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Where is Knysna?

27 Oct 2017

One may approach the question ‘where is Knysna?’ from a number of angles, by appending, for example, words or phrases such as ‘situated’,’ headed’, ‘in its standing as a South African tourist destination’,  and so on. Most folk would naturally be more interested in the geographical aspects of the question and hence I shall focus on these.

The Garden Route, a 150km odd strip of land stretching from Still Bay in the west to Storms River in the east along South Africa’s southern coast, is renowned as one of the country’s most beautiful regions. Undoubtedly amongst the country’s premier tourist destinations, the Garden Route is a wonder world of ocean, beaches, rivers, mountains, forests, estuaries, fertile valleys and picturesque villages and towns. Garden Route visitors inevitably include the coastal resort town of Knysna in their itineraries.  Whilst Knysna was only officially recognised as a municipality in 1881 after a century of colonial activity in the area, there is evidence that the indigenous Khoisan people included Knysna in their nomadic wanderings. Indeed the origin of the name Knysna is thought to be a Khoi word meaning either ‘place of wood’, fern leaves’ or ‘straight down’ – the latter being the preferred meaning, an obvious reference to the imposing sandstone headlands forming the iconic Knysna Heads.

The Knysna Heads

The town of Knysna surrounds one of South Africa’s largest estuaries known as the Knysna Lagoon or Knysna Estuary . Apart from being a popular destination for both tourists and retirees, Knysna has entrenched itself as a preferred destination for golfers visiting the Southern Cape – 3 superb golf courses are a stone’s throw away from our Knysna accommodation, namely Pezula, Simola and the Knysna Golf Club. Additionally Knysna is rapidly establishing itself as the region’s festival capital, the highlight on the annual calendar being The Knysna Oyster Festival.

Simola Golf Course Knysna

For those Knysna visitors travelling by air George airport, some 70km away, is the nearest entry point.  The city of Cape Town, some 500km from Knysna by road, is a popular starting point for Garden Route visitors. The N2 and the more scenic Route 62 through the Little Karoo offer contrasting landscapes and attractions to those driving between the two centres. Some 270km east of Knysna lies the city of Port Elizabeth, another popular entry point to the Garden Route.

GPS co-ordinates have become the modern travellers’ preferred means of locating their chosen destination. Below are the co-ordinates of some popular Knysna destinations:

Bamboo, the Guest House -34.05849 23.082176
Knysna Waterfront (34 South Restaurant) -34.041067 23.046048
Thesen Islands (Sirocco Restaurant) -34.047468 23.047844
Knysna Tourism (Central Knysna) -34.034399 23.045494
Simola Golf Estate -34.004431 23.027759
Featherbed Nature Reserve -34.076692 23.056155

Sirocco Knysna

Now that we have answered the question ‘where is Knysna?’ it seems appropriate to address the same question in terms of Knysna’s standing as a tourist centre. By voting Knysna as the second best African city to visit (behind Cape Town), Conde Nast Traveller readers have provided us with a simple answer, a worthy accolade indeed!

So instead of wondering where Knysna is, pack your bags and head for our funky, quirky, relaxed accommodation in Knysna and make the most of a top African tourist mecca!