The rugged scenery and gem-hued waters of the Knysna Lagoon attract many visitors to this scenic part of South Africa’s famed Garden Route. View the rugged headlands, which mark the narrow entrance to the lagoon, follow hiking trails along the lagoon edge and step aboard a boat for a scenic cruise out on the lagoon.
Divided from the wilder open seas by two cliffs that extend out into the water, Knysna Lagoon is relatively calm. The entrance to the lagoon, however, is anything but and many ships have been wrecked trying to navigate their way into harbor here. As you watch the surging sea crash into the cliffs of the heads, imagine how it would feel to try and steer a vessel through this dangerous entryway.
Take advantage of the gentle conditions by embarking on a yacht, catamaran or motor boat tour and floating around the lagoon. Admire views of the headlands, which denote the boundaries of the lagoon.
Several water-dwelling species can also be spotted during boat excursions on the lagoon. Look for various whale species, including humpbacks and southern rights, breaching the surface between July and December. Dolphins can be seen here year-round.
For something more active, attempt a variety of watersports in the lagoon waters. Paddle around the lagoon on a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Or, try something more fast-paced such as kite surfing or waterskiing. You can also go swimming here.
Of course, it’s possible to soak up the stunning lagoon scenery without ever getting wet. Follow nature trails around Featherbed Nature Reserveor drive to the Eastern Head View Point to watch the waves crash into the rocks and take photographs of the spectacular coastal landscape.
Several coffee shops and restaurants are located on the headland overlooking the lagoon. Sit on terrace with a sea view and enjoy a hot drink, a wine from the region or a meal of locally sourced produce.
Knysna Lagoon is on South Africa’s Garden Route in the Western Cape Province. Driving from Cape Town will take around 5 hours and 40 minutes.