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Situated along the popular Garden Route, Knysna is one of the larger towns on what is perhaps the most popular tourist trail in South Africa. With almost 80,000 inhabitants, it lies in between two other popular towns for beach and sun-loving visitors; Plettenberg Bay and George. The vein of the Garden Route is the N2 highway, and although it is tempting to explore the changing, mesmerizing view from the car, Knysna is the perfect place to get out and explore the defining features; the mountains, forests, lagoons and ocean.

As for the first one, the mountains, Knysna is ranked in the top 5 of mountain biking and hiking enthusiasts. Just outside the town itself, within a short drive, there are Natural Reserves and National Parks with free entrance, where mountain biking trails lead you past rivers, streams, waterfalls and gorges through the fynbos. But the most popular attraction is the lagoon, situated near the village itself. Knysna expanded from a harbor town, rumored to be founded by King George’s illegitimate son, into the tourist haven it is today. It is one of the most spectacular natural harbors on the African coast.

Fishing is a popular activity in the lagoon, and license permits can be bought at the local post office for a small fee. During the August through October period, whales can be spotted near the lagoon. After October, when the Mediterranean climate summer kicks in on the South coast, swimming, surfing, scuba diving, kayaking and sailing are some of the more popular water sports available. There are a number of companies and individuals who rent out all the necessary gear, close by the lagoon head.

Although most visitors will go to Knysna by (rental) car, there is another, more romantic option. The Outeniqua Choo Tjoe is a genuine steam train, which services passengers between Knysna and George. The train route and the antique train themselves provide for a unique experience.