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Knysna Elephant Park
Ranked #3 of 77 things to do in Knysna
Certificate of Excellence
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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
Reviewed 30 November 2013

A truly great experience. We just did the feed and walk with elephants which was totally wonderful. You get to spend about 45 mins with them and it is a total joy. We were lucky in that there was only four of us so best to try and get there early. The food for the elephants is extra to the entry fee.

Thank CaptainsWife1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 29 November 2013

It is hard to put into words how good this experience really is! This is something really really worth doing!! As a family we chose to ride with the elephant. We were the last group for the day which was a great way to round out our day. Our visit started with us all getting up close with the elephants (touching and patting) and then we got to feed them, which is a very intimate experience. After this we were helped on to our 'individual' elephants and off we went for a walk. Clinging tightly to our elephant guides we rode the elephants for approximately 20 minutes. After 'dismounting' from our elephants we walked with them before again getting to feed them. We then spent time watching the elephants graze peacefully. It was a truly wonderful experience, they are truly 'gentle giants'. The guides and staff are skilled and in total control at all times. Our little person had a fabulous time and spent time talking with the guides who were very kind and patient with her.

The park is about 25 minutes from Knysna. You may want to take a light jumper as can get cool. We experienced no mosquitoes but we took insect repellant just in case.

Thank anactbloke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 November 2013

I decided to spend the money and do the ride with the elephants experience. Something you have to do at least once in your life. Worth every cent. The guides were great and you get to interact with the elephants at the end of the ride and walk with them as they amble along. At no point are you made to feel like it is time to go, in fact you could probably spend the day as part of the herd.
I will consider doing the stay over and sleep 'with' the elephants if I am in the area again.
You definitely feel that the elephants are well cared for!

Thank Oogly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 November 2013

What a wonderful experience to be able to be up close to these gentle Giants, to feel and touch them. A must for everyone !!!!!
Lindy J

Thank LindyJ2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 November 2013

The handlers were very good and new their stuff. It was awesome interacting with the Giants and being able to touch them up close and personal. REALLY AWESOME. The coffe shop service sucked. We ordered 5 hot chocolates and they brought it 1 at a time. When asked why, the waitress said they did not have enough of the hot chocolate cups. by the time the last person got their drink it was 30 minutes later.

Thank Cynthia T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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