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“major rip off, not for adults” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Knysna Elephant Park

Knysna Elephant Park
1km off the N2 Highway between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna, Knysna 6570, South Africa
+27 44 532 7732
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Group tours/safari
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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
budapest
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“major rip off, not for adults”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2014

We stopped in the Park on our way from CT to PE.
We went for the '1 hour' encounter. We could also buy feeding bucket as an extra.
First we were shown a video, nothing interesting, nothing educational.
Then we were led out to a truck that pulled a set of carriages (we were at least 25-30 people in that one round), and drove to the feeding section, where the trained ellies were waiting for us all lined up for food. Then the ones with feeding buckets got to give the content to the ellies. Was kind of a mess, maybe 5-8 ellies and 25 people trying to feed them. Then we formed smaller groups and started to walk after the leaving ellies, but the guide was not informative at all, did not say much, although we could ask questions and take photos.
Then the truck came back for us after 25 minutes and we had the option to stick around and watch the next group do the feeding or could return to the reception. We did the latter.
We learned nothing and I am not convinced at all that in this place there is work done to protect animals or educate people, it rather seems like a stable source of income for the owner.
May be fun for kids, but for adults, I would not recommend it.

Visited January 2014
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North Somerset
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Holiday highlight”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2014

This place is a must, the people are great, friendly and informative and the elephants are just beautiful.. i dont want to say too much as this place should be a surprise!! it was the highlight of my holiday, i will never forget feeding and walking with the gentle giants..

Visited November 2013
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Edmonton, Alberta
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
101 helpful votes 101 helpful votes
“What a Joy”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2014

Walking with elephants, feeding them, interacting, petting...immense joy and a bucket list item for me!!

Visited December 2013
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Somerset West, South Africa
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“What a life changing experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2014

I am shocked that someone would state they are made to perform like poodles! We where blessed enough to be able to spend a night sleeping with the Ellies, and two almost full days with them, the staff, the caregivers and the tourists that come and go. The animals are so loved and well looked after (even the housekeepers chat to them as they walk past). They are treated like family. We observed treatment for the one female who had a bruise on her bum - wish I had treatment like that! They are wild animals yes, but they are not living in the wild due to man! They do not stand a chance if not for people like the KEP crew! They do have the elephants give rides, and for that purpose to ensure all people and animal safety we viewed the animals bow down to assist in people climbing on, but it was done beautifully and tastefully and not one Ellie had to perform like a poodle in the full two days we where there. My 9 year old son learnt so much and he is now even more focused on helping rescue animals. Well done KEP! We love what you do and altho we live far away, we will be making special trips out there to
Visit as often as we can. Thank you for doing what so many people take for granted, you do amazing work.

Visited January 2014
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5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Lacks time for money ”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2014

I enjoyed my day at the elephant Park but for what one pays one expects a bit more time with the elephants and more explanation from where they come. Instead of the video shown at the beginning one should rather have a demonstration by a qualified professional

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