Addo Elephant National Park
The focus of this Park is, of course, the over 600 elephant, but conservation of biodiversity is also of huge imporance.
Addo is situated approximately one hour north of Port Elizabeth, and about 90 minutes south of our base, Somerset East.
How did it all start?
In the early 1700's the area was teeming with game, but with the influx of people, and later agricultural expansion, conflict with the elephants was inevitable. In response to this, Major PJ Pretorius was tasked with shooting the remaining elephants in 1919. He shot 114 elephants between 1919 and 1920! His activities eventually generated publicity and sympathy for the elephants, prompting a halt to the killing when only 16 elephants remained. Some of these elephants took refuge on the lad of a sympathetic farmer, Mr JT Harvey.
The Addo Elephant National Park was proclaimed in 1931, with only 11 elephant remaining. Initially the elephants were fed oranges, hay, pumpkins, lucerne and pineapples in order to keep them within the boundaries of the Park. However, this feeding soon became a problem with signs of aggression and stress in the elephants, and a feeding frenzy when the oranges arrived. This is why you are still advised not to take oranges into the Park!
The Park was only officially opened to tourists in 1978. Since then the development has been incredible, and the area of the park has increased to 178 000ha. There are now over 600 elephants in the Park.
Other animals in the Park
But the Park is not just about Elephants. With the expansion, it now includes a section of coast line, and is the only Park in the world that boasts the "Big Seven" - Lion, Leopard, Rhinoceros, Buffalo, Elephant, Southern Right Wales & Great White Sharks.
The Park boasts many other African wildlife species, and even if you don't see the elephants, which believe us, is possible, those will be the times that the endangered Flightless Ding Beetle will show itself, or you'll spot the Spotted Hyena or Leopard Tortoise. Warthog are abundant in the Park, as are the Burchell's Zebra, and whilst the lion are not impossible to find, they do try to make it a bit challenging for you!
Book an outing to the Park, or add it to your tour when you build your own: Addo Elephant National Park