Prepare for a shucking good time in Knysna!

The highly anticipated Knysna Oyster Festival is back with a splash and set to take place from 21 to 30 June 2024. With its delectable oysters, vibrant atmosphere and thrilling sporting events, this year’s festival promises plenty of excitement and a full programme for attendees.

Under the enticing theme, “A shucking good time!”, the festival will celebrate the unique charm and flavours of Knysna and invite festinos to indulge in a feast of food, sporting and cultural activities.

Traditionally, the festival has kicked off with the Knysna Cycle Tour. However, this year, the excitement begins with the popular Knysna Forest Marathon, scheduled for the first weekend of the festival. Participants can lace up their running shoes for an early-morning start before they traverse the breathtaking trails of the Knysna Forest.

The full festival lineup boasts a plethora of events designed to cater to diverse interests and ages. From live music performances and cooking competitions to wine festivals and arts and crafts markets, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Additionally, the festival organisers are working on bringing the oyster back to centre stage and ensuring this popular mollusc will be readily available at venues throughout the Knysna area.

Elizabeth Vertue, spokesperson for the Quartet of Cuisines in Knysna, explains that while Japanese oyster spats may not call the Knysna Lagoon home anymore, the Knysna common Cape rock oyster, aka Crassostrea margaritacea, 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 these local molluscs are the best and tastiest oysters in the world,” she adds.

They are harvested locally by experienced oyster pickers who are licensed by SANParks to collect one 40kg bag of oysters each day over seven days during spring low tide only.

These delicious coastal oysters – as well as oysters that have been cultivated further along the coast in Saldanha Bay – will be available at many of the Knysna Oyster Festival events this year, including an exciting new event especially for oyster lovers on Tuesday, 25 June: Oysters – Roasted, Dressed or Naked? Hosted at the Castle Lite Tent at the Festival Hub (on the Knysna High School sports fields), the event will offer guests the opportunity to indulge in a feast of coastal and cultivated oysters prepared in every way imaginable by Knysna’s talented local chefs.

That evening you can also witness the skills of local shuckers in the thrilling Oyster Shucking Championships when participants attempt to smash the world record of 38 oysters shucked in one minute!

At the heart of the festival, the 12 Savanna Oyster Hot Spots will be serving up oysters in a symphony of flavours. Tantalise your taste buds and satisfy your oyster cravings with baked garlic and parmesan cheese oysters; take a shot of Margarita oyster delight; indulge in oysters with limoncello sorbet and cracked black pepper; or, if you’re a purist, enjoy raw oysters served with lemon wedges, black pepper and Tabasco Sauce.

“The Knysna Oyster Festival is not just a celebration of our region’s delicious oysters but also a testament to the vibrant community spirit that defines Knysna,” says Knysna Executive Mayor, Cllr Aubrey Tsengwa. “We are thrilled to unveil an eclectic mix of events and activities that showcase the best of what Knysna has to offer.”

As anticipation builds for this year’s festivities, visitors are encouraged to mark their calendars and book their accommodation early to avoid missing out on the ultimate Knysna experience.

Join us as we raise a toast to Knysna, its oysters and the unforgettable memories waiting to be made at the 2024 Knysna Oyster Festival.

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