Enjoying the wild. Elephant Park, Knysna review

Birthday getaway Review: Elephant Park, Knysna

It was my birthday recently, with me feeling too old and having our son with us; we had to do fun activities. I do love nature and especially wild animals. Knysna, on the East Coast of the Western Province on the Garden route, is perfect for this.

My son is going through an elephant phase right now and what’s better than taking him to feed and roam around these majestic creatures. I’ve only seen and ridden elephants in Thailand. We are in Africa for goodness sake, so how are we not able to experience our nature and our surroundings like we should and would like. For me to ride an elephant in Thailand was cheaper than going to a game reserve and seeing the elephant from a distance.
I find this disturbing! Why are we blocked access? Why is it so expensive to appreciate nature? Why is the beauty of our country only reserved for tourists?

Nonetheless, I promised my son elephants and at least we can afford taking him there. Which I can’t say for the majority of South Africans, they can barely afford food for the day😦.

There are actually 2 places where you can interact with elephants in Knysna. There’s an Elephant park and an Elephant sanctuary.
We go to the Elephant park as it looked better on the website and it had good tripadvisor reviews.

They have a tour every 30 minutes, for feeding the elephants and walking amongst them in the reserve with rangers to educate you about these creatures and to answer all the questions you may have about them. Obviously take loads of pics with them as well.

We are first taken to the video room, where we learn more about this park. How they even have an elephant research institute on the premises, which you can volunteer at for a day or more.

After the video room, we go to where they sleep. It’s like a big indoor open kraal, and they can come in in the night or when it’s raining, if they want to or not. Then onto a tractor trailer down to where the elephants are. We feed them, which was interestingly ticklish, with their trunks on your hand. But we were given about 5 minutes to do this and the whole tour group was meant to finish at the same time.

imageAfter feeding, we walk among them. An elephant is so intimidatingly huge, their power, their capabilities; just majestic. The feeling is amazing. This is why I love wild animals so much. When I see them, learn about their intelligence, how they mate, survive, kill, it makes me think about how on earth did we get one over them and became the dominant species. How are they in cages, and not us?

But unfortunately this is where the fun, learning experience ended. We got paired up with a guide for the walk and ours was far from pleasant. We got stuck with an arrogant guy who looked down on us when we asked questions and didn’t answer our questions at all.
Examples:
Question: On an adult male elephant, how long does a trunk get?
Answer: Long, as you can see and he points at a 12 year old elephant.
Question: How many kg’s of grass does an elephant eat generally?
Answer: A lot.
Question: I saw on the drawing how small the elephant uterus is, how far does it stretch to accomodate an elephant baby?
Answer: Far.

With no volunteering of information or answering our questions, we decided to walk away from him. And it really spoilt our experience. And this guy was the head guide for our tour.
We didn’t feel like we got our money’s worth. Unfortunately everyone else we made contact with was good; the cashier when we bought tickets; the reserve photographer etc. But the person that counts the most in making the experience, failed miserably.

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Rating
Findability– 10/10. Good directions. A bit over the top as my husband says.☺️
Child Friendliness: 5/10. As much as my 3 year old loves elephants, it wasn’t safe for him to walk around amongst them as they are wild animals and we were told to keep to the left and front of the animal. I feared for his safety the whole time, so I helped him through the feeding and walk.😞
Service: 4/10 πŸ˜’
Affordability: 2/10. With R530 for 2 people, with only about 15-20 minutes with the elephants. And this was the cheapest package!😳 And if you wanted to ride one, it was more than double the price!
The Experience: 6/10

Overall rating = 6/10
The animals are amazing, so go see the ELEPHANTS but maybe not at Knysna Elephant park.
Maybe try the Elephant sanctuary, not sure it can get any worse than the Elephant park!πŸ‘Ž

Author: preciousgarnett

I'm a multi-faceted young woman. I'm a proud mom to a now 5 year old 😜. I'm a daughter, I'm a sister and a friend to a few people. I'm a medical doctor by profession, passionate about infectious disease, primary health care and public health. I live food, from thinking about it, cooking it to eating it. Health and Nutrition fanatic. I live by a few chants...: 1. Before I do anything whether related to food or not, I ask myself ' Is it worth the calories?' Whether literally or figuratively( i.e. Is the decision worth the stress, effort, investment) 2. What you put in must come out! If you don't let it out, it settles on your tummy and hips. 3. 'Everything happens for a reason'. I try reflect on situations I find myself in, whether by choice or not. And look for Lessons I'm meant to learn from them, in order to grow.

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