Knysna Hiking Trails: Knysna Heads Hike for Beginners
What do we mean by “beginners”? We mean people (like us!) who have been largely inactive for the past decade and have used lockdown to reconnect with nature, our bodies and exercising!
While waiting to check into our hotel, we popped up to the Knysna Heads to take a peek. While there was an official car guard on duty, we didn’t feel comfortable leaving our vehicle (packed with all our belongings) and decided to head to the bottom of the mountain for an ice cream (it wasn’t very good – don’t bother).
However, the views were so beautiful we decided to “pull up our socks” and return the following morning for a proper walk and really enjoy the Knysna landscape earlier in the morning.
Knysna Heads Hike
Parking a the Edge Restaurant, the footpath starts next to the ice cream kiosk. Ascend the stairs and follow the bricked path along the mountainside. The shape of the trees and natural curvature will dictate where to go, until an exit to the right where the path continues. This will take you to the first lookout point, however, it is possible to keep rounding the mountain to continue further.
In this second portion, you will reach a cave. You can climb up into the cave to see, however, this is actually a dead end and you can not pursue the path any further from here. Return to the large sign (that has had all the letters picked off so you can’t read it) and take the right path to continue along the hike.
This path is very narrow, but the bushes have been maintained, which means you can squeeze along. Rounding the corner you will find a large, wooden bridge that connects the two rocky outcrops in an easier fashion. Cross the bridge and continue along the footpath.
Again, the path will become quite narrow as you near the end of the trail, it doesn’t last long but be sure to pay attention to the path for your own safety. There are no ropes or ladders to guide you.
From here the path easily opens up to the platform of the large rocky stage, the end of the Knysna Heads hike. You can peek around the corner to see what’s there but, again, be careful. It’s wet and if you fall you will be in big trouble as it’s quite a drop and it will be difficult to rescue you due to the size of the swell and location.
We recommend just sitting on the rocky platform, watching the boats penetrate the famous Knysna Heads and enjoying the views back on the mountain, lagoon and town.
What Should I Take With Me?
Shoes to Wear
Sandals or slip flops are a massive no. You need to wear trainers or shoes that are firm on your feet. I wore sneakers with a linen top and they worked but my feet slipped in them quite a bit, which wasn’t ideal. It’s best to wear comfortable, snug shoes for the best grip and connection to the path.
We popped into the Click in Knysna and bought a Factor 50 sunblock which worked perfectly for the 10am – 12pm hike. We applied a decent layer and this kept us protected for the activity.
We recommend a cap over a hat as it is likely to stay more firmly on your head. If your hat blows off, there’s no fetching it from the rock pools below. So if you prefer a hat, a cap (or something that will stay firmly on your head) is your best bet.
The hike isn’t very far so we didn’t bother packing any water but it’s always good to have as a backup and we do recommend taking a small amount of water with you.
When Is the Best Time To Visit?
Because of the nature of this trail, we only recommend visiting on sunny, bright days. The morning time makes the most sense as the wind is low. We do not recommend taking this trail in windy or misty conditions.
How Long Does It Take?
All in all, less than an hour to the end and back. We took our time as we were shooting photographs and video content, but this is a quick hike that can easily be done (by other unfit people!) in under an hour.
This was a really fun, beautiful trip for us to do as a couple. We have no previous hiking experience and thoroughly enjoyed the day so you should be 100% fine! Enjoy it, have fun, but do be safe – those views can be quite distracting! So, preferably, you can hike with someone else just for safety sake. And if you do go, please take us in your IG pics!