Lakes Area National Park

Lakes Area National Park, Western Cape

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Welcome to Lakes Area National Park, a picturesque gem nestled in the heart of Knysna, South Africa. Formerly consisting of the Wilderness National Park and Knysna National Lake Area, these…

Lakes Area National Park

Welcome to Lakes Area National Park, a picturesque gem nestled in the heart of Knysna, South Africa. Formerly consisting of the Wilderness National Park and Knysna National Lake Area, these two stunning locations have merged seamlessly to form a unified and enchanting experience for nature lovers. Today, they are managed as a single unit and incorporated into the larger expanse of the Garden Route National Park.

One of the remarkable features of Lakes Area National Park is the breathtaking Knysna National Lake Area. This captivating region is home to the endangered Knysna seahorse, a unique creature that clings onto plants with its tail and has the extraordinary ability to change its color, blending harmoniously with its surroundings. As you explore the park’s waterways, you’ll witness the splendor of the sandbanks and salt marshes that teem with life. These abundant habitats provide nourishment for an immeasurable number of organisms and attract regular visitors such as whales and dolphins along the entire coastline of the Garden Route.

The Wilderness National Park, a prominent component of the Lakes Area National Park, showcases a delightful tapestry of lakes, rivers, fens, estuaries, and beaches against the backdrop of lush forests and majestic mountains. This harmonious blend of natural elements epitomizes the essence of the park and creates a serene environment that beckons exploration.

Follow the nature trails that wind through the dense woodlands and tranquil rivers, and you’ll have the opportunity to encounter the vibrantly colored Knysna Loerie, also known as the Knysna Turaco. This magnificent bird, with its striking plumage, is just one of the five kingfisher species found in this biodiverse paradise. Spring unveils a captivating sight as a carpet of flowers blankets the landscape, enhancing the already verdant beauty of this wetland national park.

While Lakes Area National Park is renowned for its stunning flora and avian inhabitants, it is also home to an array of captivating wildlife. The Garden Route boasts a growing number of private game reserves that have reintroduced indigenous species to the area. Here, you may catch sight of majestic elephants, graceful zebras, powerful wildebeests, towering giraffes, and formidable buffalos—animals that once roamed freely in this region.

The park’s woodlands are filled with an astonishing array of colorful birds, including the eye-catching redbilled woodhoopoe, the spirited Knysna woodpecker, the graceful paradise flycatcher, the iconic Knysna Loerie, and the lesser double-collared sunbird. As you explore the lakes, wetlands, and lagoon, you may be greeted by the majestic presence of fish eagles, the agile movements of cormorants, the vibrant plumage of kingfishers, the elegant stride of blacksmith plovers, and the graceful flight of geese.

Popular activities, tourist attractions, and points of interest in and near Lakes Area National Park

Lakes Area National Park is a treasure trove of activities, tourist attractions, and points of interest that cater to a variety of interests and preferences. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a history buff, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in and around this remarkable park.

Water-based Activities
With its lakes, lagoons, and rivers, Lakes Area National Park offers a plethora of water-based activities. Go kayaking or canoeing along the tranquil waterways, taking in the scenic beauty and immersing yourself in the serenity of nature. Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck in the abundant fishing spots, where various species of fish await. For a more leisurely experience, take a relaxing boat cruise, allowing you to soak in the breathtaking views and observe the diverse birdlife.

Hiking and Nature Trails
Lace up your hiking boots and embark on the numerous hiking and nature trails that wind through Lakes Area National Park. Immerse yourself in the pristine wilderness as you explore the lush forests, encounter unique plant species, and listen to the soothing sounds of nature. The trails cater to different difficulty levels, making them accessible to both novice hikers and seasoned adventurers.

Knysna Heads
Just outside the park, you’ll find the iconic Knysna Heads, a pair of towering sandstone cliffs that guard the entrance to the Knysna Lagoon. These dramatic geological formations offer spectacular views and are a photographer’s delight. Take a stroll along the viewpoints, or for the more adventurous, venture out on a boat trip to witness the grandeur of the Heads up close.

Knysna Elephant Park
Located near Lakes Area National Park, the Knysna Elephant Park provides a unique opportunity to interact with these gentle giants up close. Learn about their behavior, history, and conservation efforts while enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience of feeding and touching these magnificent creatures.

Millwood Gold Mines
History buffs will be intrigued by the Millwood Gold Mines, a historic site situated within the park. Explore the remnants of the gold rush era, take a guided tour of the mine shafts, and learn about the gold mining heritage that once thrived in this area.

