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ADDO Elephant Park - Eastern Cape, South Africa


Ayesha Cantor

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Ayesha Cantor

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We have been wanting to get to Addo again for ages but 'life' just kept getting in the way. I planned on getting the family to the gate for opening time, no mean feat as it's still quite dark and jolly freezing.

From the get go it promised to be an awesome day, amazing sunrise welcomed us to the park !

 

We entered through the new Matyholweni Gate, recently opened to allow elephant and lion to cross over from the old section of Addo. The vegetation is very dense and high in the new section, making for difficult game spotting, however it is so stunningly beautiful, the spekboom tall and vivid green. Windows open to the bird sounds, crisp clean bush air, early morning sun hardly warm but getting there...

 

Crossing over from the new section into the old we gasped out loud at the sight of beautiful male lion, in the road, unfortunately, another car raced right up to him from the other direction making him jump up and streak into the bush. We reversed a way to see if we could spot where he had gone and saw another male, right next to the road, a little tucked away....he was non plussed and allowed us to snap away to our hearts content. Addo fundi friends later id'd them as two fairly young males, one being Rob 3/4 years old.

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We had decided to make our way directly to the main rest camp, in the past we did all the loops only to find everything was on the main drag ( geez ! )Should we have no luck we would do the loops on the return trip. Sodds Law, not a single Elephant to be seen the entire drive through.

However we did get to see, amongst others, a most majestic Kudu Bull. Very shy, kept moving further up the road from us but we slowly followed till he stood, for just a few seconds, long enough to get just one click in !

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Shortly therafter, up on a hill, with the beautiful crisp blue sky behind him, a Secretary Bird. I'm told we where very lucky to see him, birders have not seen many in Addo. We saw another two on our return leg...the gods where smiling on us this day:)

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A lovely big herd of Buffalo crossed the road right in front of us, the male staring at us balefully making sure we did not make any unexpected moves.

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Just before entering the rest camp, we spotted an ellie in the distance but seemed to be making his way towards us. Seeing as how this was the first elephant we had seen we switched off and waited, enjoying the browsing, rumbling, scuffling sounds. He did, eventually, cross the road right behind us, what a thrill ! Rumbling tummies within the vehicle forced the move to find a spot to eat in the rest camp.

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Our Elephant luck was about to change....BIG TIME :)

 

After a light brunch, quick browse through the shop ( the prices,Joh ! )a peak into the Museum and Info centre ( saddly looking a tad worse for wear with many blank spaces ) we headed back into the park, eager to see at least one of the famed big herds of elephant. First stop, fingers crossed, Gwarrie Dam....Hello.....A HUGE herd making it's way helter skelter towards the dam !

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Engines off, multiple lenses out the windows, much oohing & aahing, all the while big goofy grins plastered on our faces. They just kept on coming, up over the hill, through the spekboom, lumbering down to the water, slurping, splashing, splattering, rumbling, blowing....a feast for the eyes !

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Onwards to Rooidam, just Elephants still a comin' and making their way towards the Gwarrie dam and the rest of their herd.... Awesome, awesome day...THIS is what it's all about. No wonder people come from afar to see and spend time with these stately, majestic creatures.

 

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Noticible absent where the Flightless Dung Beetles, we found only one on our entire trip, with no dung ball. Wondering if the cold plays a role.....

 

We where lucky to find 2 jackal a short distance from one another, looking so well. The jackal we saw a few months ago looked so dull and lethargic, we later heard that the poor things are plagued by a mange mite and that Parks are letting nature take its course. Not so sure I agree with that......

 

Heading out, in the new section of Addo again, we saw the tusks in the sunlight before we saw the elephant !

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Again, an Addo fundi friend later told us that this is 'Vali Moosah' a bull imported to Addo from the Kruger park. What a sighting, could not believe our eyes...Addo elephants are known for their small tusks or mostly lack of tusks so this was an amazing treat.

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All in all, a most rewarding and fabulous day out. Can highly recommend it :)

 

Ain't Africa Awesome !

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Edited by Ayesha Cantor
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twaffle

Lovely report, really got the feeling of the place and some great photos to go with it. Wish I lived close enough to any park to take a day off and go for a drive. :(

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Bugs

Thanks for the report Ayesha. Many people don't realize just how good Addo can be. Nice tusker and huge Kudu as well.

 

Great photos.

 

And yes; we are so fortunate to live here. SA is awesome.

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Harshad Barve

Lovely images , specially elephants , thanks for sharing

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