Knysna Activities for Animal-Lovers | Knysna Hollow Blog Menu

Knysna Activities for Animal-Lovers

Posted on June 21, 2024

The Garden Route is teeming with lush, pristine natural spaces. If you’re an outdoor lover, you won’t be disappointed by the many beaches, mountains, parks and reserves near Knysna that you can explore to your heart’s content!

Loving the outdoors and loving animals often go hand-in-hand, which is why we’ve compiled a list of world-class animal-related activities near Knysna for you to add to your itinerary.

When drawing up this list, we’ve been very careful to only select sanctuaries that prioritise the wellbeing of the animals under their care. In other words – no petting zoos! These are award-winning facilities that are often global leaders in their area. With them you will be safe and cared for, while enjoying something few others in the world will ever get to experience. The purpose of visiting these places is primarily educational, with the unique opportunity to get close to extraordinary creatures – from elephants to colourful birds.

Here are some of the best Knysna activities near Knysna Hollow Country Estate!

Knysna Elephant Park

Image Credit: Instagram | knysnatrunkcall

When it comes to elephant encounters, you couldn’t ask for a park more dedicated or respectful to the animals under their care than the Knysna Elephant Park.

Established in 1993, the Knysna Elephant Park is the oldest sanctuary in South Africa to house, nurture and care for orphaned African elephants. They are currently home to a matriarchal herd of five elephants, but have cared for many more over the years, taking in orphaned babies, elephants rescued from culls and relocated elephants from elsewhere in the country.

At the park, these elephants are given the love and care they need and, after a careful evaluation of each animal’s unique personality, moved on to other reserves and parks in the Western Cape.

Though domesticated, the elephants you will encounter here are given the space and freedom to dictate the terms of their own involvement in the interaction. The environment also encourages them to display natural behaviours and there will be no fences between you when you meet them – only a park official who cares for them to help you navigate their behaviour and playful ways.

Elephants are highly intelligent animals, with the capacity for deep social connection. There’s no doubt that their awe-inspiring presence will leave an impression on you long after you return home.

Learn more here.

Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary

Image Credit: Instagram | saasa_monkeyland

This Knysna activity is great for families with children, but even adults will soon feel like kids themselves when they meet the cheeky and rambunctious primates of Monkeyland!

This sanctuary is the largest free-roaming, multiple-primate sanctuary of its kind in the country. You can look forward to encountering over 550 primates during your visit, featuring an array of species such as the Vervet monkey, Brown-hooded capuchin, Squirrel monkey, Spider monkey, Howler monkey, Hanuman Langur, Saki monkey, Black and white ruffed lemur, Ringtail lemur and white-handed gibbon.

You will be assigned a guide who will lead you deep into the forest on a wooden boardwalk (this activity is also wheelchair-friendly and suited to all walking abilities), where the wonders of this sanctuary will soon become apparant – monkeys everywhere!

Learn more here.

Birds of Eden Free-Flight Sanctuary

Image Credit: Instagram | saasa_birdsofeden

Like the two facilities mentioned above, this sanctuary is very special – it is the largest free-flight sanctuary in the world, comprising of a 2-hectare dome over a natural gorge in the indigenous Knysna forest.

Take yourself on a self-guided walk through this magical environment and marvel at the sheer beauty of the 220 different types of birds that live here. (There are approximately 3500 birds in total.)

The birds you see here were previously caged or kept in small enclosures; some never encountered other birds before coming here. After a rehabilitation process, it is incredibly touching to see them able to exercise the full extent of their nature and fly.

Whether you’re a twitcher or not, nobody can resist the beauty of birds up close. Here you will find a mix of exotic species and African birds.

Learn more here.

Marine Encounters

Between June and November our coastline is a wonderful place to view migrating southern right and humpback whales.

Ocean Odyssey is an established charter company that provides excellent excursions out to sea in their modified tour boats. They will get you as close as respectfully possible to these giants of the deep as they swim, play and often perform for onlookers.

If you love the sea and all its creatures, this Knysna activity is for you!

Learn more here.

More Knysna Activities for Animal-Lovers

Here are a few more spots to check out!

You might also like to read our blog post on Where to go on Safari from Knysna for even more wonderful options to get up close and personal with our country’s extraordinary wildlife.

Stay With Us

Whether you love animals or simply the great outdoors, Knysna Hollow Country Estate is perfectly located to offer you both!

Book your stay with us and enjoy contemporary accommodation, an on-site eatery and more!

Get in touch via email at or make use of our online booking platform to secure your dates.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Garden Route!

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