Bird Watching
Lakes Area National Park is a haven for bird enthusiasts, boasting a rich diversity of bird species. Grab your binoculars and camera and venture out to spot a wide range of avian wonders, including the iconic Knysna Loerie, various kingfisher species, fish eagles, cormorants, and many more. The park’s wetlands, lakes, and lagoons are especially rewarding for birdwatching.

Indigenous Forests
Delve into the enchanting indigenous forests that blanket the landscape around Lakes Area National Park. These ancient forests provide a sanctuary for a multitude of plant and animal species. Take a guided forest walk to learn about the unique flora and fauna, or for a thrilling experience, try a ziplining adventure through the treetops.

Knysna Township Tour
Immerse yourself in the local culture and gain insights into the vibrant community by taking a guided tour of the Knysna Township. Engage with locals, visit community projects, and discover the rich history and traditions of the area.

Garden Route National Park
Lakes Area National Park is seamlessly integrated into the larger Garden Route National Park, opening up a wealth of additional attractions and activities. Explore the diverse ecosystems of this expansive park, including the Tsitsikamma section with its renowned Storms River Mouth, the rugged coastal cliffs, and the lush Tsitsikamma Forest.

Lakes Area National Park BeachKnysna Scooter Tours

Welcome to the captivating Knysna, a coastal resort town that shines as one of the prized jewels along the Garden Route in the Western Cape. This picturesque destination boasts a stunning combination of pristine beaches, an expansive lagoon, majestic mountains, and lush forests, creating a playground for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. While the region offers an array of walking and hiking trails, as well as thrilling Jeep tracks and 4×4 trails that wind through local forests and mountains, there’s an exciting adventure that stands out: Knysna Scootours.

Knysna Scootours provide a unique and eco-friendly way to explore the beauty of the area. These non-motorized scooters for adults have minimal impact on the environment, emitting no harmful gases and producing no noise pollution. They offer a fun and exhilarating experience while preserving the pristine surroundings. Children between the ages of three and nine can join as passengers, riding along with their parents or guardians, while individuals aged 10 and older have the opportunity to ride their own scooters. Safety equipment, including helmets, is provided for every participant, ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey.

The Scootour Knysna adventure spans approximately two hours and takes you on thrilling runs through unspoiled forests and alongside crystal-clear forest streams. Marvel at the awe-inspiring beauty and power of waterfalls as you navigate the trails. Prepare to be amazed by the dizzying heights of yellowwood trees, some of which are nearly 900 years old, showcasing the grandeur of nature.

The adventure begins at Quay Four Restaurant, located in the charming Thesen Island Harbour Town. From there, you’ll embark on a memorable journey to the tops of the hills, where you’ll experience the sheer joy of descending through stunning fauna. As you make your way through mountains, valleys, and forests, keep your eyes peeled for magnificent bird species, glimpses of bushbuck, or even the occasional wild boar, adding a touch of wildlife encounter to your excursion.

Knysna is conveniently located just a five-hour drive from Cape Town and three hours from Nelson Mandela Bay, making it easily accessible for visitors from near and far. Known for its excellent watersports opportunities, the town is a haven for kite surfing, fishing, and sailing enthusiasts. Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush or a serene escape into nature’s embrace, Knysna offers an abundance of thrilling activities and scenic wonders.

So, hop on a Scootour and let the wind whisk through your hair as you explore the breathtaking landscapes of Knysna. Revel in the beauty of the lagoon, forests, and mountains, and create lasting memories in this remarkable destination along the Garden Route.

Ocean Sailing Charters

Experience the natural splendor of the Garden Route and Knysna in unparalleled luxury aboard our magnificent catamarans. Join us for an exhilarating cruise on the largest and most luxurious vessels in the area, the LaraBella 55ft and Ocean Rhythm 44ft, and embark on a memorable journey through the breathtaking surroundings of Lakes Area National Park.

Your adventure begins at the Jetty, located at Sirocco restaurant on Thesen Island, where you’ll be warmly welcomed by your experienced captain and crew. Step aboard the catamaran, and prepare for an enchanting sail across the Knysna Lagoon. Take in the serene beauty of the lagoon’s turquoise waters as you glide through its gentle currents. The highlight of the journey awaits as we navigate the famous Knysna Heads, the imposing sandstone cliffs that guard the entrance to the lagoon. Weather permitting, we then venture into the open waters of the Indian Ocean, where a world of marine and bird life awaits.

