When it comes to South Africa, one of its most iconic features is seeing The Big 5 at almost every province. I still need to do a few game drives in other South African National Parks (or SAN Parks, as we call them), but there is something really majestic about the one tucked just about an hour away from Port Elizabeth.
Addo Elephant National Park is one of South Africa’s 20 national parks and currently ranks as the 3rd largest one, after Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Apart from the animals you get to see here, there’s also a wide range of landscapes and biodiversity that you’ll see here.
For this particular trip with my family, we did a guided tour, where a guide takes you to the main spots that you are guaranteed to find game. The great thing about doing a tour like this is that you aren’t left driving over 1500 square kilometers to find game yourself. Our guide knew just where in the park to go, what to look out for, and shared useful information all along (like, did you know that a herd of zebras is called a ‘dazzle’?)
Of course, if roaming the park for hours on end in your car, taking your own leisurely time, is more your style, then spending around R82 per adult for the day (or R41 per child) if you are a South African citizen with an ID, is the price that you can expect to pay. Genuinely speaking, this makes for such a great day outing with the family.
Speaking of family, it was a good to see some herds of elephants at the park on this day. Of course, this is what you would naturally hope for at an elephant park, but we saw so many that I’m pretty convinced that elephants became my favourite land animal because of this trip.
There is a real sense of majesty when you find yourself in the presence of these gentle giants. Cooped up in our car, watching these animals from afar is a wonderful experience that I always enjoy at Addo. You can’t not be captivating by the way that these animals not only move but interact with one another. It was a particularly hot day when we were there, and so watching herds of elephants play about in the dam is something I couldn’t help but capture as best as I could with my Canon camera.
Being home to the Big 5, one would hope that seeing lions would be on the itinerary. While yes, we did see lions, we caught them in a time where they were too far for us to get close to, and were lying deep in the shadows of shade – away from the harsh heat of the morning (and also lounging from a hunt hours before we had arrived).
So while I may not have captured some lions on my camera, there were plenty of other wildlife to see – warthogs and bucks, birds and beetles. And of course, the various types of bush and flowers. I could share the many other images that I took on this day. But I’d rather you go and discover the gem that is Addo Elephant National Park. Explore and experience it for yourself. Enjoy the way that animals – big and small – come together in this ecosystem. And ultimately, don’t forget to snap a picture with the greatest animal of all.