For the children, it was an experience to be remembered. After watching an educational video that included how to safely interact with these beautiful animals, they received complimentary buckets of fruit to feed to the elephants. Wonder and giggles overcame hesitancy as hairy trunks plucked the food from their open palms. Benjy, a 7-year old from Judah Square whose known for his shyness, lit up as he became the most avid feeder. The cellphone generation, particularly the teens from Hornlee, delighted in selfies and group shots.
Love Food Café, the on-site restaurant, provided juice, chips, salad rolls and hotdogs. Chase, the manager, and his staff were superb. George Ndlovu took amazing photos, providing them to the group before they departed. He was proud to state that his surname means “elephant”.
This was the biggest trip since Love Knysna Projects began almost 3 years ago. Incidentally, the very first children’s trip was to the same venue. This time, Ian and Lisette Withers (the owners) had welcomed them to join in the park’s 21st birthday celebrations. “It’s important for us to have children visit and let the elephants be their teachers,” said Lisette. Her husband concurred in spirit, adding that, “There’s always the hope that a child will be inspired to study nature and wildlife.”
Before they departed, Love Knysna Projects was very happy to receive an annual invitation to the park, giving it the chance to introduce more children from all over the Knysna Municipality. The staff at AERU (African Elephant Research Unit), the in-house research project, will host selected teens next year for a deeper educational experience.
The voluntary association is directly the result of locals who care, those with cars and sandwich-making skills who love picnics and enjoy exploring their own town and surrounds with the belief that Knysna must be experienced by all who live here. This is expressed through their slogan, “One Knysna, Our Knysna”.
If you are an adult resident of Knysna and wish to have fun whilst doing good deeds, contact them through firstname.lastname@example.org.