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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

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Time well spent

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... read more

Reviewed 4 April 2017
via mobile

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1 929 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,566: English reviews
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2017 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 4 April 2017

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
38 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2017

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
20 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2017 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
35 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 April 2017

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
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 March 2017 via mobile

We visited the park to have an up close and personal experience with these gentle giants. We were not disappointed. After a short video exploding the history of the park, we were taken out to see the 9 elephants, the members of the resident herd. What gets you is they are so powerful yet so gentle. The keepers do a... More 

Thank Graeme B
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 28 March 2017

I have been in elephant safari before but I prefer visit to sanctuary where you know these elephants are being taken care of well. It's a short walk with the guides who give you lots of information about each of the elephants. You can touch them and feed them :) Overall, it's a must in garden route road trip and... More 

Thank Giz_ogc
Cape Town, South Africa
Level Contributor
102 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 March 2017

It had been my wife's dream to walk with the elephants of Knysna (Grootvoete as we learned from Fiela se Kind). Wow. To be able to touch, smell, feel, hear these absolute majestic gentle giants is a must. It is a bit pricey, but I do understand that upkeep is not cheap. I loved it. The guides are awesome and... More 

Thank Bennie v
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
81 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2017 via mobile

If you are looking for one on one contact with a gentle giant then the Knysna Elephant Park is the perfect place to meet some of the most graceful creatures to roam the planet. The elephants are mostly tamed and used to their daily routine of feeding and meeting visitors at the park. They have wide open spaces and a... More 

Thank Tahmeee
Welwyn Garden City, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 March 2017

An amazing opportunity to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures. You can purchase food to feed the elephants under the supervision of the wardens. An amazing experience to feel the elephants suck up the food out of your hand with their trunks! You can also get close enough to stroke the elephants. A hours were spent here... More 

Thank jules68767

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