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“Not to be missed” 5 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
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
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Not to be missed”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2010

I spent a day at KEP last summer and it was the highlight of my trip to SA. I've been an ellie fan all my life and am lucky enough to see them in the Game Parks of SA every year when I visit family, but until my visit to KEP I had never had the opportunity to be up close and personal! It was a day I will never forget ... the elephants were out in the park when we arrived and yes, they know that the sound of the tractor means visitors and possibly a fruit feed so they all line up, but once the excitement of fruit or lack of (!) has passed they do whatever they want wherever they want. They are not restricted in their movement around the park, merely followed, at a distance. We were allowed to spend as long as we wanted with them and the ellies were extremely accommodating and seemed to want to spend a lot of time with us which was amazing. Their guides were extremely knowledgeable and willing to share this knowledge. The experience of "petting" such an incredible animal is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life and the next time I am in the Cape Town area, this is somewhere I want to return. An incredible day and a place I would recommend to any elephant lover for the experience of a lifetime.

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Knysna, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Wonderful experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2010

I live in Knysna and have been to the Knysna Elephant Park many times. Every time I go I am filled with such a sense of wonder at these majestic creatures. I am also always moved by how much the Elephant Park team clearly love and care about their elephants.

Walking with, touching, and learning about the elephants at the Knysna Elephant Park is an absolutely wonderful experience not to be missed.

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Marlow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“iff you love elephants go here”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2010

a beautiful place for adults and children,great value for money,you can stay all day,lovely resturant too.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Horsham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
95 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Certain to be 'touched' by an elephant”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2010

Following the N2 road between Knysna and Plettenburg Bay, Knysna Elephant Park is a signposted turning on the left. At the Reception desk, there are several options for entry. We chose the basic tour. There is also the opportunity to ride on the elephants, at additional cost. The experience begins with a brief video and then after a look at the boma (where the beasts are confined at night) we boarded a trailer for the short ride to the feeding grounds. Visitors are encouraged to purchase small buckets of fruit and vegetables for the elephants. Although there is a history of elephants in the Knysna forests, the beasts on this site are all orphans from other parts of South Africa. They ranged from (relatively) tiny babies to full grown adults. The rangers oversaw the feeding session and about ten elephants took turns behind a rail to receive their goodies. One of the baby elephants couldn't get a look in and decided to approach from behind the visitors. Since two of the youngster were still being bottle fed with milk, this was also demonstrated and willing volunteers helped hold the bottle. We were definitely 'touched' by elephants, both literally and mentally, making this a most enjoyable and memorable occasion. On our return to the Visitor Centre, we were entertained by the elephants' relatives - Rock Hyrax ('Dassies') whilst we enjoyed a light snack in the open-air cafe.

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Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Animal lovers- Take note:”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2010

I made the mistake of visiting this park in february this year and I was very upset to see that the keepers wielded cruel elephant hooks, the type used to train elephants in circuses.The elephants were clearly nervous of the keepers and although some were hand reared they shied away whenever the keepers approached.
This appeared to be a commercial enterprise masquerading as a sanctuary.If you care aboiut elephants and their welfare do not visit this park.

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cyclotis, owner at Knysna Elephant Park, responded to this review, March 1, 2010
Knysna Elephant Park takes offense to this review. We have not committed any cruelty, have no convictions of cruelty and this is the first time we have evern had to undergo comments of such a nature, in all the 17 years we have been operating. We share this facility with many experts from all over the world who hold our Park in high esteem. The reviewer did not see any cruelty at this Park, neither does the Park operate under the name of a sanctaury. We know the many thousands of people from all over the world, many whom are experts, know who we are. We cannot hide from the public becuase we are exposed to the public for 24/7, the public sleep with the elephants. This would not bide well for our guests if we managed our elephants in a cruel way.
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