With the South African school holidays upon us, we thought we’d share a list of child-friendly activities to enjoy while in Knysna with your children.
THINGS TO DO
Bollard Bay is a very safe beach for families with young children. There are no crashing dumpers and plenty of shallow water for little people to splash around in. At low tide, you can walk for hours on the beach, build sandcastles and play in the water puddles. Milkwood collection guests are welcome to use the complimentary kayaks and SUPs on the beach below the chalets.
Knysna’s most visited attraction is The Heads – the two impressive sandstone peaks standing on either side of the Knysna river mouth. A lookout has been erected on the Eastern Head, providing spectacular views of the lagoon, Leisure Isle and Knysna. The paved pathway and secure balustrade allow for some gorgeous photography.
The Garden of Eden is one of the lushest and beautiful parts of the Knysna forest. Wooden walkways have been created to make for a comfortable walk even with elderly visitors or small children. Various trails allow you to decide if you just want to take a short leisurely stroll or spend a few hours exploring the surroundings. Experience the shades and shadows of the gargantuan trees, the sound of twigs and leaves being crushed underneath your feet as you walk.
Enjoy a memorable family outing on the John Benn double-decker floating restaurant, with daily lagoon cruises to the Knysna Heads.
Monkeyland is the world’s first free-roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary. Take a guided tour and watch primates acting as they do in the wild. A 128-metre suspension bridge spans the valley, giving visitors the opportunity to walk through the forest canopy to observe the primates. There is also a restaurant, souvenir shop and viewing deck.
Birds of Eden
Next door to Monkeyland, you’ll find Birds of Eden. At 50 metres high and covering 23 000 square meters of forest, it is one of the largest free-flight bird aviaries. Birds of Eden houses more than 3,500 specimens of more than 280 species, with the main focus being African birds. The dome covers 2 km of boardwalks, an amphitheatre, a restaurant, several ponds and dams and a souvenir store.
Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary
Visitors to Jukani can expect to see lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar, cheetah, puma, caracal, serval, hyena, jackal, African painted dog, honey badger and racoons. You might also see the white lions and tigers or even spot the black leopard. Jukani erected a large Reptile Sanctuary which is home to a whole host of snakes from around the world housed in individual vivariums specially decorated to compliment the origin of the snakes.
Sandboard down the Knysna sand dunes for a fun-filled day for the whole family. Experience a day of adventure at the beach sliding down dunes on sand boards. Get expert instruction by our guides to coach you from beginner to thrill seeker in no time at all. Guide and gear provided.
Enjoy an exhilarating downhill on the Monster Mountain Scooter, descent through indigenous forest, sweepy bends and single track. Look out for the majestic Knysna loerie, shy bushbuck and wild boar. All trips are guided by professionally qualified guides. All scooters can handle one adult with a child passenger.
Knysna Elephant Park
Daily tours leave every half hour, every day, from the reception/visitor’s centre between 08h30 and 16h00. Following a short video, guests are transported to the field where you have the opportunity to interact, feed and walk amongst the herd of African elephants. You also have the opportunity to purchase an ‘elephant snack bucket’ to feed the elephants during your visit.
PLACES TO EAT
East Head Café
Situated on the rocks of the famous Eastern Head, East Head Café has the most spectacular view, directly through the Knysna Heads. Seating is indoors, with a wood-burning fireplace, as well as outside on the covered terrace. The food is simple and consistently well made, with the focus on flavour and freshness. Service is friendly and fast and the restaurant has an outdoor play area for kids.
Nestled in its own private forest on George Rex Drive, Blend is an idyllic country restaurant, serving a variety of good food. It’s the perfect spot for family lunches or dinners, and there is plenty of space for kids to run around, as well as a jungle gym to play on. The cosy and inviting pub is the ideal place to wind down and listen to live music on weekends.
Tapas & Oysters
This vibrant, waterside restaurant offers a wide selection of Spanish, Mediterranean and South African Tapas, as well as oysters, sushi, fresh seafood, home-made dips and olives, crunchy salads, desserts and lots more. They have big screen TV’s, boat parking and a children’s play park for the young ones to enjoy.
Freshline Fisheries offers a wide selection of seafood in an informal beach-like setting. Enjoy West Coast Snoek from the barbeque or the old time favourite Fish and Chips. Other delectable dishes include oysters, clam chowder, mussels in white wine, traditional home-baked mielie (corn) bread with fresh farm butter and home-made jam, traditional sherry trifle, crayfish and prawns.
Situated alongside the picturesque Goukamma River, the restaurant offers a selection of meals cooked on the barbeque, delicious Chicken Rbarbeque Salad, old family recipe Bobotie, and mouthwatering malva puddings, among other delectable fairs. Canoes, hydro-bikes and paddle boats are for hire and there are miniature horse rides for the kids.
Bring your own bicycles and wine. Kids can play and cycle while parents relax. Wood-fired Pizza Fridays in summer from 3 pm, and on Sundays. The Farm offers a mini bike track with balance bikes for the very young, and a skills development course for the next step up. Older children can venture up the track to the top of the property. Closed on Mondays.