Addo Elephant National Park in Spring
Addo in the Spring. The flowers are out in the Karoo.
A two night visit to the second largest National Park in South Africa about 300 km from East London was a delight. With summer approaching we packed out tents and trailer and headed down the coast to visit the Addo Elephant National Park. Some years ago we took our daughter and grandson Zac to the park for a similar visit and it was now time to do a revisit.
The Karoo vegetation was out in splendor with fields of yellow and purple flowers enjoying a backdrop of green mixed bush that provides ample food for the large herds of Elephants that roam here. Some large Kruger National Park bull elephants have recently been introduced to enrich the breeding population. The park is also important in that it has a large herd of Cape Buffalo, animals endangered in other parks because of bovine illnesses.
The Zebra looked particularly beautiful against the background of green and yellow. We saw at least 20 Tortoises and a good selection of raptors. Even in our campsite we listed at least 20 different birds that have become very confiding as they approach the human visitors to collect the odd scraps that fall on the ground.
One of the big plusses is a very child friendly swimming pool where one can escape the heat of the day in the cool water. Our grandson when asked what the best thing about the visit answered without hesitation, “the swimming pool”.
One advantage about camping, rather than staying in the luxury air conditioned huts, is that one hears the many animal sounds at night. A large Porcupine roams the campground at night and we saw him again during this visit. Last night we heard Lions, Jackal and Elephant sounds that seemed really nearby. This morning we were told that a pride of lines had caught a baby elephant during the night near the camp and then dragged it to a nearby waterhole to enjoy their meal. The circling Vultures were evidence of the kill. We decided that we were glad we did not witness this rather heartbreaking affair, but at the same time also realized that this is part of the balance of nature.
Situated about 80km from Port Elizabeth and 300 km from East London this National Park has the advantage that it falls within the malaria free area of South Africa.
The main camp had a great swimming pool, shop and restaurant and a visitors centre that provides interesting information on wild life and also on early human habitation in the area. An underground hide is a great place to spend some time. With a bird list of over 300 one can expect to see over 100 birds even in a short visit. Some of the beautiful bush living birds will even come and visit you in your campsite.