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

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