Top 10 Things to Do in Knysna with Kids

Knysna, like the rest of the gorgeous Garden Route, is one of South Africa‘s most beautiful places to explore. Here, wildlife and nature preservation, excellent outdoor activities and lovely accommodation, restaurants and local offerings abound.

Whether you explore the town itself – or branch out into the forests, natural spaces and local gems that encircle it, you are in for an incredible time.

Because Knysna and its immediate surrounds are one of the most family-friendly destinations in South Africa, everyone gets to enjoy quality time and fun together.

 

Things to do in Knysna with kids

1) Head for a Family Outing at Jubilee Creek

Families can enjoy some outdoor exercise and bonding time at Jubilee Creek, a favourite picnic site among locals and visitors alike. With safe lawns, gorgeous surroundings, picnic benches, braai facilities and toilets, it has everything you need for a day’s picnicking.

The pretty picnic site is located on the river banks of Milkwood Creek, within the Garden Route National Park. So the setting is understandably peaceful and naturally stunning.

It is found in two forest clearings, alongside the stream and is popular among young families, especially as the stream offers safe splash fun.

Situated within Knysna’s beautiful Gouveld Forest, Jubilee Creek offers a tranquil picnic and short walk experience ideal for families.

The easy, one-hour Jubilee Creek Walk (3.6km in distance) starts and ends back at the popular picnic spot. It takes you along the path that miners used to tread. There is even a beautiful, yet apparently icy swimming hole at the end, to reward your efforts.

Jubilee Creek Contact Info

Opening hours: Please contact +27 (0)44 302 5600 for the Park’s Knysna Lake Section opening hours.

Activity rates: A SANParks entry fee is required – but the experience is otherwise free. Please find the daily rates here.

Tel: +27 (0)44 302 5600

Email: grace.valela@sanparks.org

Web: sanparks.org

2) Walk Among Giants at Knysna Elephant Park

Established in 1994, the Knysna Elephant Park offers a safe haven to local elephants, while also allowing visitors to safely encounter these majestic giants. Over the years, they have raised more than forty orphaned elephants.

Here, visitors can enjoy family-friendly nature walks with the elephants; the chance to meet the herd up close (accompanied by professional guides) and more.

The activities are family-friendly and free to children under 5 when accompanied by an adult.

The park also has a restaurant and shop in Indlovu Café and Curio Shop, as well as luxurious accommodation in the beautiful Elephant Nature Lodge.

Situated between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, it ensures the perfect day trip.

Knysna Elephant Park Contact Info

Opening hours: The park is open 365 days a year, from 09:00 – 16:00 daily.

Activity rates: Rates vary depending on the activity and/or accommodation offering. For more information, please visit their website or contact them directly.

Tel: +27 (0)72 290 7238

Email: (general enquiries) info@knysnaelephantpark.co.za or (bookings) bookings@knysnaelephantpark.co.za

Web: knysnaelephantpark.co.za

3) Hit the Beach at Bollard Bay Beach

Bollard Bay Beach is Leisure Isle’s secret beach… Here, set on the famous Knysna Lagoon, families can enjoy safe, peaceful swimming and fun.

With its pristine, sandy white shoreline and aqua waters, Bollard Beach is very pretty.

As there are few currents or waves here, it offers safe swimming in the shallows, making it perfect for kids to enjoy too.

The beach is also popular among dog walkers… Meaning you can bring your pup along for the outing!

Bollard Bay Beach Contact Info

Opening hours: This Leisure Isle beach is open to the public daily and is free to visit.

Tel: +27  (0) 44 382 5510 (Knysna Tourism)

Email: info@visitknysna.co.za

Web: visitknysna.co.za

4) Embark on a Lagoon Cruise with Paddle Cruiser Experience

Featherbed Co. offers a selection of unique Knysna experiences… and one of the loveliest is surely a lagoon cruise aboard the Paddle Cruiser.

