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Sunset Cruise Knysna | Boat Tours & Sailing Trips

sailing yacht between the Knysna heads

Knysna offers single hull and catamaran boats which are sailed or motored depending on the conditions. Travelling from the lagoon into the Indian Ocean on a sailing catamaran is the best way to experience a sunset cruise in Knysna. Top the evening off with a glass of sparkling wine to toast the setting sun! A single sip can transport your senses to the vineyards of Franschhoek or Stellenbosch.

The sunsets in Knysna are best experienced during the summer months when the sun sets over the ocean with warm weather. Perfect for embracing a swim in comfortable water conditions of 70℉ (21℃).

Discover your ideal sunset cruise to suit you below. We cover the sailing, motor-boats and floating restaurants offering sunset cruises in Knysna.

Knysna Sunset Cruise

Knysna is one of the Garden Route’s best known travel locations and is famous for its oysters. The Knysna river mouth meets the ocean at the foot of the Outeniqua mountain. Outeniqua means ‘those who bear honey’ and is ascribed to the San and Khoi who once inhabited the mountains. Take time during your cruise to enjoy the natural beauty of Knysna!

Oysters on ice during sunset cruise

Ocean Sailing Charters

Climb aboard a luxury 44ft catamaran for a sunset cruise in Knysna with Ocean Sailing Charters. Your sail starts and ends at the Thesen Island Harbour. Knysna estuary is known as the Garden Route’s gem with the dramatic Knysna Heads standing at the meeting point of the lagoon and ocean.

Feel truly free at sea when you choose a 2,5 hour cruise for $66 (R990) per adult.  Should you feel adventurous Ocean Sailing Charters allows you to take a dip or even paddle board once the anchor has been dropped. Book extra hours and experience a traditional braai onboard for a minimum of six passengers.

Boats moored at Knysna Harbour

Consider sailing into the Indian Ocean for an unforgettable proposal to your partner or a romantic date. The entire vessel can be booked for a private and more intimate cruise with your loved one. Travelling on your own? A group tour is a great way to meet like minded travellers on the water.

Click here to check prices and book

Knysna Charters

Set off on a 90-minute sunset cruise with Knysna Charters. The twin-hull motorboat has an upper deck for seating and is known affectionately as the ‘oyster boat’. Tours start from the ‘Knysna Charters’ activity desk on Thesen Island.

Sunset cruises from Knysna waterfront cost $43 (R650) per person and can accommodate 12 guests. The entire boat can be booked for a private experience. Add oysters and a Method Cap Classique sparkling wine to experience the best of South African seafood and wine.

Knysna Heads opening to the sea

John Benn Sunset Cruise

John Benn is a twin hull motor-boat with a restaurant and two bars offering food and drinks during cruises. The company hosts sunset cruises with a tapas style menu. ‘John Benn’ is named after the famous pilot who was in charge of safe passage into the Knysna lagoon from 1868. The boat itself is well known and features stunning yellow wood sourced from the Knysna forest.

The boat provides enclosed seating allowing for trips in all weather conditions. Tickets are affordable with food and drinks billed separately. Arrive 30 minutes prior to your cruise time at the Featherbed Ferry Terminus in the Knysna Harbour. If you need to cancel your tickets, notify the office within 72 hours of your cruise date for a 100% refund.

Boat cruising at Knysna heads view towards the lagoon

Things to Know for Your Knysna Boat Cruise

Looking at activities for Knysna on Tripadvisor, you will notice many affordable options. A boat cruise can be adventurous and provide incredible wildlife sightings. The ‘Oyster Boat’ offers the most affordable ticket at only $27 (R400) for a 75-minute lagoon cruise, ideal for up to 12 participants.

Cruising is the perfect activity for families with children of all ages. A trip on an authentic sailing yacht lets you relax while the crew work around you. Climb aboard the ‘Spring Tide’ for a single-hull sailing yacht experience including dinner. Spring Tide sailing charters are based in the Knysna Harbour and trips start at the lighthouse inspired ticket office.

Knysna estuary is part of the South African National Parks and hosts an incredible diversity of species. Learn about the endangered Knysna Sea Horse which is an endemic species found in only three estuaries in South Africa. See specimens in person at the SANParks Thesen Island Office in Knysna.

African Fish Eagles flying with fish

Knysna Lagoon Cruise Conditions

A sunset cruise is weather and swell dependent. On days when the swell is too strong to travel between the heads, cruises take place on the lagoon; the last 20 km of the Knysna river before it reaches the sea is a tidal zone.

Rainfall in Knysna is not a cause for concern when choosing a cruise. Levels are evenly distributed throughout the year with an average of 700mm. If the boat does not have an enclosed deck a windbreaker or rain jacket will be suitable.

Sunset cruises depart later in Summer and are more likely to have comfortable conditions. Winter cruisers can still expect great conditions but should note some operators depart as early as 5 pm in June and July. Remember your camera, sunblock, sunhat and windbreaker.

Yatchs at sunset at Knysna Harbour

Knysna: ‘The Heads’ & Other Things to See

The Knysna Heads are a part of the Outeniqua Mountain and form a natural bottleneck between the estuary and the ocean. Following fires in the area in 2017, archeologists discovered 102 artifacts on the Featherbed nature reserve located at the headland. They attribute the tools to early stone age residents living in the area more than 200 000 years ago.

It is easy to see why ‘The Heads’ were a popular location for foraging and hunting. Traveling between the heads into the Indian Ocean, you’ll likely discover seals, dolphins, Bryde’s whales, and even, on occasion, African penguins.

Dolphins swimming at sunset at Knysna Heads

Boat trips on the Knysna lagoon at sunset also offer a unique opportunity for birdwatching. The estuary is home to more than 280 species of birds. Knysna boat trips are affordable and the wildlife and bird sightings will keep you on your toes.

Final Thoughts on a Sunset Cruise in Knysna

You are spoilt for choice when booking sunset boat cruises in Knysna. Single hull, catamarans and restaurants on the water all offer affordable and professional cruise experiences. Set sail on your own, with a partner or your family for an unique view of the incredible Knysna Heads.

Check the Knysna weather forecast for rain, wind and swell conditions to help you choose the right date.

Traveling the Garden Route all the way to Cape Town? Visit the African penguins at Boulders Beach for a tour.

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