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“hands on elephant appreciation”

Knysna Elephant Park
Ranked #3 of 78 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 January 12, 2013

This was one of the highlights of our holiday. The experience lasted around 2 and a quarter hours, in which time we had been educated about, met, stroke and fed the elephants - all of this was first for us. The experience is extermely well managed, safe and absorbing. The knowledge and care of the wardens is commendable. We recommend this superb experience unreserevedly.

1  Thank Blot57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 8, 2013

Walking among these gentle giants and interacting with them is a memory I will treasure for a life time. We got to touch and feed these orphaned elephants...It is an experience of a lifetime...The guides were most informative and passionate about what they do...nice!

1  Thank Deborah W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2013

We were recommended to stay overnight at the lodge by a friend and were wonderfully surprised! The (ensuite) rooms are next to where the elephants sleep at night, with the communal living room overlooking them. You can have your nightcap whilst hearing them snore! It was an amazing, up-close, unique experience which we will never forget.

Despite it being an enclosed park, staying overnight truely was better than just visiting for the day. As part of the package for staying there, arrive around 4pm the day you plan to stay over and you get to take the elephants from their grazing area back home. You get to hang out with the elephants, touching them and feeding them (and take millions of photos). Then the next morning you get to take them back out to their grazing area, watch them drink and generally experience the ellies up close.

We would however not recommend the cafe there and suggest driving the short journey to either Plett or Knysna for meals.

Thank Skhor21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2013

Really enjoyable hour spent feeding, walking with and petting these amazing elephants. Perfect activity for both adults and children. Really safe and guides are very well trained in answering all questions. An amazing experience not to be missed!

Thank EmStt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2013

Brilliant, well worth the experience. We rode at 06:30 a.m.and it was amazing.The guides were friendly and obviously loved the elephants, Recommend anyone to do this

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

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