Trip to Addo National Elephant Park

We left on Friday morning and entered from the N2 at the Colchester Gate.    The park has just about doubled in size in the last couple of years and the fence between the main Addo and the Colchester side has been removed, so the animals have much more space to roam. We immediately saw what the unexpected June/July rains had done – Addo looked like pictures you see of the Cape Flowers.    Beautiful long green grass and flowers everywhere and the animals looking very contented.

We arrived at about 2 p.m. and drove around the Southern part for quite a while – lucky to see lots of Buck, including the Eland, Red Hartebees and Kudu.   We also saw a lot of zebras – the number in the park of all the animals seems to have increased a lot – not sure if this is because they used to hide away more.

The new drives in the Southern Area are quite beautiful and very different from the original Addo with some breathtaking views over the whole area. We saw a lot of Buffalo – quite amazing how expensive they have become, heard on the radio the other day that one was sold on an auction for R18,000,000.00.   

The main attraction of Addo is of course the elephants and the number of herds seem to have grown as you see small groups of them all over.   The weather was not very hot with a chilly wind, so they were not all over the waterholes, guess they are also getting a lot of moisture out of the leaves and grass.

About half way between the Colchester Gate and the main rest camp is a picnic spot – called Jack’s spot.   This is well placed as the ablution blocks are spotless and a great spot to stretch your legs, have something to eat and drink.   The one thing to remember is that the only shop/restaurant is in the main camp, so when you go to Addo you need to take your own refreshments.

We spent 3 nights at the Addo Rest Camp – main camp – in a small chalet.    The Chalets are always immaculately clean and they have all the mod cons you need, including quite a large fridge, stove and  microwave, plus fully stocked as far as crockery and cutlery are concerned.    They also have convenient braai areas. The chalets are cleaned daily and new towels provided, so even if you are self catering you don’t have to wash all your own dishes etc.

On our first morning we were up bright and early, thankful that we were in our car with a heater as it was rather cold and windy.    The gates open at 01.30 a.m. and we were there, ready to enter at 01.30.    We saw a lot of Kudu – they are really beautiful and I know that most people think the males are the best with their spectacular horns, but the females are just so sweet with their big eyes and ears that stand up straight.
We decided to drive back to the Southern parts as there seemed to be more animals there the day before, so were really lucky to see a family of lions sleeping near the road – very satisfied with their lives.

Zebras must be the most sociable animals, you always seem to find them with other animals – that day we came across them with a whole flock of ostriches. We have noticed over the years that the number of warthogs have diminished, evidently the lions are very fond of warthogs. The amazing thing this time was the variety and colour of all the flowers, absolutely awe inspiring.    Of course the advantage of these flowers is that you also see the different animals in amongst them. We were lucky to see a couple of jackals as well as a whole family of meerkats – they are just so funny, they way they run through the grass.

One of the good things about Addo (or any Game Reserve) is that you get up early, do your game watching thing and then go back and have a midday rest – you don’t feel lazy as you have already done what you are there to do.

We have found that when we go to Addo it is better to take our food with us – the restaurant never used to be the greatest and when you have your food in the chalet, you can eat what you want to, when you want to.   There is a shop at the main camp, but also a very good Spar at Colchester, so self catering is very easy.   It is also a good idea to make sure you take something to eat and drink on game drives – sometimes they last longer than your originally planned.   A great idea is to make a picnic and have it about half way though your morning drive – lets you stretch your legs and by that time the food really tastes great.

To learn more about what to do and see in South Africa visit our South Africa Accommodation and Travel website.
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