Hotel Claude Activities: Knysna:
Here's just a hint of all the fabulous places to eat, and things to do and see in Knysna. Please talk to us when you get here - At Hotel Claude, we're always happy to make suggestions and help you make reservations if you need them.
- The Garden Route National Park
- Dining out in Knysna
- Art and culture
155,000 hectares of paradise - protected and here for us all to enjoy.
The Garden Route National Park protects many of the natural wilderness areas of the Southern Cape coast (or Garden Route coast) between the City of George (60 km west of Hotel Claude) and Tsitsikamma (east of Plettenberg Bay, and about 90 km from Hotel Claude).
Although it is made up of a number of separate nature reserves, SANParks manages the Park as a single unit divided into three sections: Wilderness, the Knysna Lakes (including the Knysna Estuary and most of the indigenous Knysna forests), and Tsitsikamma - which includes the Storms River Mouth rest camp, and the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (Africaâ€™s first and oldest MPA).
Dining out in Knysna:
We love eating. And we love eating out in Knysna. And these are some of our favourite restaurants:
- 34 South at the Knysna Waterfront: Knysna oysters, seafood, sushi, pizza, bakery. Also sells wines and unusual gifts. Open for breakfast, lunch & supper.
- Drydock Food Co.: Lunch or dinner on the harbour's edge at the Knysna Waterfront. Seafood, salads, sushi, fusion cuisine, sinful desserts. Live blues music on selected afternoons.
- Cafe Mario: One of Knysna's most famous Italian restaurants. Tell Genaro we recommended it! (Waterfront)
- O'Pescador: Authentic LM-style Portuguese cuisine. Open for lunch and supper. (Waterfront)
- Tapas & Oysters: vibey waterfront bar and restaurant with kids play area in Thesen Harbour Town. Live music on selected nights. Open from midday(ish) till late.
- Sirocco: Sushi, pizzas, and oysters on the Lagoon edge in Thesen Harbour Town
- The Project Bar & Lounge (upstairs from Sirocco): sophisticated cocktails lounge and events venue with seeping views of the Knysna Lagoon:
- Urge Urban Cafe at Avo Pomme Creative Hub (Woodmill Lane shopping centre); coffee, cake, food, pressed juice, and kombucha - with regular art exhibitions and occasional presentations. Don't miss 'the universe's smallest art gallery.'
- East Head Cafe (Knysna Heads): is this the best views from any restaurant on the Garden Route? Excellent seafoods and salads, and awesome desserts.
- Riverdeck Restaurant and Farm Stall (at Goukamma, on the road to Buffalo Bay): traditional Afrikaans fare - braais, baboeties, kuierkos. Also offers canoeing and other water activities.
- Totties Farm Kitchen, Rheenendal (on the 7-Passes road, close to the Goudveld Forests); restaurant and country store. Open Wednesday to Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and for buffet lunches on Sundays.
From toddlers to surfers, walkers to serious swimmers: Knysna has a beach for everyone.
- Bollard Bay on Leisure Isle (7 km from Hotel Claude): safe swimming at high tide in the shallow waters of the Lagoon. Perfect for toddlers when the tide's out, too.
- Coney Glen on the Eastern Head (8km from Hotel Claude): spectacular but tiny beach worth visiting for the views. But please don't swim here!
- Brenton-on-Sea (18 km west of Knysna): walking, sunbathing, paragliding, fishing. Swimming isn't recommended.
- Buffalo Bay (20 km west of Knysna - and featured in our title pic): great for families. Good surfing and fishing, and popular for the 5 km (3 mile) beach walk to Brenton-on-Sea.
- Noetzie (10 km east of Knysna): famous for its stone castles (although they aren't open to the public), and a great destination for lovers and dreamers (it's quiet!). Nice swimming in the dark waters of the Noetzie Lagoon, too - naturally dark, thankfully. The water's totally clean, but it's stained by the composting process in the natural forest and fynbos of the area.If you want to walk in the adjoining Sinclair Nature Reserve, you'll need to pick up a permit from the Garden Route National Park's Harkerville office before you go (do it on your way to the beach).
Adventures in Knysna:
Lagoon boat cruises
- John Benn: Knysna's original wooden restaurant cruiser, operating from the Knysna Waterfront
- Paddle Cruiser: lunch-time and dinner cruises on South Africa's only working paddle boat
- Three Legs Rivercat Experiences: 75-minute cruises on the Knysna Lagoon from the Knysna Waterfront
Whale and dolphin watching:
Ocean Odyssey: boat-based whale-watching and dolphin-watching tours through The Heads from Thesen Harbour Town; also stand-up paddle board (SUP) hire.
Yacht trips through The Heads:
- Springtide Sailing Charters: 90 minute to four-and-a-half-hour sailing charters on the 52' luxury yacht Outeniqua. From the Knysna Waterfront
- Heads Explorer: 90 minute to two-and-a-half-hour sailing charters on the Lagoon and through The Heads. From the Knysna Waterfront
Knysna Forest walks & hiking tours:
- Tony Cook Adventures: Tony also offers canoeing, guided trail running tours, cycling toursm kiting & surfing trips, etc.
- Knysna Hike & Bike: walking and mountain bike tours (beach, forest, fynbos, Plett Winelands)
Golf in Knysna:
- Knysna Golf Club: 18 holes, par 73. Length: championship 5,924 m, club 5,924 m. Lagoon-level course steeped in history; Probably the only golf course in South Africa with holes below sea level!
- Pezula Championship Golf Course: 18 holes, par 72. Length: championship 6,281 m, seniors 6,198 m, ladies 6,218 m and 5,027 m. Links course designed by Ron Fream. On the Eastern Head, between the Indian Ocean and the Knysna Lagoon.
- Simola Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course: 18 holes, par 72. Kikuyu fairways. Length: championship 6,033 m, ladies 4,595 m, seniors: 5,189 m, pro Ts 6,318 m. Parklands course designed by The Golden Bear himself. Overlooks the Knysna River and the Knysna Lagoon - and with those awesome views of the Knysna Heads!
- Sedgefield Links: 9 hole short course on the banks of the Swartvlei.
And those're just the courses in Knysna. There are many more in our neighbouring villages - and all within 90 minutes drive of Hotel Claude.
Art & culture in Knysna:
Knysna has always drawn the dreamers and the thinkers, the artists and the writers. But that's hardly surprising. Have you SEEN how beautiful it is?
- Knysna Fine Art - one of South Africa's (ahem) finest commercial galleries. Specialises in contemporary South African art, handles works by the South African masters, and exhibits a number of internationally recognised fine artists. Situated in Thesen House, corner Long and Union Streets, and open to visitors - buyers and art lovers alike.
- Peggy's African Art & Tours - artist Peggy Dlephu is an accredited tour guide who offers original art for sale, art workshops, art classes for kids, and art & craft tours. She loves sharing the vibrancy of the townships, local artistic talent and numerous other unique experiences in and around Knysna.
- iAfrica Gallery - this online gallery specialises in contemporary art from Southern Africa. Curator Sandy Bekker lives and works in Knysna, and is available for local consultations.
- Local museums - Knysna Municipality's Knysna Museum (on the corner of Queen Street and Main, just down the road from Hotel Claude), and about many of the other museums in the area - like the Motorcycle Room, the National Sea Rescue Institute's Alex Blaikie Museum, the Ian Fleming Photographic Museum, and the Garden Route National Park's Forest Legends Museum.
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