While I’m convinced that Knysna is more of a sleepy village than a bustling town, it’s still an excellent place to spend a day – or more, if you’re lucky. There’s a list of activities and attractions along the Garden Route, but spending one day in Knysna is an absolute must when visiting.
When we visited on our honeymoon, we stayed at the Cliffhanger Cottages, which was just a short drive out of town. While we divided our week up between enjoying the surrounding nature and experiencing other things to do along the Garden Route, we chose to dedicate a full day in Knysna itself.
And we were not disappointed.
Here’s how we suggest you enjoy your time in this green, friendly town.
24 hours in Knysna itinerary suggestion
Hopefully, you’re as lucky as we are and get to stay along the Rheenendal Ramble, or at least close by. There are many fantastic places to stay in Knysna, so basing yourself nearby will allow an early start.
7 am: Brisk morning walk in Jubilee Creek
A few kilometres off Rheenendal road is the Jubilee Creek Nature Reserve. You’ll pay just under R40 to enter the reserve, and then drive (or walk) up to the creek. On the way, you’ll pass the Dalene Matthee Big Tree. You can stop here, take in the magic, and start one of the hiking trails from here as well.
Or, simply continue driving all the way up to the creek. Either way, an early morning hike through the dense forest is bound to be the ultimate way to wake up.
9 am: Late breakfast at Totties Farm Kitchen
You could not find a more spectacular corner to enjoy breakfast. Totties Farm Kitchen is along Rheenendal, on the way to town. From the outside, it looks like an ancient petrol stop. But inside – think tea in the secret garden!
The portions here are massive, and the food is that heart-warming, homey type that makes us all happy.
10 am: Photo stop at the Red Bridge
Once the only way to get from the Phantom Pass into Knysna, the Red Bridge is a pedestrian-only bridge. It’s just a short drive from the N2 on the Phantom Pass.
You’ll have to park your car and walk about a kilometre down a gravel road to reach the bridge. On a clear day, you’ll likely find many a cyclist and other visitors enjoying the views.
11 am: Coffee stop at the Tin House Cafe
You need to buy some time for our next stop, and there are many places you can sit and wait it out – but I’d suggest Tin House. Rumour has it they have some of the best coffee in Knysna! Only one way to check if the rumours are true…
12:30 pm: Take a lunchtime cruise
Whatever you do, do not miss this opportunity! A lagoon cruise on any of the Featherbed Co. boats is an absolute must.
We took the John Benn, which ended up being a slow 1.5-hour long cruise through the lagoon. We went up to the heads and then turned around and went back. All the way, we enjoy insights and informational facts about the featherbed and Knysna in general – over an intercom speaker.
On the cruise, there were 2 storeys, we chose to sit at the top for the views. There was a bar on each storey, and a full lunch menu available. The most popular food on order was the renowned Knysna Oysters. But since neither the Beer Guy nor myself are really into slithering seafood, we opted for the chicken schnitzel. Served with chips or salad, it was really good!
I must just note, that the booking process for this was slightly confusing. I went onto their website and clicked on Book Now for our chosen cruise. And then I thought we were booked – but hadn’t heard anything from them. So I phoned them, and it turns out the ‘book now’ is actually ‘enquire now’. Which just means they send you an email with the info that you find on the website.
So – if you’re going to book I suggest you phone them: +27 (0)44 382-1693 and book your cruise. You pay at the Cruise Cafe, which is where the cruises depart from.
2:30 pm: Knysna Fine Art
Immerse yourself in a bit of a culture lesson and pop in to view some of the fascinating works of art in the Knysna Fine Art museum.
3:30 pm: Millwood House Museum
Enjoy a bit more beauty at the Millwood House. A quaint building sitting under a gorgeous Jacaranda tree, with some spectacular items on display. You won’t regret an hour here.
4:30 pm: Drinks at the Red Bridge Brewery
Of course, my very own Cape Beer Guy could not visit Knysna without stopping in at their very own brewery. Luckily, this rustic bar/brewery was a welcomed refuge on our rainy evening in Knysna.
Not only do they serve their very own beers in bottles and on tap (which are brewed right in the back), but they also had some delicious pink Knysna Gin on tap too.
We had the best chat with the owner Carl. He imparted some wisdom on how best to enjoy Knysna with us, and we got to soak in the atmosphere.
There’s also a small cafe in the front of the property, which not only has some great-smelling coffee (yes, the gin distracted my caffeine addiction), but they also had some delicious-looking treats. Homemade rusks, biscuits, and lemon curd, to name a few.
6 pm: Dinner at The Bell Tavern
This old world English pub is located in the Belvedere Hotel. It may be the smallest pub in Knysna, but it’s still quite a popular one. Enjoy a delicious dinner along with magnificent views, and the most welcoming atmosphere.
I can’t think of a better way to end the day.
Here’s an easy Knysna map to follow for the day:
You may have noticed that this itinerary doesn’t include much adventure activity. That’s mostly because we’d rather browse a museum than go ziplining. But there are tons of more active things to do in Knysna. However, if you’re more like me – this day will be the perfect blend of nature, coffee, and culture.