Keep your eyes peeled as we sail further into the ocean, as it’s not uncommon to be joined by playful pods of dolphins or encounter a friendly seal, providing an awe-inspiring and up-close experience with these fascinating creatures.

Once we’ve set sail, you’ll have ample time to relax and bask in the warm sun on the spacious deck of the catamaran. If you’re feeling adventurous, grab one of our stand-up paddleboards and explore the crystal-clear waters at your own pace. For those seeking refreshment, take a refreshing dip in the ocean or snorkel to discover the vibrant underwater world. As you revel in the tranquility of the open sea, we’ll treat you to a glass of ice-cold bubbly, a delightful accompaniment to the stunning coastal vistas.

On our return journey to the Knysna Lagoon, we’ll indulge your taste buds with light snacks, allowing you to savor the flavors while surrounded by the natural beauty of the area. For those seeking an even more exclusive experience, consider booking one of our private charter options. We can tailor the journey to your preferences and create an unforgettable adventure. From hiring a talented musician or DJ to set the perfect ambiance, to a private chef who will craft a culinary masterpiece, or a mixologist who will create exquisite cocktails just for you, we can curate a personalized experience that surpasses all expectations. Capture these precious memories with the help of a professional photographer, ensuring that every special moment is preserved.

The value, luxury, comfort, space, and fun we offer on our catamaran cruises are unmatched by any other operator. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely sail, an encounter with marine life, or a celebration on the open sea, our Ocean Sailing Charters provide an unrivaled experience. Embark on this extraordinary journey and discover the true essence of the Garden Route and Knysna in ultimate style and comfort.

Lakes Area National Park Charter ToursKnysna Heads Oyster Experience

Immerse yourself in the fascinating history and natural wonders of Knysna with the Knysna Heads Oyster Experience, a unique cruise that offers a captivating perspective from the water. Departing from Thesen Island Harbour, the journey takes you across the expansive Knysna Lagoon towards the iconic Knysna Heads. These awe-inspiring cliffs, although majestic, hold a treacherous reputation as one of the most challenging navigational passages globally, making Knysna a renowned destination for daring seafarers.

During the cruise, a knowledgeable guide will provide insightful commentary, pointing out notable landmarks and sharing intriguing information about the Knysna Lagoon. Discover the rich heritage and captivating stories that have shaped this enchanting region, gaining a deeper understanding of its significance.

As you soak in the breathtaking views of the Knysna Heads, indulge in a selection of light snacks and refreshing drinks. Savor the flavors while surrounded by the dramatic coastal scenery, creating a truly memorable experience that engages all your senses. The gentle sway of the boat and the sound of lapping waves enhance the serene ambiance, allowing you to fully appreciate the natural beauty that unfolds before your eyes.

Following this scenic interlude, the cruise returns to the harbor via the Knysna Waterfront, where you can continue to explore the vibrant hub of activity and enjoy the lively atmosphere of this charming town.

The Knysna Heads Oyster Experience offers a delightful combination of history, scenic beauty, and culinary delights. It is an ideal opportunity to immerse yourself in the essence of Knysna, gaining a deeper appreciation for its maritime heritage and the captivating allure of the Knysna Lagoon.

Join us on this captivating cruise and unlock the secrets of Knysna, as you indulge in a memorable experience that combines exploration, relaxation, and gastronomic pleasures.

Lunar Café

Located within the bustling Knysna Mall, Lunar Café is a hidden gem that beckons coffee enthusiasts in the heart of this vibrant coastal town. Positioned along the world-renowned Garden Route, Knysna serves as both a captivating destination in its own right and a popular stopover for travelers embarking on a scenic road trip between the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape.

At Lunar Café, the love for coffee runs deep, and patrons can indulge in the rich aromas and flavors that emanate from every cup. The air is filled with the captivating sound of the coffee machine grinding beans, creating a symphony of coffee-making that adds to the unique ambiance.

Step into the café, and you’ll be greeted by a funky and eclectic décor that captivates the senses. Monochromatic furniture contrasts with bursts of vibrant colors, while a carefully chosen Persian rug, with a history spanning over 80 years, adds a touch of nostalgic charm. The intimate setting of Lunar Café is a significant part of its appeal, fostering a sense of warmth and familiarity that draws both loyal locals and curious visitors alike.

As you sip on your meticulously crafted coffee, you’ll find yourself immersed in the lively atmosphere, engaging in conversations with fellow caffeine enthusiasts or simply savoring a moment of respite in this cozy haven. The Lunar Café serves as a gathering place where stories are shared, ideas are born, and friendships are forged over the shared love of a good cup of joe.

