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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 1 896 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 1109
  • 313
    Very good
  • 88
  • 22
  • 9
Great interaction

This park is unusual as the visitors can spend as much time with the elephants as they want. The guides are well informed and well spoken. While the elephants are obviously used... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Centurion, South Africa

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1 896 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,541: English reviews
Centurion, South Africa
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This park is unusual as the visitors can spend as much time with the elephants as they want. The guides are well informed and well spoken. While the elephants are obviously used to tourists, they seem to enjoy the attention and it is not long before their own personalities start to show. Well worth the visit

Thank guys593
Estepona, Spain
Level Contributor
17 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

It's an amazing thing to be able to stand with and actually touch these magnificent creatures. The elephants here are either born here or are orphans rescued after their mothers have been killed. We fed them and then walked along with them. This is an experience I will never forget.

Thank Palladio78
Bath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
45 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We arrived about midday after a morning at Tenikwa (highly recommend) and joined one of the regular tours that depart every half an hour. They offered student discount and you could buy a bucket of fruit to feed the elephants with. Our guide, Shepherd, was very informative and a delightful person. The elephants seem very well treated and the park... More 

Thank Emma H
Stockport, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

My husband, son & I visited here in January 2017. It will remain one of the standout days experienced in Sth Africa such a privilege to spend time feeding & being in the company of these beautiful,,majestic, gentle giants 🐘

Thank karen r
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

This place is amazing. You are up close and personal with these amazing animals and the guides are brilliant, really informative and friendly. Once in the park you can stay as long as you like. It was a wonderful experience, highly recommend a visit here.

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Great place to go and spend a couple of hours. Friendly, knowledgeable staff take you out to see their herd of elephants. Buckets of fruit/veg help to allow close up encounters with the elephants. Safe group sessions with the elephants in a large open space then give the chance for photos and questions.

Thank MartynCaunt
Level Contributor
20 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I loved the possibility to touch and walk so close with elephants. It is not like the touristic locations that I have seen before, here the elephants can walk freely during the day, but they come to greet the visitants since they know we have a few buckets of food. I would recommend!!

Thank Rosa C
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
31 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I have been following this Elephant rescue & education centre on Facebook for many years and dreamt of a close encounter with an elephant. I understand the arguments about having a “no touch” policy and I thought long & hard about whether we should take part in this experience. If providing an up close and personal experience with these magnificent... More 

Thank Meg_And_Uwe
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Wonderful staff , nice to get up close to animals feed them . Sally my favourite elephant Appeared well cared for visit time about 2-3 hrs

Thank cubadolly
San Diego, California, United States
Level Contributor
34 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

These elephants roam freely in a very large park, but they will come to visit guests. This is a beautiful chance to experience contact with these amazing animals - not a tourist-y place, the herd is treated with respect. But as tourists, you will have the rare chance to be near the animals while they graze and walk freely -... More 

Thank Renatte A

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