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How to Book a Hotel in Knysna
In order to book an accommodation in Knysna enter the proper dates and do the hotel search. If needed, sort the found Knysna hotels by price, star rating, property type, guest rating, hotel features, hotel theme or hotel chain. Then take a look at the found hotels on Knysna map to estimate the distance from the main Knysna attractions and sights. You can also read the guest reviews of Knysna hotels and see their ratings.
When a hotel search in Knysna is done, please select the room type, the included meals and the suitable booking conditions (for example, "Deluxe double room, Breakfast included, Non-Refundable"). Press the "View Deal" ("Book Now") button. Make your booking on a hotel booking website and get the hotel reservation voucher by email. That's it, a perfect hotel in Knysna is waiting for you!
Hotels of Knysna
A hotel in Knysna is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Knysna hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Knysna are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Knysna hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Knysna hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Knysna have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:
Upscale luxury hotels in Knysna
An upscale full service hotel facility in Knysna that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Knysna hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.
Full service hotels in Knysna
Full service Knysna hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.
Historic inns and boutique hotels in Knysna
Boutique hotels of Knysna are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Knysna boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Knysna may be classified as luxury hotels.
Focused or select service hotels in Knysna
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Knysna travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Knysna focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.
Economy and limited service hotels in Knysna
Small to medium-sized Knysna hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Knysna traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Knysna hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.
Guest houses and B&Bs in Knysna
A bed and breakfast in Knysna is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Knysna bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Knysna B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.
Hostels in Knysna
Knysna hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Knysna hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.
Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Knysna
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Knysna hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Knysna lack an on-site restaurant.
Timeshare and destination clubs in Knysna
Knysna timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Knysna often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Knysna on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.
Motels in Knysna
A Knysna motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Knysna for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Knysna motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.
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Travelling and vacation in Knysna
"Bongani" redirects here. For people named Bongani, see Bongani (given name).
An aerial view of Knysna and its waterfront area, with the lagoon visible in the background to the right
Knysna (/ˈnaɪznə/; probably from a Khoikhoi word meaning "ferns") is a town with 51,078 inhabitants in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and is part of the Garden Route. It lies 34 degrees south of the equator, and is 72 kilometres east from the town of George on the N2 highway, and 25 kilometres west of Plettenberg Bay on the same road.
Little is known about the indigenous inhabitants of Knysna, the Khoikhoi. The area east of present-day George was separated by high mountains and deep gorges, making it virtually inaccessible to European travellers.
Knysna: European settlement
The SS Agnar tows an unknown sailing ship into Knysna Harbour in 1910.
Nevertheless, the first Europeans arrived in the area in 1760, and the farm Melkhoutkraal (literally translating from Afrikaans as 'milk wood kraal’) was established on the eastern shore of the Knysna Lagoon. Stephanus Terblans, the first European farmer to settle in the area, was given a loan permit to farm here in 1770.
Upon moving to Knysna George Rex, a British-born entrepreneur credited as being the founder of Knysna, acquired the loan rights to Melkhoutkraal in 1804 and later, in 1816, to the farm Welbedacht, which he renamed Eastford. He gave 80 acres (32 ha) of Eastford to the Colonial Government, on which the Royal Navy established the township of Melville. Rex’s properties were sold when he died in 1839.
In April 1817, the transport brig Emu, belonging to the Cape Town Dockyard, was the first European vessel to enter the Knysna heads. She struck a rock, now known as Emu Rock, and was holed. Her crew ran Emu ashore to prevent her sinking. In late April HMS Podargus arrived to render assistance. After surveying the area, Podargus sailed safely into the Knysna and retrieved Emu's cargo.
The next major settler in Knysna was Captain Thomas Henry Duthie, who married Caroline, George Rex’s daughter, and bought a portion of the Uitzigt farm from his father-in-law which Rex had named Belvidere. The construction of a small Norman-style church was commissioned by Duthie on his property, and was consecrated in 1855. The settlement’s population grew slowly, and Englishmen such as Henry Barrington and Lt. Col. John Sutherland, who established the settlement of Newhaven on a portion of purchased land, settled in the area. At the time, Knysna was a field cornetcy of Plettenberg Bay within the Magisterial Division of George. In 1858, Knysna became a separate Magisterial Division, new stores and accommodation facilities were opened, and Knysna became the new commercial centre of the region.
