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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 1 859 reviews
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    Very good
  • 87
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  • 9
Wonderful experience

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... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 4 weeks ago
via mobile

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1 859 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,508: English reviews
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
Level Contributor
66 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

This is a lovelly experience. The elephants were obviously having a good life and it was amazing to be able to feed and touch the elephants. The guides told us many things about the "ellies" and I would definatelly recommend a visit.

Thank Malin I
Level Contributor
32 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

This place is the home of 9 elephants. They give elephants who are harmed of abandoned a second change. You can see how much the people care for all the elephants. This park doesn't have a breeding program (positive in my opinion). You can feed the elephants (really nice to do, it's a treat for them). And the rangers tell... More 

Thank Kristel v
Exeter, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
323 reviews
93 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 140 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Seemed a little expensive and I'd like to think that most of the entry fee went towards the animals' welfare. If you want to ride one it'll require a mortgage, like R1,875 each!

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

Dear valued Guest We apologise if you found it a little costly to pay for your tour and elephant feeding bucket however, we are competitively priced in comparison with other Garden Route experiences. The price for a ride is R 975.00 per Adult. We thank you for your contribution and your visit as this allows us to give our elephants... More 

Lucerne, Switzerland
Level Contributor
38 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 weeks ago

Ever touched an elephant? Seeing and feeling an eli so close makes you feel tiny. You are recommended to buy a bucket of fruit and see what happens when the trunk touches your hand. After a saftey introduction you get a #0 min guided close up with tembo. And if you wish you may stay longer. A once in a... More 

Thank TravellerDNS
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 weeks ago

We made the mistake of visiting this elephant park after reading that it was an amazing sanctuary. However what we experienced whilst we were there was totally different to how it was advertised. I'll start from the beginning. When we arrived at Reception after a long 6 hour drive, we were greeted by 2 women who werent really all that... More 

1 Thank tjay2465
west Mids England
Level Contributor
70 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 February 2017

What a lovely time we had here.We stayed overnight in Room Sally which was delightful and smashing the next morning to pad across the landing with a cuppa and sit watching the elephants waking up.The mishap with the door key ( my fault) still has us chuckling -- sorry folk!!) I much preferred meeting the elephants than the actual ride... More 

Thank sledwards21
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 February 2017

Our group signed up for the walking with elephants tour, which begins with watching the other guests ride the elephants and then slowly meandering back with them. This in itself was very enjoyable and lasted about 15 minutes. We then were provided a very enjoyable breakfast at the cafe and then were given a bucket of fruit and veg to... More 

Thank C B
Island of Anglesey, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
64 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 February 2017

The visit was not only educational, the guides are very knowledgeable but also great fun feeding the elephants from the buckets of fruit and veg purchased along with entry. There is a discount for senior citizens. We opted for the Touching ride which included a ride on a trailer feeding and a bit of walking to touch and take photos.... More 

Thank 10bananas
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 February 2017 via mobile

This was our second time after 8 years and it was a great experience walking with and feeding the elephants my daughter had her second ride on the elephant. A little on the expensive side.

Thank Roberto Z

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