Knysna meaning ‘place of wood’, derives its name from the indigenous Khoi-san people and is one of the Garden Route’s best-known destinations. It is situated between lush forests and the shores of a peaceful estuary, which is protected from the sea by the monolithic sandstone “Heads”. The other main attraction within Knysna itself is the waterfront where there is a selection of fine restaurants, seafood taverns, pubs, coffee shops and a variety of shops to match every mood and budget. Within its idyllic natural setting, Knysna is a vibrant town, offering a range of unforgettable experiences from leisurely relaxation to more energetic and adventurous pursuits. Meander around the shops, sample haute cuisine or taste locally brewed beer. Take a cruise across the lagoon or out to sea, or visit the Elephant Park for a close encounter with these magnificent mammals. Although there isn’t a swimming beach in Knysna you can drive to Buffles Bay, which is the closest beach that is safe for swimming. Knysna offers a wide range of accommodation options from five-star hotels and luxury lodges to bed and breakfasts and home stays. There are excellent options, whether you wish to be tucked away in the forest, enjoy a beautiful view of the sun setting over the estuary, or be located on the waterfront.
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Top things to do in Knysna
Sunset paddle cruise and dinner (shared excursion)
Sunset paddle cruise and dinner (shared excursion). Board the Paddle Cruiser, the only paddle-driven vessel in South Africa and a unique dining experience in Knysna. Depart at sunset and as you dine you will cruise to the famous Knysna Heads and return under the stars and in the twinkling lights of the town. Dinner is a 3-course Mediterranean buffet. Price excludes transfers from the hotel as well as drinks during your meal.
Full day Knysna and Plettenberg Bay tour (private excursion)
Full day Knysna and Plettenberg Bay tour. The tour begins with a scenic drive to the top of Knysna Heads, dramatic cliffs which overlook the Indian Ocean on one side and the town and lagoon of Knysna towards the distant Outeniqua Mountains on the other side. You will then take a shared 25-minute ferry ride across Knysna's magnificent estuary to a secluded nature reserve, home to a variety of wildlife, Knysna loeries, the blue crane, and one of Africa's smallest antelope, the blue duiker. On arrival, a 4x4 trailer will take you to the summit of the Western Headland for a spectacular panorama view of the Knysna Basin and the sea. After admiring the view, take a gentle walk through a Milkwood forest, into caves and along the coastline back to a restaurant, where you will be served lunch in the Food Forest, an outside eating area set amongst the Milkwood trees. Continue to the Elephant Sanctuary, which provides a safe haven for six elephants and a platform for education and interaction. Join an hour-long trunk in hand experience, which involves walking with the elephants through the forest to learn about these amazing animals from their habits to their anatomy. This experience will be shared with others. Return to your hotel late this afternoon.
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