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“Close Encounters with Elephants”

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 October 2, 2012

This is very well run, and great fun. You get to touch, feed and walk with the elephants, but not ride. Most locals feel this is the best elephant experience in SA.

Thank paulaliang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"these gentle giants"
in 67 reviews
in 113 reviews
"these magnificent animals"
in 37 reviews
"short video"
in 25 reviews
"an amazing experience"
in 81 reviews
"close encounter"
in 21 reviews
"take pictures"
in 37 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 24 reviews
"garden route"
in 55 reviews
in 188 reviews
in 602 reviews
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1,553 - 1,557 of 2,190 reviews

Reviewed September 30, 2012

the elephants were wonderful, the staff were devoted and knowledgeable and i loved interacting with them and feeding them

Thank kathryn b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2012

We visited the park and stayed in the accomodation during our South African honeymoon, and really loved the experience! The elephants were amazing - truly gentle giants, and the guides and staff were fantastic!

We didn't go for the elephant ride as it was over our budget, but the walk experience was amazing enough! And being able to watch them in the evening from the mezzanine was something we will never forget!

We ate at a nearby hotel restaurant 'Zizi'...recommended in the accomodation info pack, and it was lovely - very luxurious!

We chose the cheapest room to sleep in as we found it quite expensive, but it was fine. And for the experience of waking up with these magnificant creatures was well worth it!

A special thanks to Mark, our guide, for making it such a great trip!

Thank AmyMoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2012

It was an amazing experience walking ,touching and feeding these large animals.The keepers were very good and the elephants were well looked after and healthy.

Thank Susan J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 27, 2012

Really enjoyed this trip, the guides were very informative and obviously knew and cared for the elephants well. Not too busy when we were there so had our own individual guide. Loved walking, feeding and touching the elephants and would like to have stayed longer. Quite expensive, especially if you want to ride one or stay overnight, but for the short time that we were there it was well worth it. Only by being so close do you realise why these animals are called gentle giants.

Thank mandyd1961
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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