On their way to New Zealand, the Thesen family who were travelling from Norway fancied the little hamlet of Knysna so much that they decided to stay, bringing with them their knowledge of commerce and sailing. Soon, timber was being exported to the Cape from the vast areas of forest surrounding Knysna, and a steam sawmill and small shipyard were established. Later, these were relocated to Paarden Island, later known as Thesen's Island.
Knysna: Millwood Gold Rush
Millwood House Museum
In 1878, an important discovery was made in the area. A gold nugget was found in the Karatara River, near Ruigtevlei. Soon fortune hunters from all over the world arrived at the Millwood Forest in search of gold, and Millwood grew into a bustling town. Millwood was declared a gold field, the first in South Africa. However, soon not enough gold was being recovered to sustain a growing town, and the mining industry in the area collapsed. Some miners relocated to Knysna, bringing their little homes with them. One of the houses, known as 'Millwood House', now functions as a museum.
Knysna: Amalgamation and timber industry
By 1880 over 1000 people had settled in Knysna. In 1882, the settlements of Newhaven, Melville and the "wedge" of land between the two villages were amalgamated to form the municipality of 'The Knysna', named after the Knysna River.
Knysna's timber industry peaked when George Parkes arrived from Britain and saw the opportunity to use the hardwoods of the Knysna Forest for export to elsewhere in the country, and even overseas. He established the Knysna Forest Company, later renamed Geo. Parkes and Sons Ltd., which is still trading to this day.
Knysna: 2017 Knysna fire
On June 7th 2017, fueled by strong winds from a severe storm - the Cape Storm of 2017- coming in from the west, a fire swept through the town and surrounding areas. Killing 9 as a direct result of the fires and another 2 indirectly and displacing around 10,000 people from all walks of life. One Forensic Investigator believes it was a result of suspicious circumstances.
The town is primarily built on the northern shore of a large warm-water estuary, known as the Knysna Lagoon, which is fed by the Knysna River. The estuary opens to the ocean after passing between two large headlands. These are popularly known as "The Heads", and have become infamous due to the loss of boats and fishermen passing through their treacherous and unpredictable waters. The Paquita, a German vessel, sank on the eastern side of the Knysna Heads way back in 1903. Near them are geological formations, known locally as "The Map Stones." To the north of Knysna, Afro-Montane or temperate rainforest covers the hilly terrain for 20 km until changing to fynbos or macchia high in the Outeniqua Mountains.
Panorama of Knysna as viewed from Pezula Estate
Knysna has an oceanic climate (Cfb in the Köppen climate classification). Summers are hot and winters mild to chilly. During the summer, the average maximum temperature reaches about 25 °C (77 °F) and rarely goes above 30 °C (86 °F). The average maximum temperature during the winter months ranges in the area of 16 °C (61 °F) to 17 °C (63 °F). Knysna has one of the richest rainfall percentages in South Africa with the wettest time of year being between June and August. Knysna stays green in all seasons, and its temperate climate makes it a tourist destination all year round.
Climate data for Knysna
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average rainy days
Mean daily sunshine hours
Source #1: World Weather Online
Source #2: Holiday Weather.com
Knysna Primary School
Knysna High School
Heatherhill School - International curriculum
Stepping Stones (Grade 1–3)
Perci Madala Secondary School
Knysna Secondary School
Knysna town as viewed from Knysna Quays (waterfront)
The town is a popular destination for both tourists and senior citizens entering retirement, especially among the British and former expatriates due to the year-round warm climate. Recently, the town has also become a preferred destination among golfers, as the town boasts several world class golf courses, including Pezula Golf Course, Simola Golf Course and the well established Knysna Golf Course situated on the lagoon. It is near the towns of Plettenberg Bay and George, where there are airports. Knysna is also home to Mitchell's Brewery. The forest, rivers, estuary, and ocean surrounding the town are dotted with hiking trails and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. Hikers, runners, kayakers, swimmers, and fishermen are known to be particularly fond of Knysna.
Knysna: Annual events
Knysna hosts a variety of annual events, which draw local and international visitors alike. Such events include the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival in late June and/or early July; the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras at the end of April and/or beginning of May; the Knysna Speed Festival takes place in the first week of May, the highlight of the week being the Simola Hillclimb, currently sponsored by Jaguar South Africa. The Rastafarian Earth Festival takes place at the end of July, celebrating Rastafarian religion, culture and lifestyle.
