Hey there everyone!
Tristan and I had such a great time in the Tsitsikamma National Park! It was usually rainy in the mornings but cleared up throughout the day so that we could even go for swims in the afternoon.
When we checked out of our beautiful Oceanette to head out to the Addo Elephant National Park, we prayed for warm and sunny weather without the morning rain. You are more likely to see shy animals on a safari when it’s rather dry. They come out of their hideouts to drink at the bigger water holes where you can take a closer look at them.
Anyway… Tristan and I were headed to the Addo Elephant Park, a wildlife conservation park at the outskirts of Port Elizabeth smaller only than the famous Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
The park was founded in 1931 as a sanctuary for the remaining 11 elephants from that area.
The Addo elephants are probably the world’s most comprehensively recorded elephant population. Elephant research began in earnest in 1976 when Dr. Anthony Hall-Martin researched the Addo elephant population. In this study he built up a complete photographic identification file for the population (a total of 96 elephants in May 1978), documented the sex, estimated age, and developmental status of all individuals, and kept records of births and deaths within the population. Additionally, notes were kept on observed association patterns and social behaviour.~SAN Parks; Research and Monitoring
Since then, the park has been very successful and is now home to more than 700 elephants and a great abundance of other animals. It has been expanded and now includes a National Park at the coast that stretches from the Sundays River mouth to Alexandria and a marine reserve where plenty of penguins breed.
We didn’t go to either reserve by the sea but had the greatest time anyways! So many elephants, each group at least with one calf! Most of them don’t have tusks – they were born without them due to overbreeding. When the national parks realized what was happening, the Krüger team gave a few bull elephants to Addo. Since then, some elephants with tusks have been born.
Addo started off with 10 lions. But as the eland population sank drastically, they gave 4 lions back to Krüger. With only 6 lions in the whole park, the elephants, zebras, kudus, hogs & co. are relatively safe. The elands have recovered – at least you can see them EVERYWHERE in the park.
Fun Fact: Elands can jump up to 2.5 meters high. That’s higher than the fences are leaving them free to come and go as they please. Especially during official hunting season, elands seek shelter in Addo as hunting is strictly prohibited on the property.
You actually need a little bit of luck to see lions and leopards and I recommend taking a glance at the “spotted” bulletin board at main camp in the morning before you start your safari.
It’s also good to know that there are 3 different groups of lions:
1: 3 lionesses that enjoy each others company
2: 2 male lions who hunt together
3: 1 lioness who prefers to stay to herself
We found the group of three in the afternoon, snuggling and being lazy. 🙂
We only had 3 days at Addo Elephant Park and opted for the self driving experience and a night game drive. I would have loved to go horse back riding but the weather rather mediocre. We didn’t see that many animals at the night game drive but the guide was cool and had a lot of information regarding all kinds of animals and the park. Driving around the park ourselves was the funnest part for us. Tristan was busy driving, stopping for giant snails, centipedes, and dung beetles or trying to make a way around them.
The dung beetle is a protected animal and has the right of way. You are also not supposed to drive over the elephant dung because the dung beetle feeds of off it.
Kinda cross, eh? But they are so much fun to watch! Rolling those big balls of dung around and actually fighting over them!
Every once in a while a hog would cross the road, kudus would jump away when the car got too close, and water buffalo would stare frighteningly.
You are not allowed to drive any faster than 40 km/h to avoid accidently hitting animals. More park rules and information regarding the wildlife, plants, activities, accomodations and prices can be found on the offical SANParks-website: Click
We only stayed at onside-accomodations but chose a new accomodation for each night. I will show you all accomodations in the next post so you can find out yourself which one fits your needs best. Stay tuned! 🙂