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Knysna Elephant Park

Game Reserve And Bush Lodge Accommodation In Harkerville

The Knysna Elephant Park (est. 1994) was the first facility in South Africa to house and care for orphaned African elephants. Today, it has become a world class facility, having cared for and raised more than forty elephants. These animals include relocated animals, orphaned calves, elephants rescued from culls and ex-circus animals. Some have become part of the resident herd, others have moved onto other reserves and facilities in the Western and Eastern Cape, depending on their personalities, bonds with other animals and welfare needs.

The present KEP herd numbers ten - the largest domesticated matriarchal herd in the country. Our style of management offers guests the opportunity to get up close and personal with our elephants, on elephant terms. Responsible and educational interactions allow guests to appreciate the awe-inspiring presence of these animals, but still give the elephants the space and freedom to choose where they want to move, what they want to eat and who they want to interact with. There are no fences to spoil the close encounter and our environment encourages elephants to exhibit natural behaviours.

Elephant experiences include Daily Tours (departing from reception every 30 mins), as well as Picnic Breakfast  Elephant Walks, Afternoon Elephant Walks, Sundowner Group Packages, as well as Sleepovers in the Elephant Lodge. No reservations are necessary for daily tours, but bookings are essential for all other elephant encounters.

Visitors to the park are privileged to have a personal encounter with our gentle giants, and leave having gained a new-found respect for these animals, as well as a better understanding of the African elephant and its plight across the continent. Most importantly, by visiting the Park and experiencing our elephant herd, guests make a direct contribution to elephant husbandry and care. Visitors to the Park enable us to give our elephants the best possible facilities, nutrition and care. They also allow us to offer other elephants in need the chance of a better life.

Facilities include an on-site research unit, volunteer programme, interpretation centre, restaurant and playground, curio shop. The Park is open 365 days a year, from 09h00 to 15h00 daily.

Sleep-over with elephants

The Parks' elephants enjoy world-class facilities: during the day they roam the property, but at the end of the day they hurry back to their boma / night camp for a pampered night's sleep. Built within the elephant sleeping quarters, our Extraordinary Elephant Lodge offers guests the unique opportunity to spend the night with a herd of African elephants.

Enjoy your elephant sleep-over in unique accommodation overlooking the boma; or spend the evening relaxing in the communal lounge, watching the elephants browse, feed and snooze...

Our Elephant Park restaurant serves wholesome meals, with a cozy interior and fireplace for winter or our deck overlooking our dam for summer. Our unique Elephant Curio Shop prides itself in having an extraordinary range of Elephant curios sourced from cottage industry crafters that captures the spirit and love of our elephants!

Every celebration deserves an elephant's blessing!
Our exclusive functions venue is beautifully situated at the edge of indigenous forest and overlooks the mountains. The lapa and chapel accommodates 150 guests. Facilities include a kitchen and vast deck. Our resident herd can pay tribute to your function. Event co-ordinators can assist with all planning.

We are looking for people who care!

Working with elephants is a humbling and awe-inspiring experience. As a volunteer you will contribute to all aspects of elephant research, education, husbandry, and conservation. Our volunteers are directly involved in elephant research and aid in providing information that relates directly to the welfare and management of elephants, not only at KEP, but internationally.

Please contact us for further information if you are interested.

  • Awards & Accreditations As Claimed By The Establishment
  • Tourism Grading - 4 Stars
  • big game onsite
  • car hire (less than 20km)
  • generator
  • jacuzzi (some units)
  • parking all onsite
  • restaurant onsite
  • serviced
  • tea / coffee making facilities