The Knysna Lagoon, Western Cape Province

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Knysna Lagoon


The Knysna Lagoon opens between two sandstone cliffs known as the Heads – once proclaimed by the British Royal Navy to be the most dangerous harbour entrance in the world. There are good views from the eastern head, and from the Featherbed Nature Reserve on the western head.

The best way to appreciate the lagoon is by boat; the Featherbed Company operates various vessels.

Although regulated by SANParks, Knysna Lagoon is not a national park or wilderness area. Much of it is still privately owned, and the lagoon is used by industry and for recreation. The protected area starts just to the east of Buffalo Bay and follows the coastline to the mouth of the Noetzie River.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Knysna attractions

1. Mitchell’s Brewery


South Africa’s oldest microbrewery occupies bright, new premises on the edge of the lagoon. You can join a tour or just taste its range of English-style…

2. Featherbed Nature Reserve

1.27 MILES

The Featherbed Nature Reserve was completely devastated by wildfires in 2017. Tourism authorities were working to get the reserve up and running again…

3. Millwood House

1.32 MILES

Millwood House is a mini complex of museums detailing Knysna’s history. It’s a quaint set of buildings dating back to the town’s booming timber era. This…

4. Old Gaol Museum


Since this region has plenty of wet weather, a rainy-day option is welcome. The main museum is a pleasant complex in a mid-19th century building that was…

5. Belvidere

2.77 MILES

Belvidere, 10km from Knysna, is so immaculate it’s positively creepy. But it’s worth a quick look for the beautiful Norman-style Belvidere church that was…

6. Belvidere Church

2.81 MILES

A Norman-style church built in the 1850s by homesick English expats.

7. Noetzie

5.01 MILES

Reached by a turn-off along the N2 10km east of Knysna, Noetzie is a quirky little place with holiday homes in mock-castle style. There’s a lovely surf…

8. Goukamma Nature Reserve


This reserve is accessible from the Buffalo Bay road, and protects 14km of rocky coastline, sandstone cliffs, dunes covered with coastal fynbos (fine bush…