The great seaside town of Knysna is a favourite of South African holiday makers, as it offers such a diverse range of things to do and activities to take part in. Naturally, a fair amount of these are sea based, not least of which is scuba diving. For a variety of reasons Knysna is a popular spot for divers.
Over a century ago, The Paquita, a German vessel, sank on the eastern side of the Knysna Heads, rather mysteriously. Although the exact cause of the sinking is still undetermined, it is largely thought due to its location, in the calmer waters of the lagoon, that it was done for the purposes of a handsome insurance claim. The wreck is easily accessible to qualified divers, and remains in excellent condition, despite the insurance claim never being approved!
While you may not be diving for missing gold on the Paquita wreck (there wasn’t any), you may be lucky enough to experience a sighing of the rare, and highly endangered, Knysna seahorse. At only 7cm long, is one of the smallest in the world and indigenous to the Knysna Lagoon.
If you are not lucky enough to spot one of the little guys, you will definitely spot the monster-size garrick or leerfish. There are also plenty of small sharks, and an array of colourful sea anemones. In other areas there are overhangs, drop-offs and caverns covered in soft corals.
The visibility changes quickly with the tides and winds in the area. The best time to dive is during high tide when the ocean water pushes in as far as the bottom bridge over the lagoon. The warm blue waters of the lagoon offer protected diving even during rough seas, so don’t be disheartened by the weather. The area is protected by the National Parks Board, so if you are diving without a guide then you’ll need to consult them with regards to the rules of displaying the Alpha flag for your own safety.
For those not diving, there is plenty of dry-land entertainment, the forest offers gorgeous walks and elephant encounters, there are also bicycle trails and coffee shops to keep you busy.