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Knysna Elephant Park

Certificate of Excellence
Features Animals
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Address: 1km off the N2 Highway | Between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna, Knysna 6570, South Africa
Phone Number:
+27 44 532 7732
09:00 - 16:00
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 09:00 - 16:00
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours

Founded in 1994, The Knysna Elephant Park was the first facility in South...

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.


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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 1 930 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 1128
  • 316
    Very good
  • 90
  • 22
  • 11
Walking with giants

We arrived there with the expectation of walking with elephants. We ended up walking with giants. We arrived there a bit early, but the welcoming entrance was entertaining... read more

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
Andre B
Mossel Bay, South Africa

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1 930 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,567: English reviews
Mossel Bay, South Africa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We arrived there with the expectation of walking with elephants. We ended up walking with giants. We arrived there a bit early, but the welcoming entrance was entertaining enough. The walk started off with a video about elephants and later we got to feed the elephants. We got the chance to walk with the elephants for a nice distance and... More 

Thank Andre B
Mevagissey, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

You are pretty much guaranteed to see elephants and a lot more particularly if you go on a tour with a local guide like Saul who took us. He picked us up from Camp Figtree and took us around Addo, getting us incredibly close to families of elephants. Surpasses expectations

Thank Clever-Mermaid
Level Contributor
30 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

This is a great experience for the the whole family.The little will not forget this in a long time.The feeding of the elephants is great feeling.Walking along side these big animals is a wonderful thing.

Thank Naz R
Salisbury UK
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We had booked our two families (4 adults, 2 teenagers and 1 child) in for a walking and riding the elephants experience over the internet from the UK. We had previously visited this park 15 years ago and we were delighted to see how it had developed. The staff were wonderful, friendly, caring and very informative. The ability to spend... More 

Thank RobandSueSalisburyUK
Hamburg, Germany
Level Contributor
26 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 weeks ago

I had misgivings about visiting KEP given the previous accusations against them for animal cruelty and the fact that the owner is now being prosecuted (to my knowledge) but I decided to find out for myself what it was like. We booked to go on the 7am elephant walk. For the money, this was not really worth it, as I... More 

1 Thank Plum378
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviewed 5 weeks ago

What an overwhelming experience!!! The elephants are magnificent, we loved getting to feed them, definitely the highlight of our week-end up the garden route!

Thank Tammy O
Level Contributor
132 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2017 via mobile

Good for all the family . Feed and pat the elephant in the open . Very informative tour . Good for lunch .

Thank bmw740il2015
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2017 via mobile

Super visit, the guides are experienced and knowledgeable. The elephants seem to be well looked after, thoroughly enjoyed feeding and interacting with these beautiful animals!

Thank 42ellies
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
39 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 April 2017

This Park does a nice job at connecting visitors with these magnificent animals. You are transported down to a feeding area where, if you purchased a bucket of food, you are paired up with an elephant to feed. Then, you get some close-up and photo time as you gather in small groups around an elephant, each group guided by a... More 

Thank AlbertaRider
Yeovil, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
35 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 April 2017

We visited 3 years ago and you interacted far more with the elephants. Once they were fed this time, we were given a short time to take pictures with the elephants, after which we were taken away to see the zebras (they were disinterested and kept moving away). We had not gone to Knysna Elephant Park to see Zebras. By... More 

Thank Buncha13
KnysnaElephant, Manager at Knysna Elephant Park, responded to this review

Dear Valued Guest We are saddened to hear that you did not have the experience of a lifetime that we strive to achieve. Our experiences are usually a minimum of an hour in duration with both our front office ladies and the guides telling guests that if they are enjoying themselves in the field they are welcome to stay with... More 

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