Whether you’re seeking a quick pick-me-up or a leisurely coffee break, Lunar Café invites you to embark on a sensory journey that celebrates the art of coffee. Join the vibrant community of coffee lovers who have made this café their go-to spot in Knysna, and experience firsthand the welcoming spirit and delightful flavors that await you at Lunar Café.


Nestled in the heart of Knysna, Chatters is a renowned pizza joint that has captured the hearts and taste buds of locals and international tourists alike. Situated along the breathtaking Garden Route in the Western Cape, Knysna is a highly sought-after destination, and Chatters stands ready to welcome visitors seeking delectable cuisine in a vibrant atmosphere.

As you step into Chatters, you’ll be greeted by the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked pizzas emerging from the authentic pizza oven. This small, contemporary restaurant is infused with a lively and inviting vibe, reflecting the passion and dedication of its owners. While Chatters is famous for its made-to-order pizzas, prepared with the utmost care and attention to detail, the menu extends beyond Italian delights to include a diverse range of mouthwatering dishes from around the world.

Indulge in juicy burgers, flavorful pastas, crisp salads, comforting potato bakes, and satisfying sandwiches. The pizzas at Chatters can be customized to suit your dietary preferences, as they are available on regular, wheat-free, or gluten-free bases. Whether you’re a traditionalist or an adventurous foodie, Chatters offers a variety of options to satisfy every palate.

To complement your dining experience, Chatters Restaurant is fully licensed, offering a selection of beverages to perfectly complement your meal. And for those with a sweet tooth, the inclusive dessert menu promises a delightful finale to your culinary journey.

Beyond its exceptional cuisine, Chatters exudes a warm and welcoming ambiance, inviting guests to relax, savor their meals, and engage in lively conversations. It is a place where friends and families can come together to enjoy a shared meal, creating lasting memories in an inviting setting.

When in Knysna, be sure to make a stop at Chatters, where you can indulge in flavorsome pizzas, explore a diverse menu of global favorites, and experience the genuine hospitality that has made this restaurant a beloved culinary destination.

Café Z

Nestled within the picturesque Pezula Resort Hotel, Café Z, also known as Zachary’s, beckons visitors with its relaxed ambiance and unwavering commitment to using the freshest ingredients. Renowned as one of the pioneers in the farm-to-table dining concept, Café Z prides itself on sourcing seasonal and local produce, ensuring that every dish is a celebration of quality and flavor.

As you enter Zachary’s, you’ll be greeted by an atmosphere that seamlessly blends elegance with comfort. The menu offers a diverse array of culinary delights, catering to a range of palates and preferences. Sink your teeth into juicy burgers and succulent grills, or savor the exquisite flavors of Knysna oysters and tender duck confit. Every dish is thoughtfully crafted, incorporating in-house ingredients such as their own cured meats, resulting in a dining experience that tantalizes the taste buds with unique and unforgettable flavor sensations.

To complement your meal, Café Z boasts an impressive selection of wines, available by the bottle, glass, or carafe. If you’re looking for a delightful pre-dinner indulgence, the adjacent champagne bar provides the perfect setting to sip on handcrafted cocktails, setting the stage for a memorable dining experience.

Not only does Café Z offer a culinary journey like no other, but its location within the Pezula Resort Hotel adds an extra layer of charm and sophistication. Set amidst the stunning natural beauty of the Lakes Area National Park, the resort offers a range of amenities and activities for guests to enjoy, from championship golf courses and rejuvenating spa treatments to nature walks and scenic viewpoints that showcase the breathtaking landscapes of the surrounding area.

Whether you’re seeking a leisurely lunch, an intimate dinner, or a place to unwind with a pre-dinner drink, Café Z invites you to savor the finest flavors in an atmosphere that effortlessly combines refinement and relaxation. Embrace the culinary artistry and warm hospitality that have made this restaurant a beloved destination for both locals and travelers alike.

Lakes Area National Park and its surrounding attractions provide a multitude of opportunities for adventure, relaxation, and exploration. Whether you seek thrilling outdoor activities, cultural encounters, or a chance to connect with nature’s wonders, this remarkable destination promises an unforgettable experience for all who visit.

Lakes Area National Park invites you to immerse yourself in its awe-inspiring beauty, where tranquil waters meet verdant forests, and diverse ecosystems thrive harmoniously. Whether you seek adventure, tranquility, or an opportunity to reconnect with nature, this remarkable park offers an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. Embark on a journey of discovery in Lakes Area National Park and let the wonders of this natural paradise leave an indelible mark on your soul.


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