South Africa, travel

{Kynsa Elephant Park}

Let’s talk about elephants. Prior to our trip to South Africa I really didn’t know much about them, but after a trip to the Knysna Elephant park I learned a lot about these gorgeous creatures. They’re extremely smart and have the self-awareness and cognition similar to what we’ve seen in apes and dolphins. They are quick learners and will glady show off some tricks for a piece of fruit. They love attention and cuddles. Really, they’re friendly giants. Within their packs they truly care for one another, and if something happens to an elephant in the pack, their loss is visibly mourned. I truly fell in love with them the more I learned about them. They are so fascinating and sweet! 

After our stay in Franschhoek we ventured along the Garden Route. One of the cities we stopped in was Knysna. We had read about the Knysna Elephant Park in our guide book and knew we definitely wanted to check it out and get the opportunity to pet and feed the elephants! The Elephant Park is actually an orphanage for elephants in need – who have either been abandoned, fallen ill, etc. My favorite part about the park is that they practice a “free-range controlled system of management” – which basically means the elephants range freely and they only interact with guests on their terms. We definitely saw this as they were not herded over to us by any means. We simple drove up into the park and waited to see what would happen. Luckily, they know we come with food, so they love to come get treats and get attention from the visitors! It was one of my most favorite travel experiences to date to interact so closely with these beautiful animals! I’d highly recommend it if you’re ever in South Africa.

{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}

22 thoughts on “{Kynsa Elephant Park}”

  1. When I was in SA a couple of years ago I went to the Addo Elephant Park and it was beyond amazing. I still love looking at pictures from that trip! It's so funny how elephants are like cows or cats to the people living in SA. And I was all like LOOOOK! An elephant! A giraffe! A lion! 🙂

  2. ok i'm sold. we're going to s. africa in january and i've been researching places like this (free range, no tricks or flashy lights) to see and interact with elephants in the most natural way possible. gorgeous photos!

  3. You can totally tell that you and Corey are having a blast in these photos. The cutest.

    The free range concept is so cool! I notice a lot of nature parks doing that recently. I wish they weren't using the pointy elephant sticks though, after reading/watching Water for Elephants they totally freak me out 🙁

  4. This is amazing! I recently saw about 10 elephants interacting with eachother at a circus show and was blown away how they could be trained to act as they did. I guess I hadn't realized how smart they were!

  5. Hi, My name is Lisa and I am proudly South African. If you are not going to be in the Knysna area (which would be a pity because it is stunning) there is a similar place about 2 hours from Johannesburg called Adventures with Elephants. The interaction with the ellies are mind blowing!! Hope you have a wonderful and blessed trip to our beautiful shores.


  6. Aw this is wonderful! There was an episode on Discovery about this orphanage and the woman who runs it – ever since seeing it I've always wanted to go. So exciting you were able to see it!

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