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“What a treat!”

Knysna Elephant Park
Ranked #3 of 76 things to do in Knysna
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
39 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“What a treat!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

This Park does a nice job at connecting visitors with these magnificent animals. You are transported down to a feeding area where, if you purchased a bucket of food, you are paired up with an elephant to feed. Then, you get some close-up and photo time as you gather in small groups around an elephant, each group guided by a park staff member who will tell you about that particular elephant and answer all your questions.

The operation was a bit more commercial than I was expecting for a 'sanctuary' - and pricier than I was expecting - admission and a bucket of food was something like US$22 (R270) - but the experience to get up close and personal was worth it and the funds are certainly going to a good cause. They also have a restaurant on site which served us up a very nice lunch.

Visited March 2017
Thank AlbertaRider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1 905 reviews from our community

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Yeovil, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
34 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Just a little disappointing”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

We visited 3 years ago and you interacted far more with the elephants. Once they were fed this time, we were given a short time to take pictures with the elephants, after which we were taken away to see the zebras (they were disinterested and kept moving away). We had not gone to Knysna Elephant Park to see Zebras. By the time we had watched the video, ridden over to where the elephants were, the time actually spent with the Elephants just seemed like a quick photo call.

Visited April 2017
Thank Buncha13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KnysnaElephant, Manager at Knysna Elephant Park, responded to this review, 1 week ago
Dear Valued Guest

We are saddened to hear that you did not have the experience of a lifetime that we strive to achieve. Our experiences are usually a minimum of an hour in duration with both our front office ladies and the guides telling guests that if they are enjoying themselves in the field they are welcome to stay with the elephants as long as they wish as the tractor does a return trip back to the restaurant every 30 minutes.

As this trip is on a set schedule we can only assume that perhaps your party embarked on the previous group’s tractor in error. We will however, in an effort to continue to improve our service to our guest, address with our field guides the importance of reiterating that guests may spend as much time as they wish out in the field and only those wishing to return are required to embark on the first available tractor.

With kindest regards and our sincerest apologies, The Management Team of Knysna Elephant Park.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
63 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Great place for s quick Safari”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We booked a 2 hour tour at first to get our bearings. Saw a lot of animals. Decided to go on our own the next day which was stunning! Saw elefants, lots of Zebras, the whole works! Great place!

Visited April 2017
Thank Dagmar2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Amazing ! ”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

The staff and park were incredible , the rangers knowledge was second to none.
All the work for the safety and return of elephants to natural habit .
What a great way to spend an afternoon.

Visited April 2017
Thank altasscrew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
57 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Bit touristy ”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Tour lasts an hour. Went for breakfast first which was good. You can touch and feed the elephants and have photo taken and buy them at the end. It was 275 rand. Worth doing once

Visited April 2017
Thank woodyManchester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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