ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK.
Addo Elephant National Park is a diverse wildlife conservation park situated close to Gqeberha in South Africa and is one of the country’s 20 national parks. It currently ranks third in size after Kruger National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
History of Addo Elephant National Park.
The origin of the section of the park was founded in 1931, in part due to the efforts of Sydney Skaffe, in order to provide a sanctuary for the eleven remaining elephants in the area. The park has proved to be very successful and currently houses more than 600 elephants and large number of the mammals. The original park has subsequently been expanded to include the Woody Cape Nature Reserve that extends from the Sundays River mouth towards Alexandria and a marine reserve, which includes St. Croix Island and Bird Island, both breeding habitat for gannets and penguins, not to mention a large variety of other marine life. Bird Island is home to the world’s largest breeding colony of gannets – about 120,000 birds – and also hosts the second largest breeding colony of African penguins, the largest breeding colony being St. Croix island. These marine assets form part of the plan to expand the 1,640 km² Addo National Elephant Park into the 3,600 km² Greater Addo Elephant National Park.
The expansion will mean not only that the park contains five of South Africa’s seven major vegetation zones (biomes), but also that it will be the only park in the world to house Africa’s “Big 7“(elephant, rhinoceros, lion, buffalo, leopard, whale and great white shark) in their natural habitat
Flora and Fauna.
The flora within the AENP is quite varied, and like all plant life, is a central factor to the ecological system in place. Several species of rare and endemic plants, particularly succulent shrubs and geophytes are native to the South African region within the AENP. Many species are under environmental pressure, however, and are facing possible extinction.
The park is home to more than 600 elephants, 400 Cape buffaloes, over 48 endangered black rhinos as well as a variety of antelope species. Lion and spotted hyena have also recently been re-introduced to the area. The largest remaining population of the flightless dung beetle is located within the park.
The African Bush Elephant is the largest mammal on land reaching heights of 13 feet (3.96 m). The male and female elephants both display tusks. This is the same species found in Kruger National Park.
They can weigh as much as 11.7 short tons. Female elephants will be between 1 to 2 feet (0.30 to 0.61 m) shorter than their male counterparts. The ears are pointed and present like a triangle and can reach lengths of 6.6 feet (2 m).
The trunk is comprised of between 40 to 60,000 muscles which allow it to pick up as much as 3% of their body weight. The trunk is used for delivering food and water to the mouth. The tusks of male elephants can weigh as much as 240 pounds (109 kg) while female tusks will weigh about 1/6 of that.
ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK TRAILS.
he majority of activity in Addo Elephant national park is directed at guided safaris. However, there are a couple of hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the park. There are also guided walking safaris which provide another opportunity to enjoy the outdoors will be hoping to see wildlife.
Zuurberg Hiking Trail
This is a modern rated loop trail that travels a circumference of 7.0 miles (11. 27kilometers) while ascending 1,443feet (439.83). the trail crosses rugged terrain while delivering views of the surrounding area. there is a limited chance to see wildlife.
Alexandria Hiking Trail
This is a 1988-mile(32km) trail that takes two days to complete. The trail does require that three people travel together. The trail meanders through the woody Cape portion of the national park. You must carry in your own gear and recommendations are that people be in good physical condition before embarking on this endeavor
Two major environmental issues facing the AENP. Extinction and overpopulation, which are interrelated. Since the AENP’s original mission was to reintroduce certain mega-herbivores, like the Africa Elephant and black Rhinoceros, primary ecological efforts, were made to preserve mammalian species. However, by overlooking the other contributors to this environmental chain, certain plant species have been subjected to overgrazing and trampling, mostly by the elephants of the park. This overgrazing and trampling not only destroys much of the plant life, but also forces it to adapt its physiology to stimuli that are not inherent to its evolutionary progress. Some biologists argue that it is not herbivorization alone that is threatening the flora, but a number of other ecological factors including zootomy and nutrient cycling. Up to 77 species of South African endemic plant species have been listed as “vulnerable to elephant browsing.”
Marine protected areas
The Addo Elephant National Park Marine Protected Area and Bird Island Marine Protected Area are associated with the park
In 2018 the visitor count in the park’s 87-year history was recorded. The park received 305510 visitors between
In 2018 the highest visitors count in the park’s 87-year history was recorded. The park received 305,510 visitors between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018 up from 265,585 in the previous year. International visitors make up 55% of its number of the visitors per year with German, Dutch and British nationals in the majority.
This is a main camp, featuring a swimming pool, restaurant, flood lit water hole and various accommodation, four camps run by concessionaries. The main entrance as well as two looped tourist roads in the park are tarred while the others are graveled. There is also an additional access road through the southern block of the park feeding off the highway near the Colchester, it joins up with the existing tourist roads in the park.
Accommodation at Addo Elephant National Park.
The Addo Elephant National Park is one of the Eastern Cape’s major drawcards as it is home to the densest elephant populations in the world. Set deep within the bushveld of the Sundays River Valley region of South Africa, here visitors can enjoy thrilling Big Five game viewing, guaranteed elephant sightings, an amazing variety of plains game and antelope, and even whale watching on the Indian Ocean. Stretching from the semi-arid Karoo in the north, over the Zuurberg Mountains and crisscrossing the Eastern Cape’s lush citrus growing valley, the Addo Elephant National Park includes Bird Island and St Croix Island, encompassing an immense wealth of land and seascape for visitors to explore.
Besides the presence of over 600 elephants, the park hosts lion, leopard, cheetah and rhino as well as iconic African plains game such as kudu, springbok and impala, found in good concentrations. Other wildlife commonly sighted include zebra, giraffe and warthog, while the park’s well marked gravel roads lend themselves to easy and enjoyable self-driving safaris and day trips.
Guided game drives are also offered and ideal for non-South African guests, as well-informed professional rangers assist visitors in identifying wildlife, birds and indigenous plants. Self-driving options only extend during daylight hours, however guided 4 x 4 drives are available into the night, when a spotlight illuminates the dark African bushland and the magic of nocturnal life comes alive.
Boat cruises round off the fabulous offerings of Addo, taking visitors out into the Indian Ocean for whale watching (seasonal); great white shark sightings; and trips to the African penguins and Cape fur seals that inhabit St Croix and Bird islands.
Spending a few nights in Addo is highly recommended as the immense size of the park (approximately 180 000 hectares) lends itself to lengthy exploration. Accommodation is plentiful and varied, covering all budgets and tastes with rustic camp sites immersing guests into the African wilderness, and luxury lodges offering gourmet meals and great South African wines in a stylish and contemporary setting.
In the heart of Addo visitors will find the tourist information centre where day trippers and self-drive safari visitors can pick up maps of the park and information on the most recent predator sightings. There is also a restaurant, souvenir shop, and interesting history of the park to peruse.
The Addo National Elephant Park is a malaria-free zone and conveniently located close to Port Elizabeth and the Port Elizabeth airport where overseas holiday makers can organize car rentals or meet and greet with their tour groups.
Lying at the entrance to South Africa’s renowned Garden Route, Addo is also the perfect location to begin or end a travel itinerary that includes Eastern Cape highlights and the hidden gems of the Western Cape, culminating in the mother city of Cape Town.
Activities in Addo Elephant National Park.
Self-drive safaris (no additional charge to visitors staying in Addo)
Guided morning and afternoon open-air game drives
Guided night drives with a spotlight
Photography (well-placed hides)
Guided horseback safaris in the park
Sundowners in the bushland (prior arrangement necessary)
Deep sea expeditions.