Visit Knysna Newsletter: 26 June 2019

Visit Knysna Office Update

We welcome our new staff to the office and thank Glendyrr and Gloria for their contribution whilst they were on contract with WESGRO.

  • Thozeka Sikali is our Tourism Information Officer.  The office telephone number remains 044 382 5510 and we encourage you to communicate regularly with her on the email address .
  • Hanlie de Villiers is our Administrator, Bookkeeper and will also engage with Trade.  She is contactable on 
  • Nadine Kidd is currently on contract with us in the portfolio of Social & Digital Media etc.  Many of you will have met her at our recent Stakeholder Engagement and / or during the Knysna Oyster Festival.  Communicate with Nadine on
  • Keagon Borchards continues with us in the position of IT, Marketing, Website & Social Media – Coordinator.  His main focus will be events and consumer relations.  His email address is now 

Knysna Oyster Festival

We need to acknowledge and appreciate the event organisers that took up the challenge to put together activities towards this year’s Knysna Oyster Festival programme :  great to have this festive vibe in town.  After collating the programme within 3 months, it is very exciting that the community is once again host to this wonderful winter event.  In our short time as Visit Knysna there have been many lessons learnt, but it has also been very heartening to hear encouraging comments in anticipation and planning towards next year’s event already.  Together, as a community we need to grow this event and tourism arrivals to our beautiful part of the Garden Route.

  • After the Knysna Oyster Festival, we will be replacing the billboards at all entrances.  As we are still working towards the (new) creative for the Greater Knysna area, these new billboards will, in the meantime, carry generic messaging, with the intention of:
    • Creating POSITIVE engagement between us, as locals
    • Experiential perspective for our visitors

We have also updated our sign outside the Visit Knysna office at 40 Main Road to incorporate locational maps of Knysna and the Greater Knysna area.  The sign has a light so it is lit up at night.

Visit Knysna – upcoming engagements

In the upcoming months, Visit Knysna will be participating in a number of tourism engagements.  These were discussed and approved at our recent Advisory Board meeting :

  • 9 – 11 July :  The annual SATSA Conference will take place at the Wild Coast Sun.
  • 16 – 17 July :  SATSA Garden Route Road Show to Cape Town where we will interact with and present to trade.  This is being organized by SATSA Garden Route :  well done to them for this initiative.
  • 17 – 19 July :  We have a Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) meeting with WESGRO.  This involves regional and local tourism offices.  Keagon will also be there to attend an events workshop that will be hosted over this period too.
  • We have committed to the following 2 consumer shows :
    • 4 – 6 October :   Gauteng Getaway Show
    • 25 – 27 October :  Outdoor Eco & Adventure Travel Expo.

We would appreciate it if any products that intend participating in either or both these shows be in touch soonest with Keagon at our office :  email or telephone 044 382 5510.
We will also engage with stakeholders to get input and suggestions on possible campaigns and expected outcomes to be incorporated into these.

Upcoming events :     

22 – 30 July :  127th Rastafari Earth Festival.
July 23rd marks the birthday (or what is referred to as the ‘earth day’) of the Rastafarian’s spiritual messiah, His Majesty Haile Selassie I. The annual Earth Festival honours this special date on their religious calendar and is a joyous and colourful celebration of this fascinating and vibrant Knysna community. It also serves as a platform for these residents to openly share with others the traditions and roots of their faith.

6 – 8 September :  Knysna Timber Festival
This event is the creation of the Knysna Timber Initiative, a group of local Knysna businesses who see Knysna as the Woodworking Capital of South Africa – largely due the deep and rich heritage and history of timber-related activities in the area.

22 September :   Buco Lions Karoo to Coast
This Mountain Bike Challenge is a 100km off-road race from UNIONDALE to KNYSNA via the Prince Alfred’s Pass. The route is scenic, challenging and riders are encouraged to train sufficiently for this event in order to maximise the enjoyment of the experience. 

29 October – 2 November :  Knysna Film Festival
2019 Sees the exciting addition of the first ‘Knysna Film Festival’. The festival aims to give filmmakers an opportunity to engage intimate audiences about their films. The organizers believe in diversity, not only of people but of films. Live the experience as our audiences are everything. This includes filmmakers, industry professionals and public. The final night will be the Awards gala event

Visit our website for more event information. 

Much time and effort goes into organizing events and we encourage you to encourage others to support the offerings.  There is no better way of seeing and experiencing things than by “getting out there”. 

Events also offer the ideal opportunity for our visitors to mingle with our locals.

Media & Operator Hosting

  • With South African Tourism and WESGRO, we recently hosted 10 UK Tour Operators and Travel Agents who had won a trip to the Western Cape through the SAT School Programme.  For most of them, it was their first time visiting South Africa and it was wonderful that they were exposed to our area.  They loved their experience.
  • SKAL Garden Route recently hosted 6 Russian media representatives on the Garden Route and especially in the Greater Knysna area :  thank you to them and the products that we involved in the educational experience hosting.  We are looking forward to the publication exposure that they will give our region.
  • With the Garden Route & Klein Karoo District Municipality, we recently hosted a Travel Blogger, René Connelly of Media Boxx, in the Garden Route.  Thank you to those that were involved in René’s outing and experiences. 

Items to share (on behalf of others) :

  • Guest Business Speaker :  Thuijs Merks. 

16h00 – 19h00 on Wednesday, 10 July at the Turbine Hotel.
Topic :Getting ready for the tourists of 2030 – tips & tricks to adapt your business to future visitor expectations. Thijs is the managing director of Bureaueven Management Support in Baarn Netherlands, focussing on concept development in hotels and restaurants based on thorough market research, on-site construction support, interim management and trouble-shooting and coaching.He is currently the expert consulting at local business, Blackwaters River Lodge, after the business was accepted on the “PUM Netherlands Expert Programme”.  PUM is a Dutch organisation that utilises the services of experts and volunteers from the Dutch travel & tourism industry who will mentor your business (for free), and give you detailed advice on specific aspects to be agreed between the two parties.  See  If you are keen to attend, please RSVP (essential) to or phone the Turbine Hotel on 044 3025746 /

  • We shared the invitation from Garden Route Game Lodge to visit their property on Wednesday, 17 July.  Please confirm directly with them should you wish to join the travelling group from Knysna: .  Lunch will be for your own account.
  • The Francois Ferreira Academy is hosting a Breakfast Cook Training Course on the 2, 3, 4 July.  Please liaise directly with them should you require further information:  /  044 884 0765  /  1 York Street, George.
  • Join the Francois Ferreira Academy on the  3rd of July for an information session about their Tourism and Hospitality Diploma Course. Click here for more information

DEDAT sent us information on an SMME Booster Fund that they are offering.  We shared this link with products / businesses that we hope can potentially benefit.

Check out the three main trends that are shaping the tourism sector’s business.  Click here to read more

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