ADDO ELEPHANT PARK
Established in 1931 to save a handful of elephants, the Addo Elephant National park now conserves so much more-the unique biodiversity of the Eastern Cape region, including what was known as the “Big Five”but which is now known as the “Big 7”
The park is situated a half hour’s drive from the beachfront of Port Elizabeth and has expanded greatly to accommodate the ever-growing influx of tourists to South Africa who are keen to explore the Garden Route of South Africa and the diversity of wild life.
Since the year 2000, the park has expanded from its hub near the town of Addo to incorporate vital conservation areas, including the marine and coastal element.
From the semi-arid Nama-Karoo surrounding the vast Darlington lake, the Park stretches across the breathtaking Zuurberg mountains with its fynbos and grasslands, the through the dense valley bushveld of the Sundays River Valley to the lush green indigenous forests at Woody Cape near Alexandria. These forests hug the large coastal dune fields in the Southern Hemisphere, overlooking the Park’s marine area at Bird Island & St.Croix Island, where dolphins frolic in the waters of the Indian Ocean.
Visitors to the Park can explore the wildlife areas at their own leisure in their own vehicles, with or without hop-on guides, or take a guided game drive or a horse trail. A 4X4 trail traverses a historic route over the Zuurberg Mountains and a variety of hiking trails are on offer, including the two-day Alexandria trail along the coastline.
The Park offers a wide variety of self-catering accommodation in the Camp Matyholweni- situated only 40kms from Port Elizabeth of the N2- and in the Addo Rest Camp off the R335.
Five-Star lodges spread throughout the Park and cater for those who prefer a luxurious stay.
A multitude of wildlife species and abundant bird life can be spotted in the Park, including Addo elephants, lions, black rhinos, buffalo, leopards, hyenas, zebra, a wide variety of antelope species and the antique flightless dung beetle which has right of way on the roads. The Great White Shark and seasonal Southern Right Whale in the marine area complete the Big 7.
TEXT: San Parks
PHOTOGRAPHS: Johan Buys Fotofirst, Jeffreys Bay
Port Elizabeth hosted the first cricket test played in South Africa which was against England in 1889.
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3 October 2012 7:51