Monday, 1 November 2004

Experience Addo at night

During the evenings they have proper guided tours of the park. We went on one. It cost us R160 each.

We sat in a chair on a high Landrover and proceeded into the cold night.

The guide was very good, as was the driver. They seemed to know exactly where the animals were, as if they had asked the animals to be there especially for the tour.

They were knowledgable and friendly. This was a real treat. I didn't take a photo in the dark, not wanting to frighten the animals away!

No citrus in the park!

Do not bring any kind of citrus fruits into Addo Elephant Game Park if it can be helped. Oranges, pineapples, clementines, naartjies etc. The park has decent fences around the it, but in times past, it didn’t, and animals used to get out of the park and into the citrus fruit trees and eat whatever they could find.

Naturally this enraged the local farmers and many elephants were shot, maimed and killed because of it. Animals have excellent memories generally, especially elephants, and they associate the smell of citrus fruits, with that of pain and suffering. This might make them restless and even angry, so best to play it safe and not bring them into the park.

Addo Elephant National Park - Keen sense of smell!

Saturday, 23 October 2004

Addo Elephant National Game Park

Addo Elephant National Park - Flower's Addo
Flower's Addo

In 2001 we went on the most glorious honeymoon. We went to a game park and two national parks. This was the game park. The other national parks were Wilderness and Tsitsikamma :)

Our first stop was Addo Elephant Park. It is located 72 km north of Port Elizabeth, a pleasant and easy drive, in the Sundays River Valley and Zuurberg Mountain range. A beautiful area.

The land of the tusk and trunk

This park is expanding, which is really exciting. Land is being claimed for the preservation of the wildlife of South Africa! It is currently 148 000 hectares, and the plan is to extend it to 360 000 hectares (to the coast), and call it the ‘Greater Addo’ Park. It will then become a 'Big 7' park, incorporating whales and sharks on its coast. This is not only great news for the animals and plant life of Addo, but also for tourism for the local community and the Eastern Cape as a whole.

Most of South Africa’s game parks are in the northern areas of the country, so this is a welcome retreat, being on the south coast of the country. If you feel like a relaxing break away, with some good game viewing included, this is the perfect place to visit.

As you venture into the entrance two huge elephant skulls greet you. Very appropriate.

They are almost saying ‘Welcome to my world’.

Guided hikes and walks

They offer a 3 to 4 hour trail called the Spekboom Day Trail.

Addo Elephant National Park - A trail

It takes place close to the botanical section of the park and is relatively safe. The guide will always carry a gun with him anyway, in case a lion/other predator does appear.

This photo above was taken from our verandah at our cottage. You can see how close the elephant is to us in the photo... the fences are so close by.

It's wonderful :)

The best place to view animals is at watering holes.

A really good watering hole here is the Harpoor watering hole. This name comes form the renowned elephant Harpoor, who deeply distrusted and hated human beings. He was shot at (so who can blame him!?)

Elephants congregate here in large groups, anything from 12 to 40 at a time, so it’s a great place to view them interacting with one another.

Addo Elephant National Park - At a watering hole

Best time to view them drinking is early morning and then dusk. In the searing heat of the day they tend to stay in shady areas.

Bird watching!

There are over 400 species of birds in the park. They come up to your outside table, as many are quite tame around humans now.

There are a couple of bird hides in the park too, and these are lovely places to just go and sit for a couple of hours, silently watching the life in front.

In the photo my husband is checking out the life around us fromthe verandah of our cottage. One doesn't have to go far to feel like you are in animal and bird country here :)

Do not forget your binoculars!

Addo Elephant National Park - Birdwatching

Addo Elephant cottages: under the thatch under the stars!

We stayed in a thatch-roofed Dutch-colonial styled bungalow, were the last in a row, so we had extra privacy, which was wonderful. We were so close to the animals (fenced off).

It sleeps four, so with just the two of us, it was so spacious! It has a bathroom (where I made my husband a lovely petal bath), and an open plan living are and kitchen, which led onto the veranda.

Everything was very comfortable, clean and inviting. It was serviced daily with fresh bedding and towels. They do have a campground area where you can stay too, as well as rondavels which cater for different amounts of people..

Addo Elephant National Park - Our cottage

Thursday, 21 October 2004

Bally roads!!

The roads in the rest camp of Addo are tarred, but the roads in the park are sand and gravel. We have been to quite a few game parks, and we found some of the roads here the worst we have ever found.

Hopefully they have flattened the sand roads a bit since, but when we were there it was incredibly bumpy in some areas and this is not fun.

Interestingly enough (although I am not sure this had anything to do with the bumpy road), the steering wheel came off (yes, it just came off!) whilst we were driving.

We were doing the speed limit, so we could stop almost immediately.

My husband had his penknife with him and fixed it. NOT the place to become stranded, especially as there is no phone signal or anything. We would have had to wait for a passer by to raise the alarm had we been unable to fix it.

Handy little Swiss Army knife!

We got back to the cottage and he spent the rest of the afternoon surveying the bushveld around us up on the verandah pillar... not wanting to venture into the car for a little while.

Understandable... ;)

Addo Elephant National Park - On the verandah!

Perimeter fences are there for a reason...

Addo Elephant Game Park was one of three honeymoon destinations in 2001. Oh, how we loved it! There's nothing better than to be under the blue African sky, on red hot African soil, taking in the unrelenting African heat.


Or not?

A man was killed in Addo Elephant Game Park in 2005.

He was trespassing and was walking in an area he shouldn’t have been in, and, besides the fact he was trespassing, that area is home to predators and other animals that are ferociously guarded and protective around their young.

A female elephant charged at him and killed him. Upon doing their routine fence patrol, park guards found him, trampled in the vegetation.

Do NOT get out of your cars when in the game park area. Be responsible at all times!

Addo Elephant National Park - Keep within the camp fence