I shall preface this by saying that I had unrealistically high expectations of Knysna. I had heard so many amazing things about the place that I thought it would be the highlight of my trip. Knysna is certainly a beautiful town, but it is the sort of place where you would probably spend 2-3 days and be ready to move on. That being said, the two days I spent there were pretty great, and if you are a seafood lover then you would arrive and think you had gone to heaven!
Knysna is a coastal town with around 52,000 inhabitants. The area is famous for it’s beautiful Knysna heads, which are two beautiful headlands (one populated with gorgeous homes and one protected as a nature reserve) that flank the Knysna lagoon. The lagoon is notorious for it’s high number of past shipwrecks due to the fast changing weather and dangerous waters. It is pretty interesting to note that any boat that passes through this lagoon opening is 100% not insurable, and any outstanding insurance policies will become null and void upon passing through this estuary.
That being said, there are numerous boats that will take visitors on short trips up to the heads. Lovely Lisa and I did one of these boat trips, but made the mistake of doing so an yet another overcast day, so the true beauty of the heads and the lagoon wasn’t really evident.
The rest of the day proved quite rainy so we opted to have an early night and rise early in the morning. At around 6.30am we got up and jumped in the back of some random persons bakkie (pronounced bucky) and rode until we got some truly gorgeous views of the lagoon in the early morning light.
We then rode onwards to a tiny yet beautiful part of the Knysna lagoon where we sunbathed and swam in the bitingly cold (yet so pretty) water for several hours. I want to note that riding in the back of a bakkie is common practice in South Africa and is also completely legal. This seemed crazy to me at first, as in Australia this would violate every safety code and road rule imaginable, but as the saying goes, when in Rome do as the Romans do. South Africa may not be Rome but the sentiment still rings true.
With the sun beating down on us we had planned to hike back to the town on foot, yet after 45 minutes and the early signs of sunburn we abandoned that idea and hitchhiked back to town. I should note that I do not in any way condone or endorse the practice of hitchhiking, I am well aware that it is a potentially dangerous thing to do, so despite that I myself do it on occasion, I in no way encourage others to do so!
Once (safely) back in town we showered our sweaty and sandy bodies and then went out in search of the delicious seafood we had heard so much about. The tourist area known as the waterfront is filled with a bunch of boring chain restaurants that I beg you to please avoid at all costs! We walked about 10 minutes away from this area and through what appeared to be a rather dodgy scrap metal yard when we came across Freshline Fisheries, a small restaurant where the seafood is so fresh that you can see it coming in off the boats. We bought a few of our own bottles of wine (no corkage charge) and then proceeded to devour what will go down as one of the best meals of my life. We started with unusual yet magnificent beer battered oysters, which I followed with an enormous plate of seafood paella. Despite looking borderline pregnant by this point, I still ordered a 10/10 pudding with warm custard and devoured every last bite.
Camera: iPhone 5
Hostel: Jembjo’s Lodge & Backpackers
Budget: 560ZAR ($56) for 2 nights incl. accommodation, meals, transport & boat trip
Remember: Sunscreen, bathers and an appetite!
Thankyou for continuing to share in my travels and journeys! So tell me, how do you like to get around when travelling? Do you cycle, hire a care or use public transport?