Going to the Knysna Oyster Festival? 3 spots you have to try out

If you are attending the Knysna Oyster Festival this year, you have to check out these incredible tourist attractions. Picture: Rose Bilbrough

If you are attending the Knysna Oyster Festival this year, you have to check out these incredible tourist attractions. Picture: Rose Bilbrough

Published May 17, 2024


The 2024 Knysna Oyster Festival will take place from June 21-30 and is promising to be a “shucking good time,” according to organisers.

The festival is prioritising the love of oysters and additionally putting some much-needed spotlight on Knysna’s other tourist attractions.

This year, an IOL team had the privilege of taking part in the festivities in the run-up to the Oyster Festival.

Here are three spots you have to try if you are going to the festival this year.

Sirocco on Thesen Island

Sirocco on Thesen Island: Picture: Sirocco Restaurant

We had an intimate and thought-provoking education on the history of oysters in South Africa and Knysna at this restaurant.

The restaurant is situated on the water's edge of Knysna's trendy Thesen Harbour Town, Sirocco is evocatively named after the warm wind that blows across the Mediterranean.

The venue is vibey and has a beach theme with the touches of a fine dining restaurant.

We were privileged to get a hands-on demonstration on how to eat and enjoy oysters at Sirocco by Elizabeth Vertue, spokesperson for the Quartet of Cuisines in Knysna

The quartet are made up of four restaurants including 34 South, Drydock Restaurant and Terrace, Sirocco and Tapas and Oysters.

Vertue explained that the Knysna common Cape rock oyster has been stealing the show for many years and occurs naturally along the coastline between Cape Agulhas and the Transkei.

“We offer the common rock oyster in all our restaurants, and many of our foreign visitors believe that these local molluscs are the best and tastiest oysters in the world,” Vertue added.

The restaurant’s head chef also provided us with a few special oyster preparations that included a mignonette with Japanese ginger, that was out of this world.

So if you are a bit squeamish and would rather have your oyster dressed up the team at Sirocco has you covered.

Oysters prepared by Sirocco restaurant. Picture: Vernon Pillay

Sip and Paint

Picture: Angelique Strydom

When the organisers told us that we would be experiencing a sip and paint activity I was not very enthusiastic about the activity.

It screams middle-aged, suburban mom with too much money on their hands.

But I was wrong, the experience was hosted by renowned artist Helena Gerber and was held at her charming and intimate art studio 10 Queen Street.

Gerber puts you at ease and if you are like me and have no artistic talent she provides options and ideas that help you create something worth putting up in your house.

The fact that wine is given throughout the event did not hurt matters and helped the creativity flow.

Marine Eco Tour with Ocean Odyssey

A a small Bryde's whale. Picture: Cinematic Solutions SA

One of the most spiritual experiences during this trip to Knysna was taking a tour of the Knysna coastline to spot some of the breathtaking marine life.

I was lucky to venture through the Knysna heads and also got a chance to see some of the panoramic coves, caves and bays along the Knysna coast.

Despite the fact that it was still early for whale spotting in the area I was lucky to spot a small Bryde's whale, Humpback and Bottlenose dolphins.

The marine tour was a one-in-a-lifetime experience and should be on everyone’s bucket list.