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“A 5* family outing”

Knysna Elephant Park
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4-Day Garden Route Experience with Ostrich Farm from Cape Town
Ranked #3 of 80 things to do in Knysna
Certificate of Excellence
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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 28 April 2014

On our recent holiday down in Knysna I decided to treat my family to an outing to the Elephant Park and what a joy it was from start to finish. A very friendly staff (all of them) were efficient and helpful too. From the short DVD to the walk into the Ellie's "bedroom" and onto the vehicle to see the Ellie's the excitement was palpable for the children (10,8,6 and 3). When one tried to steal some food from one of the kid's bucket the excitement levels went off the scale. The time with the beautiful Elephants was magical. So amazing to see the little ones (I had been before) feed them and then spend time with them and touch them and ask questions and generally just LOVE being with them was so rewarding for this granny to see. I have been in the bush many times and don't generally enjoy animals in any kind of confinement but one does not get any impression of the Ellie's being restricted in their movement on the huge property. A must do. Well done Knysna Elephant Park. We will be back. The kids just loved it. As well as Birds of Eden, Monkeyland and Jukani. So good for our little ones to see and know about the rich wildlife heritage we have in this wonderful country of ours.

1  Thank Jo O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"these magnificent animals"
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1,191 - 1,195 of 2,190 reviews

Reviewed 27 April 2014

Enjoyed hearing all about the centre and meeting these gentle giants - great for families easy to find and well signposted.

Thank travelfan2727
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2014

An unplanned adventure awaited us when we drove last the sign for the Knysna Elephant Park. We drove in expecting to see Elephants from a distance but no - we got to feed and touch them. It was the most incredible experience.

We were escorted at all times by trained guides & felt very safe. The experience lasts about an hour but you can choose to stay for longer and we did. Got to see the Ellie's splish splashing in their pool, interacting with one another.

It was awesome & I would highly recommend it!

Thank Michaihu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2014

On arrival we bought our bucket of food and sauntered round the waiting area reading the displays and information - many are a very sad reflection on the human race as far as elephants are concerned.
The introductory video repeated virtually word for word, the safety notice on the wall beside the screen. This could be much improved with interactive human delivery!
A short ride to the elephants and the chance to feed them - this was entertaining and a good experience; my partner loved it!
Wandering among the elephants to touch them and have photos taken was incredible - getting so close to these huge animals is a fantastic experience.
There was no pressure to leave and we were able to stay longer if we wished, but chose to return after our allotted time.

We had lunch after our experience, we sat outside under the shade and watched the swans on the pond - a great place to reflect on the elephants; both the food and service were good.

Areas for improvement:
As others have said, the guides could be a bit more pro-active. We received answers to all our questions, but it would have been good to learn more without trying to think what to ask.

There was an "official" photographer, taking pictures of us with the elephants. Looking at the results - he could probably do with some lessons! Our photos were over-exposed and badly composed [it's not like he had to react to a fast moving subject!]
We did purchase a photo as apparently proceeds help the upkeep of the Park, and we are keen to support the good work.

1  Thank Anoif8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 22 April 2014

Touching and feeding the elephants were incredible. We first fed the elephants then went on a walk with them. We touched them. It was very nice to feel them. Kids had so much fun.

Thank Darla_76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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