Knysna the place of People, Beauty and Mystery
Imagine a lush green forest with mystical animals lurking around in the greenery. Promises of fairies in each dew drop and beady eyes searching from a top, this part of the Garden route and Knysna has a magical attraction to it.
When the city of Knysna comes to mind, I not only envision the lush green forests but also a social buzz around the city centre. This city is a year round holiday destination for travellers from around the country and around the globe. It may come as no surprise that the town was named one of the top 100 Destinations in the world, in the TripAdvisor2008 Travellers’ Choice Destination Awards.
In 1882, Knysna was named by an amalgamation of hamlets, who appeared on the lakeshore in 1825, after the Knysna River. Knysna’s port provided shelter for up to 50 ships at a time. The timber from the region was exported from this bay, from around 1787. Knysna forest railway was mostly responsible for the transport of the inland forests to the port of Knysna, from 1907 to 1949.
Another significant contributor to the development of this town was Landowner George Rex, who landed at the Cape in 1796. He is in fact considered to be the proprietor and founder of Knysna. After a few years the improvement made to the infrastructure of inland travel, made transport of timber and other goods more efficient and safer. The port was officially closed in 1954 and it is currently used mainly by pleasure craft and small commercial fishing boats.
The subtropical/warm-temperate climate of this ecoregion, makes it the ideal home to tropical trees, fynbos, the African Elephant, African leopard, Bushbuck, Blue duiker, Bush pig and other mammals. You will also find a rich variety of birds, reptiles and insects.
Knysna offers a unique collection of activities and visitors are spoilt for choice. Choices range from leisurely relaxation, high energy adventure and sporting activities to shopping, haute cuisine, Knysna oysters or downing the locally brewed bear. They can track the mysterious Knysna forest Elephant, take a ferry trip or yacht cruise, hike or cycle in the beautiful forests, walk on the beach or visit one of the gourmet restaurants. For a chance to see dolphins, whales, seals, birds, fish and shark, they can take a cruise along the dramatic and stunningly beautiful coastline. Knysna also offer a lush green, 9hole par 3 golf course.
An exclusive experience would be to take one of the township tours available. Guided by one of the locals, visitors can experience the day-to-day living of the locals and be aware of the spirit of ubuntu. The Roosterkoek kaya Restaurant will be one of the stops on the tour, where they will be welcomed by African cuisine, township hospitality and 5-star food. They’ll also have the opportunity to interact with the locals through song, dance and drumming.
The city hosts the annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, from the 5th till the 15th of July 2012, an event that attracts large numbers of visitors from far and wide. This 10 day annual feast, synonymous with the garden route is an ideal place and time to get to know the people of Knysna and surrounds. The festivals two main sporting events is the Knysna Forest Marathon and the Knysna cycle tour. For those not participating in these two main events, there is an array of other adventure and sports activities. But most important, off course, would be the 200 000 oysters- related events. There is an oyster-sucking competition and an Oyster &Wine Mardi Gras; an evening of oysters and wine tasting. The oyster hotspots around town is also a must see, must taste experience. A separate programme is specially organised for the children, it includes youth theatre, puppet shows, creative art workshops and a children’s cooking course.
The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras held from 26 April 2012 to 1 May 2012 is the only carnival of its kind in Africa. This annual festival is in its 12th year. It is one of the highlights on South Africa’s gay and lesbian events calendar. Gastronomica is another annual 5 day festival in September, promoting healthy eating and other green principles. The days are filled with activities and events, demonstrations of cooking, wine-tasting, photography, music, arts and crafts, exhibitions and much more.
When taking all in consideration one can only be of the opinion that Knysna reflects the finer things in life.
Garden Route, Accommodation
- Alexander House
- Belvidere Manor Hotel
- Kanonkop House
- Phantom View River Resort
- Cliffhanger Cottages
- Brenton Hill Self Catering
- Prospect Cottage
- Conrad Pezula Resort and Spa
- Knysna Houseboats
- Knysna Manor House
- Wayside Inn
- The Lofts Boutique Hotel
- Brenton Beach House
- The Turbine Hotel & Spa
- Knysna Log-Inn Hotel