Knysna: Knysna Oyster Festival
A view of the Knysna heads
The Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, held annually in late June/early July, is the town's biggest event. The duration of the festival is ten days. It was first held in 1983. Approximately 200,000 oysters are consumed over the 10-day period. Many sporting activities take place, such as rugby, golf, bowls, squash, cycling and marathons. The Knysna Forest Marathon and Half Marathon, as well as the Rotary Cycle Tour, draw many sporting enthusiasts to the town.
Knysna: Knysna Speed Festival
The best-known hillclimb event in South Africa is held annually in early May during the Knysna Speed Festival, currently known as The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb. It is a three-day event, with Classic Car Friday reserved for cars built prior to 1980 and restricted to 60 entries. The King of the Hill Challenge (limited to 84 entries), for unrestricted cars in various classes, takes place over the weekend. The Saturday is for practice and pre-qualifying, while Sunday features the "hot" cars taking on final qualifying and the final runs. The course length is 1.9 km (1.2 mi) up Simola Hill. It is very fast with the 2016 winning average speed being 176.991 km/h (109.977 mph).. 2017 will be the eighth running of the event which was founded in 2009. There was no event in 2013.
Bongani is a suburb of Knysna. According to the 2011 census it has a population of 2,283.
Knysna: Coats of arms
Knysna: Municipal arms
The Knysna municipality assumed a coat of arms in 1959, and registered them with the Cape Provincial Administration on 24 June 1960.
The arms, which were designed by Ivan Mitford-Barberton, are: Quarterly, I Or a white horse's head couped at the neck proper; II Azure a fern frond in bend sinister Argent; III Azure a yellowwood tree Or; IV Or an elephant's head caboshed proper (in layman's terms: the shield is quartered, 1 a white horse's head on a gold background, 2 a silver fern frond on a blue background, 3 a yellowwood tree on a blue background and 4 an elephant's head on a gold background). The crest is a sailing ship, and the motto Concilio et prudentia.
Knysna: Divisional council arms
The Knysna divisional council (the local authority for the rural areas outside the town) assumed a coat of arms in 1961 and registered them with the provincial administration on 28 July 1961.
The arms, designed by Schalk Pienaar, were: Per saltire, I Or on a mount Vert a stinkwood tree proper; II & III Argent three bars wavy Azure; IV Vert the brig Knysna proper the sails charged with two lions rampant Gules and pennants flotant Azure. In layman's terms: the shield is divided into four sections by two diagonal lines, the top section displays a stinkwood tree on a golden background, the left and right sections display three wavy blue stripes against a silver background, and the bottom section displays a brig named 'Knysna' with red lions on the sails and a blue pennant flying from the mast. The motto was Pulchra terra Dei donum.
Knysna: Notable people
Thomas Henry Duthie (1806–1857) – landowner, supervisor of Crown Forests and Lands
Rudolf Eric Koertzen (born 1949) – international cricket umpire
Caspar Lee (born 1994) – YouTube blogger, entertainer and comedian
Joshua Pieters (born 1993) - YouTube blogger and entertainer
D. C. S. Oosthuizen (1926–1969) – philosopher, critic of Apartheid; born here
Hjalmar Thesen - a naturalist writer whose the most famous novel is A Deadly Presence.
George Rex (1765–1839) – founder of Knysna, landowner and timber merchant
Eric Robinson (1891–1982) – opened first private veterinary practice in Knysna
William Smith – television science and mathematics teacher
Charles Wilhelm Thesen (1856–1940) – shipowner and timber merchant
Malachi Smith (1948-2012) - renowned painter
Knysna: See also
Knysna Municipality, Western Cape
Knysna-Amatole montane forests
Knysna Yacht Club
List of heritage sites in Knysna
"Chronological order of town establishment in South Africa based on Floyd (1960:20–26)" (PDF). pp. xlv–lii.
"Main Place Knysna". Census 2011.
Volume 6 Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa (Nasionale Opvoedkundige Uitgewery 1972)
du Plessis, E.J. (1973). Suid-Afrikaanse berg- en riviername. Tafelberg-uitgewers, Cape Town. p. 250. ISBN 0-624-00273-X.
Knysna Historical Society
Asiatic Journal and Monthly Miscellany, (1818), Vol. 6, p.317.
Horsburgh (1826), Vol. 1, p.196.
Travel Journal of Thomas Henry Duthie, 5 December 1830