Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Knysna, South Africa

Knysna living is paradise living, South Africa

By Francini Van Staden

Knysna in South Africa’s popular Garden Route district is equally loved and appreciated by locals and
international travelers.  But experiencing Knysna like a true local is the key, and here is how to do just that (and if it sounds idyllic, it’s because it truly is idyllic!).
Knysna is known for its heavenly natural setting below the Outeniqua Mountains and indigenous forests and the waves of the Indian Ocean.  With its Mediterranean weather, Knysna offers outdoor and adventure activities throughout the year.  Find yourself with locals hiking in the Featherbed Nature Reserve overlooking the Indian Ocean or paragliding for the more adventurist at heart.  For a closer experience with the indigenous forest where elephants once roamed freely, look out for the canopy gliding activities at the Tsitsikamma Forest about 45 minutes outside of Knysna.

Knysna also offers you the opportunity to sit back and relax, while you are enjoying nature’s best.  Guarding the entrance to Knysna from the Indian Ocean is the Knysna Heads - the two large impressive cliffs serving as gateway to the open ocean while protecting the inland lagoon.  Plenty of restaurants and bars in and around the Waterfront offer world class cuisine and drinks.  Most of the restaurants have made this beautiful natural setting their focus point, offering outdoor seating overlooking the lagoon and ocean.
Knysna’s waterfront is the hub of town with quaint little shops, accommodation, restaurants and other activities on offer.  The waterfront is also the departure point for boats and cruise trips out to the Heads or Featherbed Nature Reserve.  A trip aboard one of the local catamarans is a firm favorite especially during peak summer time.
On Saturday mornings, a visit to the Wild Oats Farmer’s Market outside of
town is a regular and highly recommended activity.  The locals know they should be at the market early – it’s a huge attraction amongst international travelers so best be there early!  On offer at the market is the district’s best and freshly baked breads, croissants, cakes and tarts.  Fill your basket with organic harvests while you wait for your hearty breakfast to be prepared.  The market under the milkwood trees is always a buzz with friends catching up over coffee and breakfast, travelers experiencing local life and families buying groceries and gifts.
And where do you catch the locals after a day’s work?  Most probably relaxing at Buffalo Bay Beach or kayaking along the Knysna Lagoon.  After sunset, find the locals at one of the pubs and bars along the main street.  For those with a more sophisticated taste, the Waterfront and Knysna Quays offer cocktail lounges.

Another special place is the Knysna Elephant Park.  The park honors the elephants that used to live in the Knysna Forests.  Sadly, these giants of the forests were hunted to near extinction early in the 20th century and it is said that a single elephant remains roaming the forest today.  Today, the Knysna Elephant Park offers a safe haven for elephants from around southern Africa and many locals take pride in the work done by the park for elephant conservation.  With a number of tame elephants at the park, elephant riding, feeding and interacting are encouraged.  Getting so close to these giants of the African bush is a unique experience and comes highly recommended.
With all the outdoor activities, oceans, animals and culinary feasts aside, Knysna remains a respected place for arts and culture.  Choices for browsing uniquely South African arts and crafts in and around Knysna are endless.  On offer is a wide variety of arts and crafts from outdoor craft stalls to impressive galleries.  Whatever your budget, you will be sure to find something fitting to your personal art taste.
The typical Knysna citizen is a nature lover, living close to nature and enjoying free time in the parks, lagoon and oceans surrounding the Knysna.  The typical Knysna citizen is also a festival lover – the highlight on the local festival calendar is the annual Oyster Festival, bringing joyous activities and cuisine every winter.
Knysna truly offers a world of experience and adventure, no wonder it is considered as one of South Africa’s most loved destinations!  And with friendly locals, travelers will feel equally at home in this paradise setting.

No comments:

Post a Comment