Holidays. Click here!
Contact us to secure yours before it’s too late!