Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

posted Dec 14, 2010, 9:33 PM by Darren Cannell   [ updated Dec 17, 2010, 11:20 PM ]
We flew from Joburg to Port Elizabeth so that we could begin the famous Garden Route drive and see Addo. Addo Elephant Park was an unbelievable experience that we all had.  Addo has one of the largest concentrations of elephant populations on planet earth and it is spectacular to see the antics of the elephants in their daily lives.  We did a self-drive safari again because then we can control what we do and what we see not to mention how much less expensive it is.  We saw lone bulls and whole herds of elephants.  The largest being over 50 and it is intimidating when they are all moving towards you as a group, thank goodness for the gas acceleration on the car.  We were driving along and we came across a herd of 20 -30 moving across the road so we just stopped and watched babies and their moms meander across the road with only one care and that is the constant predator watch to protect their young.  Darren got me so close to the one that came up my side of the car that I just gasped and held my breath as he walked up the side of the car to the front and looked at us and kept walking.  We later came across a watering hole and it was exactly as you think it would look like with various animals coming up for a cool much needed drink.  There were the bully elephants and the goofy ones and the protective ones and the gluttons and the playful to watch.  One baby elephant ran from afar to the watering hole and away from his mom right up to another group of elephants currently drinking and we thought that there might be a territorial fight but there wasn’t, one female trumpeted loudly, I guess to say hello to the newcomers but it was something to see.

At Addo there are not only elephants but about 40 other animal varieties to view as well.  At the watering hole we watched the elephants chase away the frisky warthogs by spraying them with their trunks or just by making a movement towards them.  The warthogs are ugly as sin but they are quite endearing and fun to watch.  They are always chasing each other or another animal or stomping around and being a general nuisance.  They all bend their legs to get lower to drink the water; it is very strange to see.  Only one warthog did not do this strange looking bend and he happened to be the biggest one.  He was missing one tusk and had battle wounds so we thought her was the main kingpin. 
We stayed at this one watering hole for over an hour because it was an extremely active hole.  Zebras were coming and going.   A whole herd came in and they waited until all of the elephants drank and left and even the studs did not interfere with the elephants water.  The baby zebras are just gorgeous with their big eyes and lashes and their dainty ways.  There were a few that were still suckling too.  We even got to see one of the studs servicing one of his mares.  They usually have around 5 mares to their harem.  It was definitely mating season at the game reserves because we saw allot of babies being made.  Dax wanted to see the elephants mating because he said he “wanted to see them crush each other”.

The black backed jackal was really cute and there were whole families of these animals creeping around the watering hole trying to sneak in and catch a drink.  They never did get one while we watched they seemed very shy.

We saw the Elands coming closer to the hole but never did make it for a drink while we were there.  We were in our car and all of the animals did not give us a care in the world and walked extremely close to our car and it is a bit unnerving when the zebras and elephants and lions walk by or run by.  We saw more lions in the brush but it was not as exciting as the time at Kruger when we were right beside them.  There were many Ostriches  and Red Harta-beest which is the South Arican animal symbolized on the National Park signs.  Kudu with their curly horns are unusual looking and we saw many of them.  Velvet monkeys are cute and playful and they were all over.  The Leopard Tortoise is everywhere and they have right of way just like the Flightless Dung Beetle and they are all interesting to watch cross the road and even buses stop for them during their long and tedious crossing.  There were tons of brightly coloured birds too numerous to mention.  It was an amazing day and I would love to do it again.