Last week Lené and I had our first decent holiday in 18 months. We took a four-day trip to Knysna. We asked Lené’s parents to look after Elke and predictably they were more than happy to oblige.
We stayed at the 4-star Knysna Quays hotel. I would say the Hotel is OK. The ground staff were friendly, but the receptionist wasn’t. I don’t know if it was because we spoke Afrikaans or because we’re South-African (maybe they’re more used to foreign tourists). The rooms are nice, but other 4-star hotels I stayed in had much bigger rooms. The best thing about the hotel was its proximity to the Knysna Waterfront. It really is a 2-minute walk.
Places we visited were:
The famous Knysna Heads. It is really beautiful area, but I find it depressing that the whole Eastern side is so built up. There are these ugly jutting mansions all over the stunning rocks. I wouldn’t want to live there and I probably won’t go there again. I think this demonstrates pretty well where we are going wrong with residential developments.
Leisure Island. A very pleasant place. Large properties with really classy houses and big lawns. Also very close to the water. And a nice art gallery as well.
Knysna Waterfront. Nice vibe, but surprisingly quiet. The eateries were good. The shopping was very touristy. Not the way I like to shop. I don’t think the area works as well out of season as anticipated. In season I’m sure it goes nuts.
Knysna Town Centre & Information Office. Very impressive. The centre feels alive even in the middle of week. There is much to do and to see. The shopping is excellent and the well-looked after displays make you feel as if people care about the environment. The Knysna tourism office is the benchmark. The location is excellent and the office itself has strong branding and a good layout. It works! People meander in and out as if its another shop. It makes me green with envy.
Thesen Island. I wouldn’t live here in a million years! Not a blade of grass to be seen and no swimming access to the water (even if you did want to swim in the dirty water). The flats are one on top of the other with no character. The mind boggles as to why someone would want to live there. The only good thing is the shopping and the eating. They have some impressive but expensive shops. The restaurants are the same. We ate at the famous Ile de Pain (means Bread Island). Food was awesome, but outrageously expensive.
Knysna Meuseum. Not that much to see, but still worth a visit. It used to be the old gaol and they have restored one of the cells. This and the plan of the original goal gives you a real sense of what it used to be like. There is also some interesting stuff about Knysna, George Rex & The Thesens. The old photographs are also worth a look.
Belvidere. Beautiful place next to the lagoon on the Western side. Not much to do, but I expect that is what the locals want. There are some stunning houses on huge properties.
Lake Brenton. A very nice campsite on the shores of the Knysna Lagoon. We might visit this again with the kids and family in future.
Brenton-on-Sea. Reminds me of Cape St. Francis, one of my favourite places. Also the signage is Afrikaans; which warms my heart right up. 🙂 Only negative is how far away from the beach you are. Because of this Cape St. Francis still wins hands down.
Sedgefield & Lake Pleasant. A nice place with a fantastic beach. Quiet when we were there. The Lake Pleasant Bistro was recommended to us by a friend. It turned out to be a winner. The food was outstanding; the staff was friendly and the view was unbeatable. I can definitely recommend it.
George Pro Shop. A strange place for a holiday I know! But I needed some gear and well… we were in the vicinity. 😉 The staff were great – much better than Port Elizabeth’s Pro Shop – and they allowed me to test out some equipment on their driving range before I bought. I ended up buying a whole lot.
Millwood. I did the Outeniqua Hiking Trail 15 years ago so I was really keen to see if it was still the same. To me the Knysna Bush, as written about by Dalene Mathee, is one of the most beautiful parts of the world so I love it here. Millwood now has a charming coffee shop combined with a museum that is definitely worth a visit.
All in all it was a very rewarding trip. I will visit the area again, but next time I’ll give Thesen Island and the Waterfront a skip. The one disappointment was that the Knysna Choo-Choo (a scenic train troute) was out of action. Hopefully next time that will work again.