Venture over a small bridge onto Thesen’s Island, a posh seaside enclave with waterfront mansions and a Nantucket vibe. Wander down Long Street for exclusive shops like Aldo Kleyn Leather Designs and pick up a python jacket by the eponymous South African designer. The smattering of galleries is rich with local work, such as Katherine Wood’s sculptures and landscapes at Katherine Wood Fine Art. The Jandreart Studio evokes a cozy living room in the French countryside hung with bold canvases, and the Dallas Smith Gallery deals in animals and maritime scenes. Gallery fatigue setting in? Book a detox body wrap or aromatherapy massage at Le Spa Tranquille. Just make sure you’re done before sunset—that’s when stylish locals throng the sleek rooftop bar The Project. Opened in 2015, it’s now the Garden Route’s go-to spot for a sundowner. Before heading back to the mainland, stop for dinner at Freshline Fisheries, an open-air establishment that’s a bit hard to find, but worth the effort. Sink your toes in the sand and choose between angelfish, kingklip, or yellowtail either fried or cooked on the braai (South African for barbecue). Pair your fresh catch with local Grapetizer soda; note: you’ll have to BYO anything stronger.
Leave the mainland behind for Thesen’s Island, a 15-minute drive from the hotel.
ALDO KLEYN LEATHER DESIGNS: 5 Long Street, Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna; 27- (0)73-299-0598
KATHERINE WOOD FINE ART: 4 Long Street; 27-(0)83-652-4956; katherinewood.com
JANDREART STUDIO: 2 Long Street, Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna; 27-(0)78-610-5104; janraats.com
DALLAS SMITH GALLERY: 13 Long Street, Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna; 27-(0)82-874-7995; dallassmith.org
THE PROJECT: 1st Floor (Sirocco Building), TH28, Thesen Harbour Town, Thesen Island, Knysna, 6570; 27-(0)44-302-5814; theprojectbar.co.za
LE SPA TRANQUILLE: The Boatshed, Thesen Islands, Long Street, Knysna; 27(0)44-302-5727; lespa.co.za
FRESHLINE FISHERIES: Railway Siding Dockyard, Corner Long Street and Waterfront Drive (Behind Tait Marine), Knysna; 27-(0)44-382-3131; freshlinefisheries.co.za