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Knysna Elephant Park

#1 of 47 Tours in Knysna
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
See all hours
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 1 858 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 1081
  • 308
    Very good
  • 87
  • 22
  • 9
Lovely experience

Well worth a visit. This place does fantastic work with the elephants and it is very interesting to learn about it.

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 weeks ago

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1 858 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,507: English reviews
Level Contributor
37 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Well worth a visit. This place does fantastic work with the elephants and it is very interesting to learn about it.

Thank NMB_West_London
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
59 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Really intimate access to this terror reserve. They do a great job of researching and protecting this species . Great work.

Thank ed r
Val d'Isere
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Definately worth visiting the elephants and nice to see how well looked after they are. Staff all very informative and friendly.

Thank MikeyVal
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

There is nothing like a big elephant snot on your hand to make your day!!! We had a really amazing afternoon and it was such a privilege to spend time in such close proximity with these amazing creatures. We did the elephant walk - hence the snot! The power of the elephants was humbling and the sanctuary are clearly doing... More 

Thank MKEG2014
Oban, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

A must to visit if you have the time. The staff were really friendly and helpful. The highlight was feeding and touching the elephants. Something we will remember for a long time.

Thank john0653
Alnwick, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

People may say it's a zoo but it is a safe home for a herd of either rescued or abandoned elephants. Very educational and fascinating to interact with these lovely creatures. It certainly brings home to you what magnificent animals they are. Obviously these elephants are used to humans but it is good that people can stroke them & feed... More 

Thank Brian W
Wallington, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
45 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Visited today, you should, if at all possible make the time to visit. Up close, very close and feeding these wonderful animals. While standing next to and touching/patting you can take as many photos as you like. This is a wonderful experience!! Loved it!

Thank Tony C
Skipton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
80 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Very contrived and touristy. The rides are very expensive. It seems that the elephants have been trained for the tourists entertainment.

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

Dear Valued Guest Thank you for your review - we welcome your feedback. Our elephants are not 'wild', but, as you can see from our other reviews, the Elephant Park is seen as a place where happy, healthy and well-cared-for elephants (many of whom have come from tragic circumstances) have found a safe home, where humans are able to interact... More 

Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I have always wanted to see an elephant face to face but I guess like most people I just never made the time nor enough of an effort. So this time around we decided that as much s we wanted to enjoy and explore the different beaches around Knysna going to the Elephant park was a big priority. We learnt... More 

Thank jeanetter742
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Had a lovely day at the elephant park. My partner and I purchased tickets for basic tour which leaves every 30 mins. We learned about the elephants, saw where they slept, fed the elephants then walked with and touched the elephants. The guides were friendly and do a great job! They also took some lovely photos of us with the... More 

Thank Georgie950

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