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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 1 927 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 1126
  • 316
    Very good
  • 90
  • 22
  • 10

This was one of the highlights of our holiday. Wilfred our guide walked us up to several elephants where our entire family touched and stricken different parts of the amazing... read more

Reviewed 15 April 2017
Cape Town Central, South Africa
via mobile

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1 927 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,564: English reviews
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 April 2017 via mobile

This was one of the highlights of our holiday. Wilfred our guide walked us up to several elephants where our entire family touched and stricken different parts of the amazing animals. We had many photo opportunities as well as feeding the elephants by hand.

Thank NicolasBlank
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 April 2017 via mobile

This was a great stop on our trip! The whole experience was very well managed and allowed us all direct contact with the elephants. The kids thought it was fantastic and so did all the adults! The guides were friendly and nice and they took great care with the elephants and guests. We stayed for a couple of hours, including... More 

Thank KristinaRowe
Level Contributor
29 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 April 2017

walking between the elephants and feeding them was a very nice and unique experience! Also the rangers who are with you are very kind and answer every question you have. I had the feeling they respect the elephants and take good care of them. It is good that the elephants can walk around freely and eat whatever and whenever they... More 

Thank Lies V
Hamburg, Germany
Level Contributor
25 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 April 2017

We had a wonderful time walking with the elephants, so quiet and moving being so close to these gentle giants. I would definitely recommend the walking experience, as you can be really close to them and interact during the walk. Also it is way more natural for them than having somebody on their back.

Thank merlin35
Level Contributor
32 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 April 2017

This place exceeded all our expectations. We spent time feeding the elephants , then approx 20 minutes walking with the elephants accompanied by our guide. We had plenty of time to have photos taken , whilst our guide ,Elliott told us everything there is to know about elephants. We learnt so much from Elliott. When the walk was over ,most... More 

Thank michael h
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 12 April 2017 via mobile

What an experience! Feed, touch and walk amongst the most majestic creatures you'll ever encounter... The park is well run, clean and organized. The animals are well kept and seem extremely happy in this sanctuary and the staff know them intimately (an FYI for those who aren't hugely keen on animals in captivity). You get to spend time with them... More 

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
26 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2017 via mobile

Great reception area. Nice display, artwork and information layout. Buy the fruit baskets as you can feed the elephants. OUR guide, Elliot was professional yet we were very comfortable with him interacting with the elephants. Love the fact that there isn't a time frame with regards to interaction with the animals. This visit gave my entire family a newfound respect... More 

Thank Ziyaad B
Cape Town, South Africa
Level Contributor
5 reviews
Reviewed 11 April 2017 via mobile

What an absolutely awesome experience to be up close to one of the most amazing animals. They are so beautiful and the staff are so friendly and knowledgeable.

Thank 102chantellem
Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2017

This is truly a wonderful place to see rescued elephants who have been given a second chance at 'the good life'. The sanctuary seemed very well run with the elephants welfare at the first priority. The guides were very informative, polite and aware of everyone's safety. A thoroughly amazing experience leaving a lasting memory of South Africa. An attractive coffee... More 

Thank distressed130
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 April 2017 via mobile

The elephant sanctuary went above and beyond for customer satisfaction. We booked a walk for two early in the morning. Even though we were a group of 9 doing the walk and ride experience, we still got a chance to interact with the elephants and to touch and take photos with them individually. As well as feed them. Little did... More 

Thank Karel v

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