A brief overview of the villages and districts in our municipality.
The town of Knysna lies on the northern and eastern shores of the Knysna Estuary (or Knysna Lagoon). This is where most of our population lives – so naturally it's also where you'll find our largest shopping precincts, most of our restaurants, and many of our accommodation establishments and events venues, as well as our hospitals, and most of our schools, municipal offices, etc. What makes it unique though, are the Estuary and its famous mouth – The Heads – which are managed by SANParks as part of the Garden Route National Park. (Which is unique, too – it's the only community park of its kind in the country, and it includes more 160,000 hectares of wilderness across our municipal area, as well as those of our neighbours to the west and the east: from Wilderness to the Tsitsikamma).
- The Knysna Estuary (Knysna Lagoon). The river mouth - the Knysna Heads - is situated at 34˚ 04.752South and 23˚ 03.545East; the Estuary's tidal water area covers about 20 km².
- Two residential islands Leisure Isle (accessible to the public, with public parks and beaches) and Thesen Islands (a gated community built around canals that lead into the Lagoon).
- Waterfront shopping, restaurants, hotels, and homesas well as berths for boats and yachts - at The Waterfront, Knysna, and at Thesen Harbour Town.
- A central business district (CBD) and industrial area (mainly light manufacturing) for a total of about 1,600 businesses.
- Historic buildings dating back to the colonial era including the landmark stone St George Churches (Anglican) on Main Street. For the stories of all historic buildings identified by the Knysna Historical Society, please see openplaques.org.
- School fields and sports fields. Loerie Park municipal sports complex (for example) has cricket, football, rugby, hockey tennis, and squash facilities.
- Golf courses Knysna Golf Club (18-hole, par 72, club house); Pezula Championship Course (18-holes, par 72) and Conrad Pezula Resort & Spa (hotel); Simola Golf & Country Estate (18-holes, par 72, hotel);
- Tourism is one of the main drivers of Knysna's economy. For details of event venues, restaurants, accommodation, festivals, events, activities, and adventures in the municipal area.
A small town wedged between the banks of the Swartvlei Lagoon (in the Garden Route National Park) and the Groenvlei lake (in Cape Nature's Goukamma Nature Reserve).
Sedgefield is famous for its beaches and its many mosaic statues (an art tourism project by the Masithandane public benefit organisation), and popular for its outdoor activities.
It's also Africa's first Citaslow Town, and presents its Sedgefield Slow Festival annually in April.
- Garden Route National Park – Swartvlei Lagoon (birding, water sports – petrol-powered boats allowed);
- Goukamma Nature Reserve – Groenvlei (the only fresh water lake in the Garden Route's Lake District. Birding, bass fishing. No petrol-powered boats.) Hiking paths through coastal fynbos and coastal forest.
- Beaches: the 7km Swartvlei Beach (which straddles the Swartvlei River Mouth), and Goukamma Beach (12 km – from Swartvlei to the Goukamma River Mouth) are contiguous.
- Houses: holiday homes, residences, beach-front properties, waterfront homes (on The Island, Swartvlei).
- Shops: the shopping precinct is situated south and north of the N2 National Road
- Rivers (Karatara, Goukamma)
- Mountain views
- Pine plantations
The Rheenendal area (centred about 25 km from Knysna's CBD) is a way point on the 7-Passes Road (the historic, scenic, gravelled route from Knysna to George). Rheenendal is the gateway to the indigenous forests at Goudveld in the Garden Route National Park.
- Rheenendal is known for its village store, petrol station, and country-style eatery (Tottie's Farm Kitchen)
- Goudveld Forests (Garden Route National Park): indigenous forests, hiking trails, cycling routes, picnic sites. Goudveld was the site of South Africa's first commercial gold fields. Remaining features include adits (mining tunnels), a collection of restored mining equipment, and the Materoli (the last building let from the mining village that thrived here for just two years in the 1880s).
