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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 1 901 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 1110
  • 313
    Very good
  • 88
  • 22
  • 9
Brilliant experience

best experience I have ever had, you can feed and touch the elephants. The handlers are professional and friendly.

Reviewed 18 March 2017
London, United Kingdom

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1 901 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,542: English reviews
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 March 2017

best experience I have ever had, you can feed and touch the elephants. The handlers are professional and friendly.

Thank MissRJL
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 March 2017

We went on the walking with the elephants experience which was brilliant. We fed them by hand which was fun and then walked by the side of them for about an hour. The riding the elephants tour was happening at the same time. We had decided against this as had done this in Thailand and realised later it damaged the... More 

Thank YorkshireCat86
Level Contributor
57 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2017

Feeding and being so close to these wonderful animals was a real pleasure. Very helpful and knowledgeable guide who spoke good English. Great experience.

Thank JohnLightwater
Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 15 March 2017

We had an amazing stay in the elephant lodge and the housekeeper Nesta was especially helpful and super friendly, only one negative I have to mention is the reception staff and the lady that showed us to our room, they both were very unpleasant and unfriendly, rushing everything and if I didn't ask what time was breakfast or what time... More 

Thank Charne3
KnysnaElephant, Manager at Knysna Elephant Park, responded to this review

Dear Valued Guest Thank you for your review, we are so glad that you enjoyed your time in the Lodge and with our special Elephants. We must apologies for the unacceptable treatment from our reception staff, can you remember the names of the two ladies? I can assure you that we will be having a meeting with all of the... More 

Level Contributor
20 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 March 2017 via mobile

What an absolutely amazing experience to feed and stand with these animals. Technically it was my parents and me (I'm not a teenager but there's no other option for type of visit) however we all had such a good time. Very educational and great to see these animals being looked after and used to educate the public. Our tour guide... More 

Thank LouiVictoria
Kirkby Stephen, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 14 March 2017

To walk freely with elephants and zebras, to be able to pet them and feed them for me was a dream come true. My friend realised her dream by riding one of them. We went twice we loved it so much.

Thank Hilary L
Level Contributor
39 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2017 via mobile

Awesome to be so close to these magnificent animals. A great place for a coffee and cake while enjoying the surrounds. The knowledge the staff have and the rapport they have with the elephants is impressive.

Thank Melanie C
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2017

What a great experience. The guides were very informative. Feeding and riding the elephants was great fun. Highly recommend!

Thank Amy B
Kuwait City, Kuwait
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 10 March 2017

well maintained, and you can clearly see they love elephants and elephants will show that love. you can feed them, you can touch and walk with them. the rangers are so down to earth and help you , guide you and are very informative. thank you for the memories.

Thank fakhruddinsaif
Level Contributor
56 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 March 2017

The elephants have a vast area to roam but as visitors are persuaded to purchase containers with food for the elephants they always turn up and they are all animals that have been born in the park or salvaged from poor environments so they are very tame and good sports also the have zebras

Thank Hil-Harv

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