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“Amazing animal encounter - wished had stayed over!”

Knysna Elephant Park
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4-Day Garden Route Experience from Cape Town
Ranked #5 of 50 things to do in Knysna
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: 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. EXTRAORDINARY ENCOUNTERS - BE TOUCHED BY AN ELEPHANT
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 animals spine, however that was on a bench type thing and here was bare backed (with the guide as well) so is apparently safe for the elephant. The guides were great at answering any questions.

The elephants seemed well cared for and happy (as far as we could tell).

I didn't realise you could stay over and watch the elephants at night. We were staying in Knysna but would have stayed over here instead if we had known.

Date of experience: April 2016
Thank YorkshireCat86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"these gentle giants"
in 71 reviews
in 126 reviews
"these magnificent animals"
in 40 reviews
"love elephants"
in 35 reviews
"elephant experience"
in 49 reviews
"orphaned elephants"
in 26 reviews
"short video"
in 27 reviews
"close encounter"
in 23 reviews
"an amazing experience"
in 86 reviews
"take pictures"
in 40 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 26 reviews
"garden route"
in 62 reviews
in 213 reviews
in 648 reviews
in 98 reviews
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409 - 413 of 2 411 reviews

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.

Date of experience: February 2017
Thank JohnLightwater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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 the elephant encounter was we would not have been informed.

Date of experience: March 2017
Thank Charne3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KnysnaElephant, Manager at Knysna Elephant Park, responded to this reviewResponded 16 March 2017

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 staff this morning and we will sort out this sort of behaviour. Thank you for bringing this to our attention and please accept our sincere apologies.

Best Regards

The Knysna Elephant Park Management

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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 was very informative and told us a lot about the elephants, kept us safe (they are still wild animals!) I can't wait to come back to Knysna and visit the elephant park.

Date of experience: February 2017
Thank LouiVictoria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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.

Date of experience: February 2017
Thank Hilary L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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