Leisure Isle is a residential suburb, one of the two island suburbs of Knysna. It is 6 kms from the centre of Knysna, and is approached from George Rex Drive. Refer to Map and directions for further details

The Island has a total circumference of over 4 kms, is 1.6 kms in length and .5 km across at its widest point. There are about 450 houses on the Island, more than half of which are occupied by permanent residents. Many houses are available for rent by holidaymakers.

During the holiday season the Island's population swells considerably, and many day visitors also enjoy its facilities. Anne Brash's impressionistic map above, although not to scale, captures the feel of the island very well.

Climate, rainfall and temperatures

Knysna has an oceanic climate, with warm summers and winters that are mild to chilly. The best weather is probably during spring and autumn months when there is less wind.

During the summer, the average maximum temperature reaches about 25C (77F) and rarely goes above 30C (86 F). The average maximum temperature during the winter months ranges in the area of 16C (61 F) to 17C (63 F).

January and February, with an average high-temperature of 26C (78.8F), are warmest months.

Knysna has one of the richest rainfall percentages in South Africa with the wettest time of year being between June and August. Knysna stays green in all seasons, and its temperate climate makes it a tourist destination all year round.

Throughout the year, there are, on average, 145 rainfall days, and 719.3mm of accumulated precipitation.

Click here to see a graph of cumulative rainfall figures for Leisure Isle for 2019/2020.

Ground Water

A remarkable feature of the Island is its underground or 'spike' water. A copious supply of fresh water lies two to three metres below ground level, where the sands are saturated with this fresh water. It is easily extracted via a 'spike' and pump to give a good supply of water. This water is not suitable for human consumption, and its quality varies at different points of the Island.

Leisure Isle Ground Water  Leisure Isle Ground Water

This free source of fresh water is a great boon to gardeners and is extensively used for watering gardens on the Island. Its availability has meant that Island gardens have suffered little from the water restrictions that have been necessary for the rest of the town for many years.

An antique hand pump has been installed in the Steenbok Nature Reserve. Visitors are invited to work the pump to experience the strong and consistent flow of water from the spike sunk only 3 metres into the sand.


Living as we do on an island, the daily ebb and flow of the tides is part of our consciousness, and shapes certain of our daily activities. At high spring tide the Island is completely surrounded by seawater from the tidal flow coming through the Heads. Depending on the mood of the currents, the sand of the beaches may be shaved down or deposited along the shore, particularly at Bollard Bay.

Flood  Sea Wall  Tide

When spring tides are associated with strong westerly winds and low barometric pressure, it is not unusual for the water to breach the sea wall in several places, and to flood Steenbok Nature Reserve.

Sea Wall

The Island is surrounded by a sea wall, built of stone and reinforced in places by wooden palings. The initial building of the sea wall was begun in 1929 and took three years to complete, using stone from the hillside above Woodbourne. Because the shoreline is subject to continuous tidal and wind erosion and sedimentation, the sea defenses have to be repaired and maintained on an ongoing basis. This is the responsibility of the Knysna Municipality.

Sea Wall  Sea Wall  Sea Wall

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