The Knysna Municipality is a Category B municipality located in the Garden Route District of the Western Cape. The area comprises 11 wards with a population of 73 835 and a total of 1059 km² that stretches from Swartvlei in Sedgefield in the West to Brackenhill in the East.
It is the historic, geographic and cultural epicentre of the Garden Route and a region high on the must see list of most visitors to South Africa, and with good reason. The 300km stretch of coastline from Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River in the east gets its name from the area’s ecologically diverse range of topography, terrain, vegetation and wildlife.
Pristine beaches, many with “Blue Flag” status, and warm waters dissolve inland into picturesque lagoons and lakes, tropical forests, rolling hills and, eventually, the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountain ranges that divide the Garden Route from the arid Klein (“Little”) Karoo.
The Garden Route National Park and 9 other nature reserves cover thousands of hectares, embracing the varied ecosystems of the area. The indigenous forests and the unique Cape fynbos are home to a myriad of wildlife and birds. Along the coastline, marine reserves are the domain of soft coral reefs, dolphins, seals, seahorses and more, while bays serve as nurseries to the endangered Southern Right Whale.
Fed by the Knysna River, the 18km² Knysna Estuary is home to at least 200 species of fish and opens into the Indian Ocean between two towering sandstone cliffs known as The Heads – proclaimed by the British Royal Navy to be the most dangerous harbour entrance in the world.
It is one of the smallest municipalities of the seven that make up the Garden Route district, accounting for only 5% of its geographical area. It has however the fourth largest economy in the Garden Route District and boasts good infrastructure and basic services. Adjacent municipalities include George Local Municipality to the north-west and Bitou Local Municipality to the east.