It may take years for Knysna to recover from the disastrous fires but the Southern Cape town isn’t going down without a fight. In an optimistic spirit, Knysna’s rising above the havoc and the Oyster Festival is going ahead as planned. The organisers have appealed to the public to continue to show their support by attending the events where some of the proceeds will go towards the reconstruction of the town.
There are over 100 activities at this year’s Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival and the 10-day programme (7-16 July 2017) is jam-packed with things to do. From oysters (of course!) to family hikes, night runs to kayaking and live bands to wine tasting, here are eight not-to-be-missed activities.
- Places to eat and drink on a budget at the Knysna Oyster Festival
- Budget accommodation for the Knysna Oyster Festival
1. Get action-packed fun & more
Those who like to want to have fun and still compete without breaking a sweat have plenty of options to choose from:
- Cyclists can take part in the Momentum Weekend Argus Knysna Cycle Tour or take the family on the Forest Family Dam Ride.
- Golfers can enjoy the Festival of Golf at Pezula. There are also singular ladies and men’s golf days.
- Participate in the Harbour2Heads Lagoon Challenge, a canoe marathon.
- If you love to compete in the spirit of fun, then you should try out Dare 2 Dash Obstacle Challenge for anyone over the age of seven and runs daily.
- The SIMOLA Phantom Night Run guarantees to stimulate all your senses! Not only will you run on a dark New Moon lit night (with the illumination of your Ledlenser Headlamp), you will also hear the “voices of the Forest” which will be performed by local Opera Singers scattered in the forest, singing arias and songs from different operas and composers.
- The whole family can take part in a bunch of inflatable activities like the bungee trampoline, mechanical bull and zorb balls.
- For the not-so-fit, there’s the Knysna Marathon Club 5km Fun Run, while those up for a bit of an adventure can do the Houtkapper Trail Run through the Knysna Forest (watch out for those elephants!)
- Water-lovers can take part in the Featherbed Lagoon Mile Swim,Canoe enthusiasts can try out canoe polo in a team of five at the Knysna Waterfront.
- Take a cruise on the Featherbed Company’s Paddle Cruiser while listening to opera.
- Rugby fans can play in the Oyster Festival Rugby Tournament.
- Netball supporters can catch the Greater Knysna Netball Tournament.
- Ladies can do a 5km walk to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer at the Pick n’ Pay Women’s Walk.
- Walk for Knysna to show support for rebuilding the town after the fire.
- Chess lovers have a competition of their own with the Oyster Rapid Chess Tournament.
- Or just do it all and enter the Maserati BIG5 Challenge, a prestigious multisport event that includes the Momentum Weekend Argus Knysna Cycle Tour, Knysna Dragon’ s Lagoon Mile Swim, FeatherBed Trail Run, MTB X and the Momentum Knysna Forest Half Marathon. There are also the Maserati BIG5 Lite and Maserati BIG5 Junior events.
2. FNB Family Forest Hike in the Harkerville Forest
10, 12 and 14 July
Choose between a 2,5km, 6km or 10km trail and take the whole family on a hike through the Harkerville Forest. Kids will love searching for gnomes and fairies in the trees and under ferns and you may be lucky enough to see a loerie or the timid blue duiker. The ticket price includes a goodie bag, breakfast for you set out and snacks when you get back.
FNB pull out all the stops to make this a fun family affair, with a fantastic array of breakfast options (from fruit to cereal to yoghurt, served with coffee, juice or hot chocolate) and a wide variety of snacks after the hike (sausage rolls, mini hamburgers, rolls with cold meat selection, chicken wings). Kids can raid the cookie jars filled with sweets, biltong and marshmallows while parents can enjoy a pint of Mitchell’s beer (beer not included in the ticket price). There is ample seating on couches and beanbags and the trails are well marked so no-one gets lost.
Cost: R395 per adult (includes a hiking top worth R800), R150 per child 12yrs & younger (includes a gift worth R150)
3. See local bands
There will be live entertainment everyday at the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival at various locations such as PJ Powers and The Knysna All Stars feat Afro Quartez.
4. Wine Festival and Night Market
10 and 11 July
With approximately 50 wine estates under one tent, there are plenty of wines, cheeses and oysters to get through in just over three hours. Your ticket includes a wine glass for tastings, which you can keep as a memento.
There’s something for everyone’s taste and budget at the Night Market with wide array of food choices, from sushi to samosas, hamburgers to bobotie and shwarmas to boerie rolls. Save some money for local crafts, jewellery and clothing.
5. Local Design and Food Market
See talented designers and foodies from the Garden Route showcasing their goods in a beautifully styled and buzzing environment. The focus of this market is on locally produced decor, fashion accessories, clothing and art, as well as freshly and creatively prepared food, while live music and a bar add to the festivities. Entrance is free.
6. Activities for children
Littlies are kept well entertained at the Knysna Oyster Festival with daily programmes available. The Pick n Pay Young Oyster Festival has various activities every day at the Festival Pavilion, and there are loads of other fun sporting events for kids as well as craft and culinary workshops. You can pick up a separate programme for children at various outlets in Knysna, including the Information Centre.
7. Seafood Wednesday
An entrance fee of R20 allows you to experience the best seafood menus from Knysna’s restaurants. It starts at 5pm and ends at 10pm and there are also beer and wine tastings. Don’t miss the Pick n Pay Fish Braai, the Oyster Shucking and Eating Competitions, as well as the famous Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival Flavours of Knysna.
8. Eat oysters!
It is an oyster festival so there’s no end to places to have oysters and the prices and styles vary from place to place. You could have oysters with Tabasco, oysters with tequila, oysters in vodka and oysters with champagne.
This year there are 11 places listed as hotspots and the offerings range from three cocktail coastal oysters with a splash of Olmeca Extra Matured Tequila for R25 at Tapas & Oysters, 8 cocktail coastal oysters ( al natural) for R34 at 34 South, 3 large cultivated oysters infused with passion fruit Skyy Vodka for R49 at Drydock, or experience on the Swartvlei Lake on a pontoon cruise with 6 large cultivated oysters and wine tasting for R250 per person, to name a few.
If you prefer all your oysters under one roof, then the Pick n’ Pay Knysna Oyster Festival Flavours of Knysna is the place to go where restaurants from Knysna compete for the “best dressed oyster” and you get to taste them. Tickets cost R180 per person and include a voucher booklet for oyster and wine tastings. They also have some options for non-oyster lovers.