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Day 82: Addo

Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape South Africa

When we told friends and family about our plan to travel to South Africa many asked if we would have a chance to see any of “the big 5” animals. Our response was always no. Rocklands was in the Western Cape. The large animals (elephant, lion, buffalo, rhino, leopard, etc.) were in the Eastern and Northern Capes. It seemed such a shame to come all this way and not see any of the animals. But, thanks to my busted up knee our trip took a turn for the better (not the worse).

After driving nearly 1000km to J-Bay in the Eastern Cape I wondered how far we actually were from the nearest opportunity to see some BIG animals. Turns out, J-Bay is only 2 hours from Addo Elephant National Park. Perfect, we’re going.

We had no idea what to expect. I thought we’d arrive in the park and have to board some kind of open-top range rover which would give us a guided tour. Instead when we arrived at the gate the guard asked us if we would like a “hop-on-ranger” to ride along with us. I asked, “Does he drive the car for us?” The guard laughed and said, “No, you drive.” I laughed too and said, “We’ll take our chances, by ourselves.”

It turned out to be a good decision. Once you enter the “main camp” area you can drive yourself on any of the dirt roads throughout the national park wilderness. There is a map of the park that you can view near the gift shop which indicates where certain animals have been seen throughout the day. I quickly glanced at it and saw one vista in which lions, elephants and buffalo had been sighted. April and I got out our map and gunned it for “Carol’s Rest.”

At Carol’s Rest we were astonished to see elephants, warthogs and buffalo drinking out of a watering hole meters from a parked car! We pulled up next to the car and sat for several minutes watching the scene. The engine of our Volkswagon Chico was motoring a bit loud and the fan would turn on and off. So I decided to shut it off. Silence.

After about 30 seconds in silence we heard and saw the two largest elephants, with huge tusks bang their heads together. Apparently one wanted all the water for her clan and wanted the male to leave. April and I were both amazed. We were witnessing ‘Planet Earth’ at it’s finest. Then…the big boy, defeated by the big girl, turned our direction. He was obviously not happy. After he took the first step in our direction I heard the car next to us start up. Time to ditch this place and be out.

Big boy coming our way

Elephants are not the only animals at Addo. Here is our complete tick list of sightings:

* Elephant
* Buffalo
* Kudu
* Red Hartebeest
* Warthog
* Common Duiker
* Leopard Tortoise
* Caracal / Rooikat
* Vervet Monkey
* Black-backed Jackal
* Meerkat / Suricate
* Ostrich


Leopard Tortoise

Red Hartebeest


posted by pjv

This entry (Permalink) was posted on Friday, September 5th, 2008 at 7:27 am and is filed under Bouldering, Rocklands-South Africa. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response , or trackback from your own site.

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