Riding Asian elephants is bad. I sadly learned this while visiting the Elephant Nature Park in Chang Mai where the effects of animal cruelty were on full display. For some reason I have always wanted to ride one of these gentle giants so when we found ourselves at the Knysna Elephant Park while touring South Africa’s Garden Route I got my hopes up. Surely African elephants have stronger backs and are treated better than their Asian cousins? This idea was quickly squashed by my animal loving travel partner, even though riding elephants in Knysna is on the menu.
With that here is my time walking with elephants in Knysna:
About The Elephants in Knysna’s Home
Located just minutes outside of Knysna and 500+ scenic kilometers away from Cape Town you will find the Knysna Elephant Park. Originally started in 1994, over 40 orphaned and abandoned Elephants in Knysna have had a caring home there. This animal shelter has become a popular spot with tourists and a great place to go for a walk with the elephants in Knysna – you know, because you’re not allowed to ride them.
We arrived at the Knysna Elephant Park unannounced and jumped on the next available tour. After watching a short film on the elephants in Knysna we were transported (by tractor) to the feeding area. Armed with a $4 bucket of fruit we waited as the elephants in Knysna marched over. Much like the routine at the Elephant Nature Park in Chang Mai, the elephants in Knysna run like clockwork – knowing when to eat, where to get it, and where to go after.
Take a Walk
Once our feed bucket was empty we took a leisurely stroll back to the main building. Along the way we got to pet the elephants, scratch them behind their ears, and feed them wild grass – if we could get it out of the ground that is. These massive animals pulled the grass out of the ground with ease. I tried and promptly fell over. Just goes to show you how strong their trunks are, or how weak I have become while on the road.
Garden Route To Do
Although there are plenty of activities to do with the elephants in Knysna (including riding an elephant. Still just saying.) we found a quick tour with a feeding was plenty. It was a great way to see these beautiful creatures up close and interact with them. If you find yourself along the Garden Route the Knysna Elephant Park is definitely worth a quick stop.
Walking with the Elephants in Knysna Good to Know
Cost: Varies. See site – www.knysnaelephantpark.co.za/experiences/.
Don’t miss: Feeding bucket!
Located: See map