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“Cracking place to visit”

Knysna Elephant Park
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$658.45*
and up
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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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 April 27, 2013

We were looking forward to visiting Knysna Elephant Park since we were first told about it by a friend who had visited previously. We planned our trip to South Africa to ensure we made a visit here. We were not disappointed. The Park was very well managed with all of the staff showing excellent professionalism and pride in their work. After paying our admission we were offered buckets of fruit to feed to the elephants at 30 ZAR (under £3 each). Please do take them. Once you leave the unit to go out to the field you’ve missed your chance. There is a small museum dedicated to elephants that have passed through Knysna in the past as well as educational displays relating to ivory trading and poaching. Some of the stories portrayed were very sad indeed. Following a security and safety video we were on to the tractor bus and taken up to the ellies (as they’re known). The elephants hear the tractor coming and make their way to a wooden bar to meet you. Not that they are necessarily interested in you, but they love to meet the fruit you bring with you. The fruit bucket is your route to a very close encounter with the ellies. After feeding is over, the ellies go back into the field and your guide will let you know what to do and not to do as you follow them. There are ample opportunities to get up close and meet the ellies and have your photo taken, either by yourselves or by the resident snapper who will sell you prints and digital images back at base. The experience was wonderful and well worth the anticipation. We enjoyed a breakfast back at the café and this too was (I thought surprisingly) very good indeed. The curio shop is also filled with opportunities to take memories away with you, and you can feel slightly warm inside with the thought that you’re helping these lovely gentle giants.

Thank MakemBill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"these gentle giants"
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1,421 - 1,425 of 2,190 reviews

Reviewed April 27, 2013

A most unusual experience getting so close to these wonderful creatures without them being stuck behind bars or fenced in small compounds. The guides were very good and the elephants were even better!!

Thank StevieH110
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2013

This park is at its finest, serving the elephants and visitors to the park! The guides were very knowledgeable about the creatures and the hands-on experience of getting to feed and pet them was unforgettable!!!! Would go again tomorrow if we could! Loved getting to see baby Fila roam about interacting with people and elephants alike! The restaurant staff were also phenomenal- friendly and quick to assist.

A MUST-SEE if you are anywhere close to Knysna!!!!

Thank Megan H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2013

We (a family of 4) arrived in the afternoon to be greeted by the friendly staff and shown to our 2 rooms. The rooms were decorated traditionally and were very cosy with the added bonus of a bedroom window that looked out into the elephants sleeping area as well as an open lounge/viewing area where we were able to watch the ellie's coming in for the night and then just sit in awe of them while they ate and got themselves ready for bed! Believe me when I say that my husband and I had fits of giggles whilst lying in bed that night listening to all the elephants bodily noises and yes they do snore as well as other things!

We could go on as many tours as we wanted as we were staying there and we went on 2 on the day of our arrival and then did the sunrise walk with the ellie's to their morning feeding area and water hole which was truly an amazing experience.

The elephant keepers were all so passionate about their elephants and were so informative with any questions asked. You could tell this was more than just a job for them and knowing that there are people saving the elephants and raising awareness of their plight is very gratifying.

All the ellie's have names and are kept in great conditions. A baby had been born 4 weeks before our visit and we were allowed to observe her in her cage whilst she was made ready to move into the herd.

The food at the restaurant (breakfast and lunch) was of a very high quality and we went to the nearby restaurant called Zinzi for dinner.

If you want to experience something magical , and interact with elephants away from confines of bars and ropes at other establishments then visit this place. You will remember it forever

2  Thank Angela P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 18, 2013

This is a MUST place to visit if you believe in saving heritage for generations to come. Apart from gaining an understanding about Elephants themselves, allowed to ride them but not in a Circus way, we left in the belief that every visit made by a tourist counts.
A wonderful experience

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

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