As South Africa’s only paddle-driven vessel, the Paddle Cruiser is truly one-of-a-kind. It offers guests the chance to enjoy a lunch- or dinner-experience, as they cruise in style from the Lagoon to the Knysna Heads.

Choose between a 1 1.5 hour (lunchtime) cruise or a 2-hour (dinner) cruise. Both cruise options are suitable for children.

Soak up incredible views, as you enjoy a fun cruise with your family!

Featherbed Co. (Paddle Cruiser Experience) Contact Info

Opening hours: The cruise runs seven days a week, year-round, except on Christmas Day. However, all departures are subject to weather conditions and meeting the minimum passenger requirement of 10 guests or more.

Departure times are as follows:

Lunchtime cruise: 13:00

Dinner cruise: (Winter) 17:45. (Summer) 18:15.

(Other times are available for groups of 10 or more.)

Activity rates:

Lunchtime Cruise (optional a la carte and tapas menu available): R290 per adult. R150 per child for children ages 4 – 15.

Dinner Cruise (includes buffet dinner): R550 per adult. R180 per child for children ages 4 – 15.

Tel: +27 (0) 44 382 1693

Email: bookings@featherbed.co.za

Web: knysnafeatherbed.com

5) Ride a Scooter in the Forest with Knysna Scotours

If you are looking for an incredible forest experience (minus the walking!), then Knysna Scotours is for you.

With them, guests enjoy a professionally guided, family-friendly outing. Best of all, the scooters are non-motorised, making them eco-friendly!

Enjoy a unique, rather exhilarating Monster Mountain Scooter ride in the indigenous Knysna forest, set within the beautiful Garden Route National Park.

As you ride, take in the sights and sounds of the forest and keep an eye out for local wildlife.

Please note: Although family-friendly, drivers must be ten years and up to balance and ride on their own scooter. Otherwise, they can ride with an adult, thanks to the Junior Passenger ticket option.

Knysna Scotours Contact Info

Opening hours: Tours departures run as follows: 09:00 – 11:00; 12:00-14:00; and 15:00 – 17:00. All tours depart from Sirocco Restaurant at Thesen Island, Knysna.

Activity rates:

Solo Ticket (ages 10 and up): R490

Junior Passenger Ticket: R290

Tel: +27 (0)79 148 3751

Email: knysna@scootours.co.za

Web: scootours.co.za

6) Visit Beautiful Buffalo Bay

Buffalo Bay lies nestled halfway between Knysna and Sedgefield – and you could call it something of local hidden gem… It is a must for anyone visiting Knysna and surrounds.

This small, seaside village offers plenty of charm and incredible natural beauty. Especially with its gorgeous stretches of beach and surrounding coastline. It also offers safe swimming, SUP boarding, beach fun and excellent surfing too.

For those seeking a holiday destination or weekend escape, Buffalo Bay is perfect.

Buffalo Bay Contact Info

Tel: +27 (0)83 260 6644 (Colleen Harding – Explore Knysna)

Email: info@exploreknysna.com

Web: exploreknysna.com

7) Enjoy Family-friendly Dining at East Head Café

Considered a local landmark, East Head Café also happens to be one of Knysna’s best, most popular eateries.

Additionally, it is both beautiful and hugely family-friendly, making it an incredible restaurant offering.

Situated on the rocks of the famous Eastern Head, East Head Café enjoys glorious views. Including of the iconic Knysna Heads, blue lagoon and surrounding fynbos-covered hills and cliffsides too.

This charming place offers guests good food and wine in a lovely restaurant setting, with both indoor and outdoor seating options. They also have a great outdoor kiddies’ play area.

East Head Café Contact Info

Opening hours: Closed on Mondays, as well as on 25 December and 1 January. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 09:00 – 15:00 – and Sundays from 08:00 – 15:00.

Please note: They do not work on advance reservations or bookings.

