Leaving Sedgefield along the Garden Route on the N2, you enter Knysna, with Rheenendahl to the left, the home of magical places where golden toads are found like The Jubilee Creek forest, and the famous Dalene Matthee hiking trail. You can smell the mixture of the salty sea air and the fresh spicy aroma of the green forest giants. Straight on through toward the town, there is the first sighting of the Knysna lagoon, big, blue and simply awe-inspiring. Home to the endangered Knysna seahorse, the Knysna lagoon is perfectly framed by the surrounding mountains.
To enter Knysna town, one needs to drive around the lagoon, the roads have been majorly upgraded in the last few years and it’s a beautiful drive unless you’re in peak traffic. Before town, at the White Bridge, there is the most amazing nursery Lagoonviewnursery.co.za, it has been there forever and is something of an icon to the Knysna dwellers. If you turn at the White Bridge you carry on to Belvidere quiet and inconceivably tranquil with the most divinely beautiful views of the lagoon and Knysna town across the lagoon. Also home to the pristinely kept Belvidere Manor, lovely rooms and cottages, excellent room service and friendly people. A little way past Belvidere is the other side of the mountain, Brenton-on-Sea, a popular holiday home, tourist area, it has the Brenton Sea beach which by sunset is the most exquisitely romantic stroll in Knysna.
Carrying on around the lagoon, you finally enter Knysna town, speeding cameras are a permanent fixture and following the speed limit is always advised. The town has become extremely busy with hundreds of curio shops and small magical places to be found. It is only natural to race for the Waterfront Knysna Quays first, there are wonderful restaurants and a thousand activities to choose from and book, like the exciting Knysna RIB Adventures, taking you right through The Heads and on a thrilling ride into the ocean, where seeing Hammerhead Sharks is a possibility. If you would rather take a more interactive yet relaxing and informative approach to see The Heads, then taking the John Benn Ferry to Featherbed across the lagoon is the best option. There’s a restaurant and pub on the ferry or one on the other side. When arriving on the other side you can choose to take the not too strenuous hike through the Featherbed Nature Reserve, see the other side of The Heads, learn about the fauna and flora and enter a cave.
Right next to The Waterfront Knysna Quays, is a built-up area with its own set of restaurants and quaint shopping experiences, Thesens Island. There are many places to stay in Knysna itself that are magical but Lazy Island must be one of the most, with phenomenal service and setting on the water, great attention to detail and excellence, superb rates Lazy Island, is a definite first choice.
Back into Knysna Town, there is one main road, the place where all navigation is done from, if you have the main road then you cannot get lost. The entire town is filled with arts and crafts of different origins and tastes, bookshops, coffee shops and small pubs and bars each with their own intriguing personalities to offer. On Long Street, is a quaint old-fashioned bakery, Ouma Pantry, offering the most delicious home baked delights in the country. Further down the main road lies a peacefully cobblestoned Anglican Church, a provincial heritage site, also the first piece of land given from George Rex (Founder of Knysna) estate in 1828, which later grew to become what Knysna is today.
Above Knysna town lies the famous Simola, not only a prestigious golf course with an interesting twist but also the first Jack Nicklaus signature golf course on the Garden Route. The accommodation here is of Superstar Caliber and the views are breathtakingly phenomenal. Simola is definitely the course of choice to choke down and hit a birdie on.
Before leaving Knysna, still on the N2 towards Plettenberg Bay, there is a whole section of Knysna to the right, Leisure Isle is the last stop. With its beach, you have the closest view in the whole Knysna of The Heads, you can swim in the clear turquoise water and dig your toes into the lagoon beach sand. Just outside Knysna, before Plettenberg Bay are interesting stops, such as the incredible Wolf Sanctuary, and Monkeyland, with its breathtaking walks through the treetops.
From the start to the end of Knysna, and in between lies a lifetime of fabulously unprecedented experiences waiting to be had by visitors. The people are down to earth and extremely friendly, the air is clean and its Knysna aroma will remain in your memory forever, one of South Africa’s little treasures with a large amount of soul.