EASTERN CAPE » ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK
Deep within the shadows of the dense valley bushveld of the Eastern Cape’s Sundays River region lays the Addo Elephant National Park. Here, the evenings are punctuated by the strident howl of the black-backed jackal and the francolins’ call heralds each new dawn. Safe from relentless persecution in the past, the grey giants of the bush now roam in peace. The original elephant section of the park was proclaimed in 1931, when only eleven elephants remained in the area. Today this finely tuned ecosystem is a sanctuary to over 450 elephants, Cape buffalo, lion, black rhino, a variety of antelope species, as well as the unique flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo.
The Addo Elephant Nationa Park offers some of the most spectacular elephant viewing in the world. Addo’s over 600 elephants will delight visitors with their antics. The over 400 Cape buffalo are now being seen more often during the day due to the influence of lion reintroduction. This is one of the largest disease-free herds in South Africa. Six lions were introduced into the Park in late 2003 and have adapted well to their new environment. Lions are most often seen in the early morning or on sunset and night drives. Spotted hyenas were also reintroduced in 2003, fulfilling the same role as lions in restoring the natural balance to the ecosystems in the Park by controlling the numbers of herbivores. Leopard are very seldom seen, being shy and secretive animals, but do occur in most areas of the expanded Park. Antelope species abundant in the main game area of the Park include red hartebeest, eland, kudu and bushbuck. The Burchell’s zebra, many with the pale rumps reminiscent of the extinct qwagga, occur in the Park.