It’s business as usual in Knysna. That’s the message from Elmay Bouwer, chairperson of the Knysna Tourism Board, who confirmed that despite the extensive fires experienced in the Garden Route town, Knysna has resumed normal business activities and is welcoming visitors.
“We would like tourists to know that it is safe to visit Knysna and that almost all tourist activities are fully operational,” said Bouwer.
“Although a number of accommodation establishments have been damaged or destroyed, there are many others which have not been affected. If any visitors who have planned a stay in Knysna are unsure about the status of their accommodation booking, they should call Knysna Tourism on +27 44 382 5510 or email [email protected].
Bouwer said that one of Knysna’s biggest tourist attractions, Featherbed Nature Reserve suffered severe damage, however, the company’s three restaurants are still fully operational as are the boat cruises on the John Benn, Paddle Cruiser, and Heads Explorer Catamaran.
The iconic Knysna Waterfront with all its restaurants and shops had not been affected in any way.
The popular animal sanctuaries between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay including Knysna Elephant Park, Birds of Eden, Monkeyland and Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre are all operating as usual. In addition, SANParks’ picnic areas at Jubilee Creek and Diepwalle and the camping sites in Diepwalle are open and unaffected by the fires. Simola, Pezula and Knysna Golf Courses are also open.
The town of Sedgefield is also welcoming visitors and has not lost any accommodation establishments. All tourist activities in the area are fully operational including the popular Scarab and Wild Oats Famer’s Markets.
“Knysna is recovering from the devastation of the fires but for local businesses to survive, tourism must play a vital part,” says Bouwer. “We need to get the message out there that we are open for business and the Knysna visitor experience will be as good as ever.”
Bouwer also confirmed that the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival is going ahead as planned for 7-16 July 2017 as is the Knysna Cycle Tour, and the Momentum Knysna Marathon.
Marketing director for the Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour, Andrew Finn said that, while Knysna has taken a big knock, the Knysna Cycle Tour is still on track with planning and organisation. “Once all the fires have been extinguished, we will be able to assess the situation to see whether it is necessary to alter any of our routes and plans, and all entrants will be updated by email,” he said. “We are looking forward to a great event.”
Organiser of The Momentum Knysna Marathon, Leon Brown, confirmed that the marathon would also go ahead. “We are dedicating the event to all the people who lost everything in the fires and will be focusing on our blanket drive. We urge people to add to the 2000 blankets which Momentum donates every year and to also donate clothing which will be collected at registration and at the race start in the Glebe so that it can be distributed where it is most needed.
The people and animals of Knysna still need assistance desperately, and if you are willing to offer your support, Knysna Tourism have requested you use the correct official channels below:
Official Knysna Fire donation accounts:
Acc. Name: Emergency Fund
Acc. NR: 1147 920 699
International Donations: NEDSZAJJ
Acc. Name: Eden District Municipality
Acc. NR: 401 719 790
International Donations: SBZAZAJJ
Official FB Page:
Drop off points for resources are communicated on the official Knysna Fire Page.