Knysna Lakes Section in the Western Cape of South Africa forms the middle of the Garden Route National Park, linking the Tsitsikamma and Wilderness areas together.

Situated about 70 km from George it is surrounded by picturesque forests and mountains and provides endless entertainment for outdoor enthusiasts. One of the most famous trails on the Garden Route is situated in this section, the Outeniqua Hiking Trail which also offers shorter trails for day visitors. There are plenty of private tour operators that offer activities in the area such as cruises on the lake and wildlife encounters or the tourist can take a day trip into the Elephant Sanctuary to learn about the once large herds of Southern Cape Elephant that lived in this area.

It would be impossible to not visit the other two sections of the Garden Route National Park, Tsitsikamma and Wilderness sections, which are well worth the little bit of extra travelling.

Places to Visit

Things to do and see:

  • Knysna Heads
  • Altitude Paragliding
  • Island Lake Fishing
  • Garden Route Horse Trails
  • Outeniqua Hiking Trail
  • Emilio’s Art WorkshopKnysna Township Tours
  • Featherbed Nature Reserve
  • Big Tree
  • Lagoon Boat Cruise with Knysna Charters

Accommodation can be found at Tree Top Forest Chalet. Visitors must check in at Garden of Eden due to the geographical location of the chalets. Camping is available at the Forest Timber Camping Deck.


Recommended best time to visit – September to May

Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 12˚C and 28˚C

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 8˚C and 21˚C


Commercial Airlines offer flights into George Airport, Western Province the closest Airport to this region. The N2 will take you into the Knysna National Park area and car hire facilities are located at both Airports.


July – Knysana Oyster Festival: One of the most popular events in the Western Cape with Oyster catching competitions and other sports events.

July – George Cheese Festival: Approximately 10 000 visitors attends this festival each year for wine, brandy and whiskey tasting…..and of course Cheese!

December – Wilderness Beach Festival: A fundraiser hosted by the Wilderness Sea Rescue, this event is filled with fun sports and beach related activities.

More festivals can be attended in the surrounding areas, see Plettenberg Bay.


The history of Knysna comes from the indigenous timber forest and gold bearing mountains and shipping activity.

The Khoikhoi people were the early inhabitants of the area and they named the local river by a name that sounded like Knysna to the Europeans. Several translations of the word have been offered i.e. place of wood, fern leaves or simply straight down, referring to the steep cliffs we call the Knysna Heads.