The Garden Route National Park is a mosaic of indigenous forests, coastal fynbos, mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans that stretch along South Africa’s luscious South Coast - one of the most scenic coastlines in the world. The Knysna Section is one of three sections within the National Park; the other two being the Tsitsikamma Section and the Wilderness Section.
Nature has blessed Knysna with a pleasant, temperate climate that makes it an ideal destination to visit at any time of year. And despite rain occurring throughout the year, most of the rainfall occurs at night, so your days can be spent exploring this beautiful area.
The Knysna Section of the Garden Route National Park has many fun, historical, and adventurous activities as well as excellent facilities, picnic sites, and points of interest that make it an ideal destination for holidaymakers and day visitors.
• Millwood Mine. Experience the history of the 19th century gold rush at the Forest Legends Museum, in the midst of Knysna Forest, and enjoy meals at the Materollie Coffee Shop and Restaurant.
• Walks and hiking trails. The area caters for everyone, from young to old, fit, and physically disabled. Trails include the easy Garden of Eden boardwalk, Jubilee Creek walk, Kranshoek day walk, Perdekop day walk, and the 2-day, 24km Harkerville Coastal Hiking Trail. The Elephant Walk offers 3 different loops through sections of the Diepwalle Forest.
• Mountain bike routes. The relatively easy gradients and diversity of the rides offer some of the finest cycling in the Southern Cape. Four circular, colour-coded routes, ranging from 12 – 24km, have been laid out through the indigenous forest, plantation, and coastal fynbos. Permits are available at Garden of Eden and Kranhoek Road entrances.
• Diepwalle Big Tree. Also known as the King Edward VII tree, the 800 year old Big Tree is a famous attraction. This giant Outeniqua yellowwood is one of the few giant trees left.
• Knysna Forest Elephant. Today, only one Knysna elephant is left in the Diepwalle Forest and spoor, dung, and sometimes video footage gives evidence of its existence.
• Birding. Over 280 species of bird are listed in and around Knysna, including the rare Knysna Loerie and Oystercatcher. You will find water birds around Thesen Island, Steenbok Park, and further afield at Groenvlei and Swartvlei Lakes along the Rheendal Ramble.
• Watersports. Visitors can enjoy fishing, water skiing, sailing, cruises, angling, boardsailing, and power boating in zoned areas around Knysna.
• Shopping. You’ll find curio shops, supermarkets, and boutique stores in Knysna town.
• Restaurants. Knysna has a wonderful selection of restaurants, coffee shops, bistros, and pubs.
• Arts and crafts. As a result of its relaxed lifestyle, Knysna is an artists’ paradise and there are several galleries where you can see local arts and crafts.