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Addo Elephant Park

As the name of this national park implies, elephants are the main area of focus here. The park was originally established to protect the last remaining elephants of its most southernly population. They are an unusual variant of African elephant, in that nearly none of the females bear tusks, as is the case for most Asian elephants. This population reached its lowest ebb in 1931 when there were only 11 of these elephants remaining, 3 bulls and 8 cows. The population now numbers around 600, so it can be seen that Addo has succeeded in its mission. These huge animals are easy to see in the park, which is not just because of their size and number, but also because the vegetation here mainly consists of low bushes and more open areas with grasses and herbaceous plants. It is a wonderful experience to see the elephants of Addo during the months of spring when the plants are flowering, as it looks as if they are walking around in a beautiful garden.

The park has been extended a number of times, from its original size of only 120 km2 to the current 1,800 km2, which makes it South Africa’s third largest national park. It covers a hilly and very varied landscape that stretches right down to the coast and even includes a couple of small islands in the Indian Ocean. Addo markets itself as being home to the ”Big Seven”, namely the well known ”Big Five” together with the southern right whale and the great white shark, which both can be seen around the parks two islands. However the two large marine animals, together with the black rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard are a lot more difficult to see than the elephants. Addo does have a good population of zebra, the greater eland antelope, warthogs and baboons.

Amongst its birds, ostriches, secretary birds and South Africa’s national bird, the blue crane, are the most eye catching, while you can also find many, large leopard tortoises here. You can take part in driving safaris during the day and on guided tours during the night. Here it is also possible to go on both riding and walking tours in a botanical reserve, where the native flora is particularly beautiful.

Finally Addo offers some wonderful viewpoints as well as some good hides, from where you can observe the birds and animals at close range. The park is easy to reach along good asphalt roads circa 70 km north of Port Elizabeth and some 800 km east of Cape Town.


   •      Large park with a very beautiful and varied landscape, that is also home to the ”The Big Seven”!

   •      South Africa’s most dense population of elephants that are easy to see in the low vegetation

High season: September to April


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