/ 4 July 2022

No shucks given at the Knysna Oyster Festival

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(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

It’s day four of the Knysna Oyster Festival (KOF), and if you haven’t made your way to Knysna yet, you have until 10 July to experience fresh food, the outdoor lifestyle, entertainment and the ultimate treasure hunt. 

The festival is a 10-day guide and exposure to new ways of living including mindfulness, discovering new flavours, connecting with nature and finding some new, interesting items for your wardrobe at the Thrift Fair Extravaganza. 

From sailing to self care

Knysna’s shores are the perfect setting for clinking champagne flutes while watching the sunset from a catamaran or paddling in a canoe. Boats of Knysna will, from 11am to 4pm, will show why the boat is the transport of choice in this town. 

The Knysna Lagoon borders the indigenous forests before winding its way out into the Indian Ocean, where the Knysna oysters were first cultivated in the 1940s. Fast forward to 2022, and these oysters remain the stars of the festival that has become about much more than just shucking shellfish. 

“It has been a while since Knysna has seen an Oyster Festival with so much variety, with everything organised by locals, for locals … those who are making arrangements behind the scenes so that the rest of us can have a good time, ” says Knysna’s mayor, Levael Davis. 

April to September is oyster season for this Garden Route town with the first week of July being the peak season for the freshest and finest oysters. Live your best life at the festival while shucking shells, squeezing lemons and drizzling Tabasco at restaurants such as 34° South, Drydock Restaurant & Terrace or Thesen Island’s Tapas & Oysters. 

The festival also offers opportunities for guests to explore self-care practices that are rooted in mindfulness. On 5 July there is a Gratitude Journal Workshop for guests to create their own gratitude journal, hosted at The Queen. Other activities that help keep the mind, body, and spirit centred include pilates for cyclists and runners, also on 5 July and the nature connection experience, Rewilding … Back to Belonging at Pledge Nature Reserve on 8 July. 

Leave your mark 

Celebrating the delicious aphrodisiac is one thing but the festival also serves as a reminder that this seafood tapas comes from our oceans. Gathering on the shores for a beach cleanup only scrapes the surface of what litter is floating in the water, but how often does one go below the surface to face what waste lies among the reefs and rock pools?

Leave your mark on the ocean in a positive way by joining the underwater scuba cleanup on 4 July for the Underwater Scuba Dive Cleanup. You can also leave your mark in other ways by taking part in the The Oyster Shucking Competition at The Knysna Experience on 7 and 8 July. To win, teams must see who can shuck and eat the most oysters. The art of shucking is also what makes the event special. Taste is a matter of choice, but quality is a matter of fact, especially when it comes to fresh oysters. 

You should’ve shebeen there

Knysna offers a culinary universe that invites those with a taste for the finer things in life and those who enjoy gathering for a Friday night drink. From Wednesday, 6 July, people can choose from a variety of dining experiences. 

There is also the Tastes of Knysna Oyster cooking contest at The Knysna Experience and The Art of Spice & Tea Dinner, an informative four-course dinner at The Spice & Tea House. Or keep the festive vibrations going with the Shebeen Experiences, a guided night experience at local bars and taverns as well as a gin tasting at the Knysna Distillery. 

The Knysna Oyster Festival is a daily, town-wide event for families, foodies and fanatics of running. See the full itinerary on the festival’s website.