Gareth Patterson’s Mysteries of the Knysna Forest

Join award-winning environmentalist, wildlife expert, author and speaker, Gareth Patterson on this unique Knysna forest experience. Known internationally for his efforts to greater protect the lions and elephants of Africa, the tour is based on Gareth’s latest book, Beyond the Secret Elephants. In part, this forest experience is an insight into the seven years Gareth spent – covering some 22,000 km’s on foot, the equivalent of walking half-way around the world – rediscovering and studying the extraordinary Knysna elephants.

“There are whispers of secret elephants, the present-day survivors, and the ghosts of those of the past. Age-old ancestral pathways weave silently through the forest and the fynbos. Compelling reports exist of mysterious relict hominoid beings, known by the forest people as the ‘Otang’. Rumours persist of shadowy ‘black’ (melanistic) leopards. There are the vanishings, the disappearances, the ruins of hamlets, and voices lost on the wind. All of these make the Knysna forest a place of remarkable mysteries, but it is also, a place of remarkable discoveries…”
Gareth Patterson

The 45 km drive includes exploratory forest walks and takes approximately three to four hours. It is a personalized forest experience – Gareth accompanies participants in their own vehicle so tour numbers are limited to the vehicle capacity, with a minimum of two people per tour. It takes place weekdays and weekends (subject to available dates).

For enquiries or to book please email Gareth at, or visit for more information.

Find more information here about Gareth’s latest book, Beyond the Secret Elephants.
Click here for the trailer of The Search for the Knysna Elephants, the NHS/Animal Planet International documentary about Gareth’s rediscovery of the Knysna elephants.

Photos credit – Dirk and Daniela Johnen

Gareth’s list of recommended reading:

  • Patterson, G. 2020. Beyond the Secret Elephants: Of Mystery, Elephants and Discovery. Johannesburg: Tracey McDonald Publishers.
  • Patterson, G. 2015. My Lion’s Heart: A Life for the Lions of Africa. Johannesburg: Tracey McDonald Publishers.
  • Patterson, G. 2009. The Secret Elephants: The Rediscovery of the World’s Most Southerly Elephants. Johannesburg: Penguin Books.
  • Watson, L. 2004. Elephantoms: Tracking the Elephant. Johannesburg: Penguin Books.