Tel: +27 (0) 44 384 0933

Email: info@easthead.co.za

Web: eastheadcafe.co.za

8) Explore Featherbed Nature Reserve

Featherbed Nature Reserve is a privately-owned, registered nature reserve and South African Heritage Site. But don’t worry – you can still visit it, thanks to Featherbed Co.’s fun ferry trip.

This pristine paradise suffered great damage in the 2017 fires that ravaged Knysna. Yet, over time – with nature’s healing and hard work – this gorgeous spot has made a stunning comeback and is as beautiful as ever.

Join Featherbed Co. for an amazing ferry trip to Featherbed Nature Reserve, which is found on the Western Head. It is a wonderful family-friendly outing, suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

Your return ferry trip includes a 4×4 vehicle and trailer drive up the headland to the reserve; a specialist guide sharing insights on local flora and fauna; a stunning buffet lunch at the outdoor restaurant setting under the Milkwood trees and optional 2.2km walk through coastal forest and fynbos to the ancient sea caves.

Featherbed Nature Reserve – Ferry Trip Contact Info

Opening hours: The ferry trip runs seven days a week, year-round, except on Christmas Day. However, all departures are subject to weather conditions and meeting the minimum passenger requirement of 10 guests or more. Tours depart from Featherbed Ferry Terminus on Remembrance Drive, off Waterfront Drive.

Tour departure times:

08h30; 14h30 (3-hour trip – special request groups)

10h00; 11h30; 12h30 (high season) (4-hour trip – lunch included)

Activity rates:

3-hour Eco Experience trip (excluding buffet lunch): R575 per adult. R135 per child for children ages 4-15.

4-hour Eco Experience trip (including buffet lunch): R780 per adult. R200 per child for children ages 4-15.

Tel: +27 (0)44 382 1693

Email: bookings@featherbed.co.za

Web: knysnafeatherbed.com

9) Discover Knysna’s Very Own Garden of Eden

Another gem found within the Garden Route National is the Garden of Eden.

This wonderful wet high forest offers great, short walks and flora sightings for young and old. It is considered by many to be one of the region’s most beautiful, lush parts of the Knysna forest.

Disappear into the natural beauty of this incredible place and enjoy some outdoor bonding with your loved ones.

Inside, you will find tables and wooden benches, perfect for a picnic. There is also a 800-metre trail, suitable for wheelchairs; this route is marked on the map.

Garden of Eden Contact Info

Opening hours: The garden is only open during certain hours. These are dependent on seasonal factors – so check ahead with the local tourism office or SANParks before visiting on +27 (0)44 302 5600/06.

Activity rates: A SANParks entry fee is required – but the experience is otherwise free. Please find the daily rates here.

Tel: +27 (0)44 302 5600/06

Email: grace.valela@sanparks.org

Web: sanparks.org

10) Immerse Yourself in Nature at Goukamma Nature Reserve

Found between Knysna and Sedgefield, Goukamma Nature Reserve is another unmissable family nature attraction near Knysna.

Covering some 2 500 hectares of dense coastal forest and home to a wide variety of local wildlife and birdlife, Goukamma is a beautiful place to visit.

You can enjoy a picnic or braai; seasonal flower spotting; nature walks and hiking (hikes require a permit); canoeing; horse riding; seasonal whale watching and self-catering accommodation too.

Goukamma Nature Reserve Contact Info

Opening hours: Cape Nature office hours are 07:00 – 18:00. Check-in times for overnight guests are strictly 14:00 – 16:00.

Activity rates: Outside of the reserve entry fees, activity rates vary depending on the chosen activity and/or accommodation offering. Please contact Cape Nature directly for this information.

Tel: +27 (0)44 383 0042/ (0)87 087 8250 (accommodation and permit bookings)

Email: reservation.alert@capenature.co.za

Web: capenature.co.za

 

These are just ten of the incredible (largely outdoor) experiences and family-friendly outings you can enjoy in Knysna…

Which is top of your to-do list?

Tamlyn Amber Ryan
Tamlyn Amber Ryan

Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.

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