Knysna National Lake Area

Knysna National Lake Area is home to the endangered Knysna seahorse. The beautiful Knysna National Lakes Area lies about 500km from Cape Town, 300km from Port Elizabeth and about 70km from George, the nearest town with an airport.

If travelling by car, you will be pleased to know that the road between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth has been upgraded making it an absolute pleasure to drive the Garden Route.

Although the Knysna National Lake Area is not a national park, it is monitored by the South African National Parks Board (SANParks) who ensure that any development in this highly sensitive ecological area is environmentally friendly. The moderate climate and attractions of the town of Knysna itself make for a wonderful holiday destination.

The Knysna National Lakes Area is home to a large diversity of animal life, including water-borne creatures, land based animals and birds. The endangered Knysna seahorse clings to plants with its tail and actually changes colour to match its surroundings. Along the sandbanks and marshes the plant and animal life are an essential part of the sensitive ecosystem, and further out to sea, beyond the Knysna Heads, whales and dolphins can often be seen frolicking in the waters. There is fabulous scenery in this part of Knysna, and the indigenous forest, lagoon and river mouth add to the glorious views. The forest is home to beautiful species of woodland birds including the redbilled woodhoopoe, the Knysna woodpecker and the doublecollared sunbird amongst many others. The area is home to one of the largest populations of the threatened African black oystercatcher.

Hire a boat and enjoy a relaxing trip on the lagoon. Inexperienced skippers should bear in mind that much of the lagoon is shallow and that they should keep to the marking buoys to remain in deeper waters. Also, be sure not to exit the lagoon as this will take you straight through the heads and in to the ocean! Other wonderful activities include hiking in the Harkerville Forest, with shorter walks like the Garden of Eden and the Kranshoek Viewpoint. For longer walks there is the Kranshoek Coastal Day-Walk and the two-day Harkerville Coast Hiking Trail takes walking through coastal fynbos and incredible cliff-edge scenery. There are also excellent mountain biking trails and horse riding trails throughout the forest.

Did You Know? Knysna forest elephants were hunted to near-extinction. There is only one left – a grumpy old lady elephant who has rejected friendship from other elephants brought into the area.