Knysna have twice been voted South Africa's favorite town and is the most popular town on the Garden Route. The word Knysna (pronounced with a silent K) is a Khoisan word which means "the woods down there".
Knysna is built on the banks of the Knysna Lagoon and is wedged between the lagoon and indigenous forests. The entrance into the lagoon is called The Knysna Heads and is rated as one of the most dangerous entrances to a natural harbour in the world. Loyd's of London won't even insure your yacht if you state that you will be entering through the heads. The land on the Eastern Head has been developed as a very upmarket residential area while the Western Head is part of the Featherbed Nature Reserve. The lagoon itself is a protected area and falls under the control of South African National Parks.
There are numerous activities to be done in and around the town. The most popular activity for tourists is to go on a ferry trip from the Knysna Quays to the heads and back. The best trip of the day is the sundower trip. Other activities range from hiking in the woods, quad biking, mountain biking, sailing and shopping. The Knysna area is a heaven for artists and there are loads of shops selling art and curios.
There used to be hundreds of elephants living in the forests of the Southern Cape during ages gone by. Over the last couple of decades development have meant that their numbers have dwindled. About 10 or so years ago it was thought that there were only one elephant left in the forest, but every now and then the forest rangers found evidence of elephant activity. Research have now shown that there may be about 5 or six positively identified individuals but there may be more. They are extremely elusive with only a couple of glimpses by the rangers and even less photographic proof. This skeleton is on display at the National Park offices in the town.