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“iff you love elephants go here”

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 March 24, 2010

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

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

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

25  Thank Welshscouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cyclotis, owner at Knysna Elephant Park, responded to this reviewResponded 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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Reviewed January 27, 2010

We found Knysna Elephant Park by chance. We had booked to go out on a water safari but the weather was bad so we asked around for things to do just in case the trip was cancelled & were handed a leaflet for Knysna Elephant Park. When we arrived at our hotel, (Hunters), we discovered it was less than 5 minutes from the park so we were able to go to the park after a very choppy morning at sea! It was the best day ever! Spending the morning watching dolphins & seals, then spending the afternoon with these amazing elephants was something that I will never forget!! To be able to feed & play with these amazing creatures was just fantastic & I would go there again if we ever go back to SA.

1  Thank JD2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2009

When my 3 year old saw a picture of people on elephants, he was desperate to go!
So we got there 1st thing in the morning (8.30am) and were the only two on the first trip. This was therefore an even more amazing experience- being the only ones feeding and being among the ellies.
My son actually got quite a fright when he felt the strong suction coming from the baby elephant's trunk, but was very excited to be so close.
We also got to give the baby elephants their milk bottles and spent ages with these amiable and beautiful mammals.

The staff were excellent- a mix from all over Africa- much like the elephants themselves!!

The carrot cake is to die for and the kids LOVE the playpark next to the restaurant- cleverly done and very nicely shaded.
We went back there today just to eat cake and play again :-)

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

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