Knysna lagoon with boat in water

Best adventure activities in Knysna

The small seaside town of Knysna is a popular destination for tourists who want to explore a bit further afield than Cape Town. Knysna is a five-and-a-half-hour drive from Cape Town along the southern coastline, but there are regular flights between the two airports. The surrounding area consists of stunning coastlines, indigenous forests, rivers, lakes, fynbos, and mountains with a moderate climate throughout the year.


Knysna is an adventurer’s dream destination; the combination of sea, lagoons, forests and mountains means that there are a number of activities to try. Visitors can take part in guided tours of the forest, explore a number of hiking trails or partake in an up-close whale watching encounter. Here are some other adventure activities to do in Knysna:


Embark on a sunset cruise


Knysna has some of the most beautiful waters to explore. The whole town is built around the Knysna Lagoon, but there are numerous other waterways and features to explore. One of the most well-known of these features are the Knysna Heads – two sandstone cliffs that flank the entrance to the lagoon.


There are sunset cruises that sail out to the Heads when the weather is good. This gives visitors a unique view of the two cliff faces above the ocean-lagoon divide. The sights and sounds from the water offer a chance for guests to experience the drama of the surrounding landscape without having to get wet. These cruises also offer snacks and champagne for the guests.


Take a walk in an authentic forest


Knysna is well-known for its greenery – the surrounding forests are lush, dense and untouched. They were once home to herds of wild Knysna elephants, but only a couple of these majestic and secretive creatures are thought to remain. These forests comprise of mainly yellowwood and stinkwood trees surrounded by indigenous shrubs and fynbos. 


The hiking trails are well-marked, so if you’d prefer not to go along with a guide, you can explore the forests without getting lost. There are so many trails to choose from – some are short and easy, others can take a few hours to traverse. One of the best trails is the ‘Circles in a Forest’ route that winds through 9km of greenery. This trail can take a couple of hours to explore and leads adventurers to some of the last surviving yellowwood giants.


Kayak around the lagoons and canals


There is a residential marina located in the middle of the Knysna Lagoon which offers many canals and channels to explore. This marina, called Thesen Island, was developed to offer 19 man-made islands for residential housing as well as a safe space for the endangered Knysna seahorse.


The network of canals offers a pleasant waterway for kayaking and canoeing. The channels are protected from the wind and there are no waves that could rock your boat. This adventure activity is more leisurely and perfectly-suited to visitors looking for a calm day out. Kayaks can be hired from The Turbine Hotel’s adventure centre.


Drive along Prince Alfred’s Pass


This is an amazing journey for any motorhead that likes to explore mountain passes, whether in a car or on a motorbike. Prince Alfred’s Pass heads north from Knysna and passes over the Outeniqua Mountains towards Avontuur. From the centre of Knysna, head east on the N2 for about 6km. You will see the R339 turning to the left. Take this turning and you will find yourself winding through green forests before coming to Prince Alfred’s Pass. 


The 69km dirt road is full of steep switchbacks and winding turns that offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Be sure to stop at the Spitskop outlook to get a view of the upcoming mountain on the route and, if you’re lucky, you may spot a bright green Knysna turaco hopping around the tree canopy.


These are a few of the most relaxing adventure activities to try in Knysna. Visitors are often left awe-inspired by the beautiful scenery and rawness of the surrounding environment. Knysna should be on the radar for any tourist visiting the Western Cape. Cape Town Villas has a number of accommodation options in Knysna, so chat to one of our local experts to get more information.



Cape Town Villas has over 17 years of experience in the hospitality industry. We are based in Cape Town and, as locals, we can offer guests the best options and advice for accommodation and holiday experiences. Cape Town Villas can provide surety and a guarantee that our properties are of world-class standards


Our properties are located all around Cape Town and the Western Cape, including Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. As these properties are owned by different people, we operate on an inquiry-only basis. Get in touch with one of our Villa experts for all the information you will need.


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