There are many ways to enjoy what Knysna has to offer without breaking the bank. Why not be kind to your wallet and make the most of the seaside gem. Here are 10 of our favourite things to do in Knysna for R200 or less.

things to do in knysna on a budget

Drive Up To The Knysna Heads: Free

The famous Knysna Heads are two massive sandstone columns that stand side by side at the mouth of the Knysna Lagoon, where the Knysna River meets the Indian Ocean. The Heads, as they’re more fondly known, form a narrow channel where the sea bursts through angrily. Many visitors will be delighted to hear that the Eastern Side of the heads is easily reached by car and features a variety of viewpoints. Our favourite one is on Coney Glen Road – from where the photo below was taken.

When: Anytime
Cost: Free

Gin Tasting at the Knysna Distillery: R60 per tasting board

Established in 2018, the Knysna Distillery is a family-run establishment which produces the aptly named Knysna Gin. Now a thriving cocktail bar, the distillery offers a neatly-packaged tasting board for R60. This includes a selection of three hand crafted gins: The award-winning Original Knysna Gin, a limited batch/ seasonal release and their honey-infused gin. Botanicals like juniper, cardamon, honeybush and mondei whitei are sourced locally and afar. From Italy to Bulgaria, Madagascar to Vietnam – geography is not obstacle to crafted the perfect blend.

When: Mon – Sat
Cost: R60

Order a Pint at Red Bridge Brewing Co: From R30

Red Bridge Brewing Co is a local micro-brewery specialising in small batch hand-crafted beer. Named after the beautiful red bridge that spans the length of the Knysna River, this family-run business features a taproom on Noble Street. Sample their IPA, Golden Ale or Lager and learn all about how they came to be.

When: 10h00 – 16h00 (Mon – Fri)
Cost: From R30 for 500ml

Kayak Hire on Thesen Islands: From R130 p/p

An unbelievable way to explore the Knysna lagoon is via kayak. Turbine Water Club offer non-guided kayak rental from their base on Thesen Islands. Kayaks can be rented for either 1 or 2 hours and adventurers may explore anywhere on the Knysna lagoon during these time periods. Both single and double kayaks are available and life jackets and paddles are provided. There is truly no better way to get around on a hot summer’s day and it’s rightfully one of the best things to do in Knysna on a budget.

When: 09h00 – 17h00
Cost: R130 p/p for 1 hour or R200 p/p for 2 hours

Circles in the Forest Hike: R50 p/p

Bask in the glory of the Gouveld Forest in Knysna and get your heart rate up by setting out on the legendary Circles in the Forest Hike. Named after the late local author Dalene Mattee, the trail starts at the Krisjan-se-Nek picnic site. There are two routes available: a short 3.1km circle route and a 9km circle route. The effort level required during these hikes ranges from easy to moderate, making this activity enjoyable for a variety of skill and fitness levels. Permits can be purchased at the entrance gate at Bibby’s Hoek, on the Rheenendal Road off the N2 towards George.

When: Daylight Hours
Cost: R48 per adult or R28 per child under 12

Stand Up Paddle Boarding: From R200 p/p

Put your core muscles to the test and explore the wonders of the Thesen Islands’ canals with an afternoon SUPing. Ocean Odyssey offers 8 top quality boards for rental by the hour. Certainly one of the world’s fastest growing water sports, it’s a fantastic option for the whole family.

When: All day
Cost: R200 per person (1st hour) & R140 subsequent hourly rate

Ocean Odyssey

Order a Pie at the Bell Tavern: From R100

The Bell Tavern at Belvedere Manor is a local institution, holding the title of smallest pub in the town. Located on the western shore of the Knysna Lagoon, it is particularly well-known for its decadent pot pies. Choose from chicken & mushroom, steak, and braised venison with port and prunes. All are served with chips and vegetables of the day.

When: 08h30 – 21h30
Cost: From R100

Get Artsy at the Turbine Hotel: From R40

The Turbine Hotel & Spa is an old power station turned boutique hotel boasting a fascinating history and eye-catching industrial chic décor. As you walk through the building, lovingly restored machinery form an integral part of the hotel’s aesthetics. It only makes sense that the hotel would team up with local artists in Knysna to showcase their incredible talent in an informal gallery. In association with the Knysna Fine Arts Gallery, countless artworks are displayed throughout the restaurant, walkways, bedrooms and public areas. To view these incredible pieces, grab a bite to eat at our tastefully-adorned Island Cafe which is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While you wait for your food to arrive, feel free to stroll through the hotel and admire the art.

When: 07h00 – 22h00
Cost: From R40 per meal

Hit The Beach: Free

Set along one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines, Knysna (and the surrounding area) features an array of pristine beaches. Pack a picnic basket and head to Brenton Beach, try your hand at surfing at Buffalo Bay, watch the sunset from Bollard Beach on Leisure Island or escape the crowds at the secluded Noetzie Beach.

When: Anytime
Cost: Free

Feast on Oysters at 34 Degrees South: From R80 per meal

It wouldn’t be a visit to Knysna without sampling the seafood for which the town is so widely known – oysters. The ‘naturally wild’ oysters at 34 Degrees South are harvested between Witsand and Nature’s Valley, and served straight-from-the-sea fresh. Choose from cocktail, medium and large coastal or cultivated oysters, prepared in the traditional way. Elsewise, opt for something a little different – deep-fried in tempura batter, grilled in garlic butter, or in a creamy soup. While you’re there, take a walk around the bustling Knysna Waterfront and check out the boats docked.

When: 09h00 – 20h00
Cost: R12 – R30 per oyster

When it comes to things to do in Knysna on a budget, we’ve only revealed the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty more outdoor activities, restaurants to visit, craft stores to wander through and attractions to take in. For even more activities on offer, keep an eye on our regularly updated blog and social media channels. If you’re looking for accommodation in Knysna, check out Turbine Hotel & Spa – we regularly run enticing specials.

Image Credits: slack12, Allan Watt & Ocean Odyssey

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