Knysna Estuary

Lakes / Dams / Landmarks in or near Knysna, Garden Route in the Garden Route, South Africa.

Garden Route Tourist AttractionsKnysna Estuary

Where? Knysna, Garden Route, South Africa

Overnight? Accommodation in Knysna, in Garden Route

The Knysna Estuary, better known amongst the locals as the Knysna Lagoon, is one of South Africa’s favourite vacation spots, thanks to the stunning views and many adventures that it offers. More than this, though, it is an important part of the local marine life and conservation projects, because it is teeming with life. In fact, it is home to the endemic Knysna seahorse, which is only found in this lagoon, and in the estuaries of the nearby Plettenberg Bay and Keurbooms.

Because it is so vast and exquisite, many of the homes and guesthouses of Knysna are located on or around the lagoon. As the tide comes in, the entire landscape is dominated by the pristine blue of the waters. At low tide, little islands, covered in luminous sea grasses and samphire, peek out from the water and promise hours of entertainment for little ones that want to squelch in the mud and look for fascinating creatures.

Fishermen are often spotted in little boats bobbing on the water or standing on the banks and jetties casting their lines. The lagoon is home to white Steenbras, dusky kob, Cape stumpnose, and spotted grunter, as well as to cuttlefish. On the jetties, clusters of mussels make for a delicious meal (providing they have not been baking in the sun at low tide).

At almost any time of year, the Knysna Estuary is a popular spot for water sports. Boating, waterskiing, stand-up paddling, kayaking, tubing, snorkelling, and swimming are the orders of the day, every day. In summer, when the easterly winds cool the sweltering days, kite-surfing and wind-surfing are musts. Recently, the lagoon has also become a hotspot for hydrofoiling, which always delights the tourists that have never seen boards soar above the water as if they are floating on air.

There are a number of tours on offer. The dolphin-watching tours are stunning and, in the latter half of the year, these also head out to spot the whales that are passing this part of the South African coast. Seahorse tours and snorkelling adventures are fun and, because the lagoon’s waters are relatively shallow and completely calm, these are safe for the whole family.

The Knysna Heads are two massive mountains that flank a relatively narrow opening, where the waters of the Indian Ocean enter the lagoon. This entrance is sometimes serene and inviting, other times dramatic and powerful; but always impressive.

Knysna and its estuary are located on the exquisite Garden Route in the Western Cape Province. They are about six hours from Cape Town and three hours from Port Elizabeth.

Why not overnight? Find Accommodation in Knysna

Lagoon Lodges

Bed & Breakfast / Self Catering

Lagoon Lodges

Comfortable accommodation in Knysna with lovely views of the Lagoon towards Knysna Heads. All units and rooms have a TV ... more

Panorama Lodge

Guest House

Panorama Lodge

Panorama Lodge in Knysna, in the heart of the Garden Route is situated on a hilltop in a quiet area between Knysna town ... more

Cliffhanger Cottages

Self Catering

Cliffhanger Cottages

Cliffhanger Cottages are situated along the Rheenendal road and enjoy the peace of the unspoilt country, yet only a 15 ... more


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