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“Great afternoon.”

Knysna Elephant Park
Ranked #3 of 76 things to do in Knysna
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Founded in 1994, The Knysna Elephant Park was the first facility in South Africa to house and care for orphaned African elephants. The first orphaned calves (from a culling operation in the Kruger National Park) named Harry and Sally, after the famous movie of the time, remain part of the KEP family today: Harry as the dominant bull and Sally as the matriarch of the herd. Since 1994, we have cared for and raised more than thirty elephants. These animals include relocated animals, orphaned calves, elephants rescued from culls and ex-circus animals. Some have become part of the KEP herd, others have moved onto other reserves and facilities in the Western and Eastern Cape, taking in to cognizance their personalities, bonds with other animals and welfare needs. The present KEP herd numbers nine - the largest domesticated matriarchal herd in the country. Your elephant encounter begins starts in our Interpretation Centre where you are introduced to our elephants, through beautiful photographic and informative displays. Here you can also book an elephant-back ride, a sunrise walk with the elephants or special exclusive sundowner tour. A short video presentation gives you further insight into the Park and its elephant-orientated missions and goals, before you enter the Park to meet the elephants. Our facilities are world class and our style of management ensures that our elephants interact with guests on their own terms. Within this habitat, we call a "controlled, free-range" environment, our daily tours offer guests the opportunity to get up close and personal with our elephants; but still gives the elephants to some freedom and choice. Guests may remain with the elephants as long as they wish, before being transported back to the Restaurant and Curio Shop. A Photography Department is also available for guests to purchase personalized photos and DVD's of their Extraordinary Elephant Encounter - making your memories last a lifetime! Our newly refurbished night quarters consist of a large covered elephant boma, which leads into an outdoor fenced camp. For an animal that can eat for up to 18 hours a day, this arrangement allows our elephants to exhibit a large variety of behaviours during the night. They are able to choose where they want to sleep - indoors or outdoors; who they want to interact with, as well as where and what they want to eat. This again contributes to one of the highest quality captive elephant management styles in South Africa. Our elephant boma and night camp are viewed from above by our Elephant Lodge guests, another first for South Africa...nowhere else in the country can you 'sleep' with elephants The need for research was recognized by The Knysna Elephant Park who then created the African Elephant Research Unit (AERU, est. 2009), aimed at improving the management and welfare of captive elephants throughout South Africa. Visitors to the park are privileged to have a close-up and personal encounter with these gentle giants, and leave having gained a healthy respect for these wonderful animals, as well as a better understanding of the African elephant and their plight across the continent. EXTRAORDINARY ENCOUNTERS - BE TOUCHED BY AN ELEPHANT
Level Contributor
90 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Great afternoon.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 January 2013

Having had a disappointing visit to another wildlife attraction in the area, this was the polar opposite. However, not without a couple of issues, which we overcame.

We pre-booked ellie rides for our two adult children. When we arrived,, they had no record of the booking, but not a problem, things were moved around a bit, but this meant that we had to separate. 2 doing the ride, and 2 on the field trip to feed and encounter the ellies. One thing that was frustrating, was that they did not want us to photograph our own children on the elephants! It became clear that you were meant to commission another guide to wander alongside and get extra photographs. Given the cost of the rides in the first place, this was not very impressive. I also thought it was bizarre that you have the option of buying a separate bucket of fruit for the ellies. This should just be included in the price of the entry ticket.

I think the guides were sympathetic to my disappointment, and turned a blind eye to me photographing as the kids climbed onto the elephants, but seemed keen to get the trailer moving up the hill at the same time. So there was no chance to get them photographed side by side. Nevertheless, I managed to video them later on.

The trip up to the field and the opportunities to stay and watch, pat, be photographed next to, and fee these amazing creatures was very good, and we were overall very happy with the visit. The smiles on our kids' faces was worth every penny.

Visited December 2012
1 Thank ShellyRM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Parys, South Africa
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
“Great Experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 January 2013

Was so amazing to feed the elephants and touch them, something we will never forget. Very educational. Staff members were very friendly and professional. A bit pricey but the money is for a good cause so don't mind.

Visited January 2013
Thank Candice L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guildford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Elephants were a Great life experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 January 2013

We fed the elephants with Fruit & Veg , couldnt believe how much they eat! all round enjoyable experience for all the family would recommend as a definate visit.

Visited January 2013
Thank Paul S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town
Level Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Up close and personal”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 January 2013 via mobile

The Knysna EP does a great job of keeping and raising orphaned elephants. It appears that they are well looked after and a few elephants were pregnant (suggests no stress).

The introduction video is a little boring and outdated.

The feeding and touching of the elephants was an awesome experience and well worth the money you pay. This is a memory and an experience that will not be forgotten. The natural power of these gentle giants is unbelievable.

The guides are unobtrusive but remain available to answer questions when required.

This is an awesome experience for the family and highly recommended.

The restaurant/ cafe appears a bit dodge and the service was poor. We ordered some toasted sandwiches and they were excellent.

The curio shop seemed reasonably priced.

I would recommend including the food in the price. Having to pay extra to feed the elephants makes this experience a little pricey. Also recommend having something to wipe/ wash hands immediately after feeding elephants.

Keep up the good work and thank you for not abusing the elephants.

2 Thank TroyConstandakis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ballito, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Knysna Elephant Park”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 January 2013

Being up close and touching the elephants was amazing. The park keepers were very imformative and you could see that they reaqlly cared for the elephants. There is also a place where you can spend a night sleeping with the elephants .

Visited December 2012
Thank Trudi G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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