36th Annual Knysna Oyster Festival 21 – 30 June 2019
Known as “The 10 best days of winter in the Garden Route”, the Knysna Oyster Festival draws travellers in from around the world to embrace the beauty of this exceptional location. Many an oyster lover has journeyed to the renowned Garden Route to enjoy delicious fresh seafood alongside the tranquil coastline and Indian oceanfront.
Few travellers can pass up the opportunity to enjoy the Knysna Oyster Festival in the heart of the exceptional Garden Route, which has no shortage of excitement and adventure, incorporating popular sports and showing off some of Knysna’s most outstanding assets. As a family-friendly event, no two days are the same and this year’s Knysna Oyster Festival will again celebrate the delicious oyster through a variety of festival events and activities. Irrespective of the time of year, oysters are considered a treat, however in winter oysters are at their tastiest, gaining a notably sweeter taste from the cold ocean waters that surround them.
Knysna is synonymous for its wonderful oysters and is known as the oyster capital of South Africa, while also being close to a number of Garden Route’s best activities. Many tourists make their way to Knysna to indulge in oysters and enjoy incredible wines, especially during the colder winter months between April and September – the Knysna Oyster Festival is usually held in late June/early July every year over the annual school holidays making it ideal for a Garden Route Family Holiday.
What oysters can be enjoyed at the festival?
Ask anyone with a penchant for the finer foods in life, oysters being no exception, and they will tell you that they have a favourite type of oyster, which is either the wild oyster or the cultivated oyster. At the Knysna Oyster Festival, both wild and locally cultivated (also known as farmed) oysters are available and can be enjoyed with a variety of pairings, around an array of locations from trendy Thesen Island to restaurants at Knysna Waterfront and beyond. For those who have not yet mastered the art of eating an oyster like a pro, this ocean-fresh seafood can look quiet intimidating, however the lesson is well worth the experience and can go a long way. Some simply add a squeeze of lemon to their shelled oyster, while for others a more flashy serving is most appealing.
Most of the highly sought after wild oysters available to guests at the festival were harvested by licensed oyster pickers – this labour of love is no easy feat but ensures delicious and fresh oysters. The act of oyster picking is less and less pursued in the Garden Route, with very few still actively picking wild oysters in the Indian Ocean. Oyster cultivation in Knysna started way back in 1949, also producing fresh oysters that have survived in the ocean thanks to tried and tested methods that ensure a tasty result.
Exciting events to complement the Knysna Oyster Festival
The Knysna Oyster Festival is about more than just devouring delicious oysters and sipping on lovely wines. Events to enjoy during the festival include the highly anticipated Knysna Cycle Tour, with options for a 50km and 104km route – road and mountain bikers alike are welcome to keep the winter chill at bay by participating in these adventurous and lengthy cycles.
Other sporty events include the Harbour 2 Heads Lagoon Challenge along Knysna Lagoon, the Spur Children’s Cycle Tour that can be observed by parents and also the FNB Family Forest Hike through the breathtaking beauty of Harkerville Forest, choosing from 2.5 to 10 km distances between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. Enjoy the fresh air and spend quality time in the Garden Route by taking part in one or more of these events during your stay!
For the full programme of events, visit http://www.oysterfestival.co.za/programme-of-events/
There are numerous other sporting events to embark on throughout the 10 days of the festival, while for the leisurely bunch the exciting Knysna Wine Festival and many other wine and food highlights make up the 10 days of this beloved festival. While on vacation, make a plan to visit some of the best wine estates and wine farms for Garden Route wine tasting , enjoy a round (or two) of golf in the Garden Route – the golfing mecca of South Africa, embark on a Knysna local Ocean Odyssey Whale and Eco Tour, put on your boots for top Garden Route Hikes, go on a malaria free Garden Route Safari, or else venture a little further to Plettenberg Bay for memorable experiences at Cairnbrogie as you spend your winter in the Garden Route.
Whether oysters are your seafood of choice or are simply an excellent reason to visit Knysna this year, make sure to book your tickets in anticipation of another fantastic Garden Route event. Book your perfect holiday accommodation with Hello Garden Route – Your Friendly Experts in Garden Route Accommodation for an amazing selection of Garden Route accommodation options. Bring your 4-legged best friend with, read through our Garden Route Pet-Friendly Guide or seeking a Romantic Retreat for Two, we offer it all & more!