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Knysna is like Old Europe. Nestled between the mountain forest of the Outentiqua Mountains and a large salt-water lagoon declared a National Natural Monument, this charming town is full of artists, bars, holiday homes and interesting shops.
In the lagoon, there are two larger islands, each connected by land bridges to the mainland. In the middle of the lagoon is an extremely long railway bridge, which is reserved for Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe (a steam train). If you have the time, make sure you drive to George via Wilderness.
If you’re in Knysna, be sure to try the fresh oysters. The lagoon has the largest oyster farming in South Africa, and nowhere in the country can you find fresher, more delicious mussels on the table. Visit the Knysna Oyster Company on Thesen Island. On this oyster farm you can conveniently enjoy the freshest oysters for a good wine or beer.
The 18 km² lagoon is popular with boaters, water skiers and fishermen alike. A variety of fish and waterfowl, shrimp, crabs and even seahorses can be found on and in the lagoon. Recommended is a boat trip, with small boats, yachts or even houseboats you can rent here. On the water you can relax, fish or watch the tropical fish with the glass boats.
About two kilometres south of downtown, on George Rex Drive, is the small private brewery, Mitchell’s. The brewery itself is relatively small, but quite successful in marketing and presentation. Even in Cape Town you can buy various beers from here. In addition to the beer bar, brewery tours are also offered here on weekdays.
The main attraction of the city centre is the Millwood House Museum, the small local museum in the Queen St. The house was formerly in Millwood, where around 1880 a small gold find caused a gold rush. In addition to the history of Knysna, you can also find out about gold mining and the furniture industry here in the museum.
Pledge Nature Reserve
Just 10 minutes from Main Street, the 10-acre nature reserve is a wonderfully tranquil getaway. Countless walks meander through the small park and there are also some picnic areas. As in a botanical garden, the most diverse fynbos, shrub and tree species are lovingly marked here.
St. George’s Church
One should note the old St. George’s Church in the Main St., whose interior is entirely made of Yellowwood wood. From this wood, many furniture is produced nearby. This church was built around 1855 and around it is the interesting old cemetery.
Belvedere Estate and Church
The mansion (1849) and the small private chapel was built in 1855 above the lagoon, on the road to Brenton-Sea. The church was built in early Norman style and is now a popular romantic wedding venue. The mansion is today a nice hotel, with restaurant. From here you have a wonderful panoramic view over the lagoon.
Featherbed Nature Reserve
The nature reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a 2.5-kilometre-long nature trail from which you can explore the cliffs and caves. Millkwood and seabirds will fascinate you as well. You can reach the reserve of Knysna by ferry or from Brent-on-Sea by foot.
The Knysna Forest is the largest contiguous high forest in South Africa. Many hiking and biking trails lead through the scenic area. Along the way, you can also admire the century-old Yellowwood, Ironwood and Stinkwood trees. The yellowood trees can reach over 50 meters and some are estimated to be over 800 years old. Here in the forest there should also be the last forest elephant of Knysna.