- Homtini Pass (also known as the Goukamma River Pass) on the 7-Passes Road (a gravelled pass surrounded by indigenous forests)
- Farming (dairy, crops), small holdings, pine plantations
- Mountain views
Buffalo Bay (Buffelsbaai)
This seaside holiday village adjoins CapeNature's Goukamma Nature and its Reserve Marine Protected Area, and enjoys views eastwards across the bay to Brenton-on-Sea. The 3-km-long beach between Buffalo Bay and Brenton-on-Sea is popular with walkers and runners.
- Around 200 holiday houses
- Country-style general dealer's shop with restaurant and large outdoor seating area.
- Two scenic beaches – Wild Side Beach (west of Buffalo Bay, and about 1 km long), and Buffalo Bay-Brenton Beach (about 3 km). The swimming area in front of the Buffalo Bay Shop is a usually declared a seasonal Blue Flag Beach over the summer holidays.
- Two sea-facing caravan parks.
- Hiking trails
- Goukamma River Mouth (Goukamma Nature Reserve)
Belvidere is made up of two adjoining suburbs on the Western shore of the Knysna Estuary - Belvidere itself (with its historic church), and the newer Belvidere Estate, which was developed in the 1980s.
Belvidere hosts the Knysna Midway Classic Regatta and Heads Race annually in October (for schools that compete in rowing in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape Provinces).
- The tiny, stone Holy Trinity Church (Anglican); designed in the style of Eleventh Century Norman churches, and consecrated in 1855.
- A village green (in Belvidere) and landscaped park areas (in Belvidere Estate).
- Luxurious homes with large gardens.
- Belvidere Manor Hotel with its historic manor house (1849) and pub.
- Small boat moorings with a wooden pavilion on a jetty over the water.
A seaside suburb overlooking Buffalo Bay.
- 3km-long sandy beach (Brenton-Buffalo Bay) backing onto naturally vegetated sand dunes.
- Fisherman's Walk pathway.
- Residences, holiday houses, guest houses, B&Bs, etc.
- Brenton Haven Beach Resort (hotel)
- Brenton Community Hall (Municipal)
- Outstanding sunsets!
Leafy suburb and conservation area on the Western shore of the Knysna Estuary.
- Indigenous vegetation and abundant wildlife. It's very common to see wild bushbuck roaming the gardens of the area.
- Residential, holiday, and retirement houses.
- Lagoon frontage.
Diepwalle & Gouna
The Diepwalle-Gouna area is situated in the indigenous forests of the unfenced Garden Route National Park, and about 20 km from Knysna's CBD via the gravelled Prince Alfred's Pass (national road R349).
- Indigenous Afro-montane forest, famous for its stinkwood trees, yellowwood trees, and Knysna elephants (yes, they do exist – and they're the southernmost herd of African elephants. But they're very elusive, and seldom seen).
- One of the best-known of the Knysna forest's Big Trees - the King Edward VII Tree (about 800 years old).
- Walking, hiking, and mountain bike (MTB) trails.
- The Diepwalle Forest Station, the Forest Legends Museum and Diepwalle Tea Garden, and the memorial to Dalene Matthee, who wrote a number of novels (Kringe in 'n Bos, etc.) set in these forests.
Noetzie – sometimes spelled 'Noetzie' – is a secluded beach about 8 km from Knysna's CBD that's famous for its picturesque stone castles (actually holiday homes and holiday accommodation).
- Sandy beach with forest backdrop
- Noetzie River Lagoon
- Beach-front houses (including those romantic castles)
- Noetzie Conservancy Sinclair Nature Reserve (a portion of the Garden Route National Park)
A village of about 50 houses on a plateau at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains, and one of the way-points on the 7-Passes Road Surrounded by farmland and grassy fields, and close to indigenous forests and plantations.
- 50 houses, built mostly in the 1940s (many still retain the government-style architecture of the day)
- Country-style general dealer's shop
- Church (Dutch Reformed. Tall clock tower, mid-20th Century architecture)
- TSiBA Eden - a college that focuses on skills development programmes and developing green entrepreneurs.
- Garden Route Trail Park - mountain biking (MTB) and trail running. Single track, pump track, BMX track
- MTO Forestry Research Station (“At this research facility, we focus on tree improvement and seed orchards for improved timber quality and growth.”)
- Farming area (cattle, crops, tree nursery)
- Mountain views