Our trip to Addo National Elephant Park

We recently had friends over from the UK and we decided to take them to Addo National Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Addo is situated just 60 minutes drive from Port Elizabeth and is home to over 500 elephants, lions, black rhino, buffalo, leopard, zebra, hyena, warthog, a variety of antelope and not forgetting the famous flightless Dung Beetle.

We entered Addo at the Colchester Entrance Gate just off the N2 route. At the entrance it is always worth asking where lion have been spotted that day. This entrance takes you through the newest extension to Addo National Elephant Park which now extends to over 180,000 hectares of land. This Colchester entrance is provided for game viewing in your own vehicle. If you want a guided tour then you will need to enter via the Addo Main Camp section which is on the R342.

As soon as we entered Addo we spotted a Vervet Monkey sitting in a tree which was a great start to our day. The roads here are a mix between tarmac and dirt track but are suitable for most vehicles. The vegetation in southern section of Addo is quite high so you really need to keep your eyes and ears open to try and spot the animals. Travelling around the southern section we spotted zebra, ostrich, buffalo and just a single bull elephant. We came across the bull elephant in the middle of the road about 3 hundred yards infront of us. We stopped the car as we are well aware that you should not annoy a bull elephant. As we could see we were in the way of where the bull elephant wanted to go we reversed a little and allowed the elephant to continue on his way.


We moved on and passed across the southern gate and headed towards the various waterholes that can be found dotted around. As we were all getting a little hungry at this point we decided to pull into Jacks Picnic Site which has some excellent facilities including braai areas - all you need to do is bring your food, charcoal and utensils. There were a few people braaing and the smell was fantastic. This is a good chance to recharge your batteries and look at some of the photos you have already taken. We finished our food and carried on. Just before the Hapoor Dam we decided to take a turn down the Mpunzi Loop and boy are we glad we did. We had only gone a short way when we spotted two elephants right by the side of the road and very close to the car. We stopped the car and soon discovered we were right in the midst of a herd of elephants that were all feeding on the bush all around us. The group was mostly made up of females and their young. There were some extremely cute baby elephants which didnt mind us at all and passed a number of times both infront and behind our car. With our windows wound down we took the opportunity to get some wonderful close-up shots and to watch the elephants as they ate. We were there for a good half an hour just marvelling at these amazing animals.

Pushing on we headed towards the Hapoor Dam where we could see a number of elephants drinking at the waterhole. We could also see a number of different herds all waiting for their turn at the waterhole in what was very clearly a pecking order. Occasionally a bull elephant would try and jump the queue which resulted in quite a bit of pushing and shoving and some large elephant trumpetting. It was extremely interesting to the interaction and social behaviour of what must have been 50-60 elephants. Although we didnt spot lion during the 6 hours we were there we did see lots of other animals including Kudu, buffalo, zebra, ostrich, warthogs to name just a few. We visited Addo in January and there lots of animals with their young which clearly shows how happy these animals are. Addo is a great day out and we thoroughly recommend a trip here. If you are looking for accommodation for your holiday in South Africa visit Where2Stay-SouthAfrica.
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