Updated: Dec 2023

If you’re looking for things to do in Knysna on a budget, you’re in luck! There are many ways to enjoy all that Knysna has to offer without breaking the bank. Here are 10 of our favourite things to do in Knysna for R300 or less.

things to do in knysna on a budget

1. Drive Up To The Knysna Heads

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 often called, form a narrow channel where the sea meets the fresh water.

If you’re looking for a good view of The Heads, the eastern side is easily reached by car and features a variety of viewpoints. One of our favourite spots is on Coney Glen Road.

Access this road at any time. There are no costs involved in this activity – a wonderful addition to any budget-friendly list.

Location: bit.ly/eastheadvp

2. Gin Tasting at the Knysna Distillery

Established in 2018, the Knysna Distillery is a family-run establishment that produces the aptly named Knysna Gin.

Now a thriving cocktail bar, the distillery offers neatly packaged tasting boards for R60. This includes a selection of three hand-crafted gins: The award-winning Original Knysna Gin, a limited batch/seasonal release gin and the honey gin.

During your tasting, see if you can pick out notes of juniper, cardamon, honeybush and almonds. That said, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to these things!

On Friday nights, Happy Hour at the distillery runs from 4 pm to 6 pm.

Where? 5 Uil Street, Knysna Industrial Area, Knysna

Contact: 081 722 2715

3. Order a Pint at Red Bridge Brewing Co.

Red Bridge Brewing Co. is a local microbrewery 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 tap room on Noble Street.

Sample their IPA, Golden Ale or Lager and learn all about how each brew came to be.

Prices are from R30 per pint.

Where? 5 Noble Street, Knysna

Contact: 083 997 2697

4. Kayak Hire on Thesen Island

A wonderful way to explore the Knysna Lagoon is via kayak.

The Turbine Water Club offers non-guided kayak rentals from their base on Thesen Island. Kayaks can be rented for either 1 or 2 hours and adventurers may explore anywhere on the Knysna Lagoon they wish to during these periods.

Both single and double kayaks are available and life jackets and paddles are provided.

What better way to get around on a hot summer’s day?

Prices begin at R200 p.p. for an hour.

Where? TH36 Sawtooth Lane, Thesen Island, Knysna

Contact: 063 693 1200

5. Circles in the Forest Hike

Bask in the glory of Knysna’s Gouveld Forest and get your heart rate up by setting out on the legendary Circles in the Forest Hike.

Named after the late local author, Dalene Matthee, the trail starts at the Krisjan-se-Nek picnic site. There are two routes available: A 3.1 km route and a 9 km route. The effort level required during these hikes ranges from easy to moderate, making this activity enjoyable for a variety of 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, R28 per child under 12
Location: bit.ly/circleshike

6. Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

Put your core muscles to the test and explore the wonders of Thesen Island’s canals with an afternoon SUP’ing session. Ocean Odyssey offers 8 top-quality boards for rental by the hour. As one of the world’s fastest-growing water sports, this is a fantastic option for the entire family!

Open: All day

Cost: R270 per person for the first hour; subsequent hourly rate of R190

Contact: 044 382 0321

Ocean Odyssey

7. Order a Pie at the Bell Tavern

The Bell Tavern at Belvedere Manor is a local institution, holding the title of smallest pub in town. Located on the western shore of the Knysna Lagoon, it is particularly well-known for its decadent pot pies. Choose between fillings like chicken and mushroom or steak and braised venison with port and prunes.

All are served with chips and vegetables of the day and cost R135.

Where? 169 Lower Duthie Drive, Belvidere Estate, Knysna

Contact: 044 387 1055

8. Get Artsy at the Turbine Hotel

The Turbine Hotel & Spa is an old power station turned boutique hotel. It boasts a fascinating history and eye-catching industrial-chic décor.

As you walk through the building, lovingly restored machinery forms an integral part of the hotel’s aesthetics. It only makes sense that we’d team up with local artists in Knysna to showcase their incredible talent in what has now become an ‘informal gallery’ of sorts.

In association with the Knysna Fine Arts Gallery, countless artworks are displayed throughout our restaurant, walkways, bedrooms and public areas. To view these incredible pieces, come and grab a bite to eat at our in-house eatery, Island Café, 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.


9. Hit The Beach

Located on one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines, Knysna (and the surrounding area) boasts 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

Free, fun and fabulous!

10. Feast on Oysters at 34 Degrees South

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.

They serve other seafood too, but if it’s oysters you’re after, you can choose among coastal cocktail (R16 each), coastal medium (R38 each), coastal large (R45 each) or cultivated oysters (R28 each) – prepared traditionally.

While you’re there, take a walk around the bustling Knysna Waterfront and have a look at the docked boats.

Where? The Waterfront at the Knysna Quays, Waterfront Drive, Knysna

Contact: 044 382 7331

Discover More

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.

Image Credits: slack12, Allan Watt, Ocean Odyssey, @knysnagin, @redbridgebrewing & @the_bell_knysna


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