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Knysna Elephant Park
Ranked #3 of 76 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
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
68 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed October 4, 2013

An establishment dedicated to elephant welfare. If you want to get up close and personal to these magnificent creatures this is the place.

Visited September 2013
Thank Linda U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Level Contributor
55 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“I'm a little torn”
Reviewed October 1, 2013

The park was very nice and I admire the fact that they put so much effort into saving these elephants. I really enjoyed being able to touch and feed the elephants... but our guide was flat out terrible which made the whole experience bad. He was not personable at all and he recited what I can only believe is his same speech that he gives to every single group with zero enthusiasm. I get it, that probably gets old for him, but this is our first time having this experience (plus we paid for it). Once we got out to where we could feed and touch the elephants, after we fed them and he took a few pictures of us with one elephant, he spent the rest of the time out there talking to other tourists about where they were from instead of providing experiences for us to touch/interact with the other elephants - which were VERY close by and would have required very little effort on his part. We were really disappointed with our experience.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Chris C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Knysna_Elephant_Park, Manager at Knysna Elephant Park, responded to this review, October 18, 2013
Dear valued guest,
it’s is sad to read your comments after your experience at the Knysna Elephant Park! We strive to better our Guides regarding tourists relation and interactions during tours through the Park. Just to boost a bit 3 of our Guides Felix,Astin, Khulumane past their final level 2 FAGASA and are qualified as tour guides in the Knysna area! We are proud to have them on our team!

We wish you could provide your Guides name to us, Our management could deal with the individual and make sure He understands our policy’s and try to better high standards at our facility! We accept negative feedback and comments as we can only deal and better our Product through our Guest Experience!! Thank you
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Walk with the Elephants”
Reviewed September 30, 2013

Amazing opportunity to get up close and personal with African Elephants. This park rescues elephants that would've otherwise died in the wild and provides visitors with a chance to understand these great animals a little better. The cafe also serves up some pretty good grub!

Visited September 2013
Thank Terpsfan22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Once in a lifetime experience”
Reviewed September 30, 2013

The Elephant Park offers such an incredible experience to tourists. I am South African and haven't yet had the opportunity to touch and feed elephants, so I can only imagine how foreigners experience it. This really is a once in a lifetime experience. The Elephants are tame enough for you to touch them, but being right next to one makes you realise how small and insignificant you are compared to these giants. Our guide taught us so much about the elephants, and we got to see a bit of their personalites come through. Definitely worth every cent!

Visited September 2013
Thank csmookler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Augusta, Georgia
Level Contributor
121 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“great interaction!”
Reviewed September 30, 2013

Great chance to get close to the elephants and learn something about them! Very informative on the Knysna elephants. My son loved the chance to feed the elephants too. Great for a few hours!

Visited September 2013
Thank Christopher A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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