Fortunately our B&B host was very familiar with Addo National Park and the surrounding area. At Sunday morning breakfast, she gave us a great plan of attack for seeing the park, and hopefully, the elephants it is known for. We grabbed some provisions and started toward the park’s south entrance. Despite minimal signage, we stumbled onto the gate, paid our entry fee, and were on our way. This part of Addo has one main road that runs more or less north to south, with various loop roads off to the sides. Our plan was to drive several of the loops and hope for good wildlife sightings.
We found the first loop not knowing what to expect. First we encountered a pair of ugly but strangely endearing warthogs along the side of the road. We’d soon find that they are common here. Later we saw a whole family.
Next a kudu, a very large antelope, crossed the road in front of us. This was pretty exciting and we were feeling quite satisfied. But before long, the first elephant appeared by the side of the road!!! It’s one thing to see an elephant in the zoo, quite another to see one just 50 meters away along the road with no one else around! Slowly this fellow moved deeper into the bush and we were able to pass. Addo was really showing us the goods!!
On subsequent loops we saw more kudu, red hartebeest, eland, zebra, ostrich, warthogs, big leopard tortoises, and two more solitary elephants. But then… the motherlode!! We rounded a bend and encountered dozens of elephants, of all sizes. They were very close to the road, and mostly grazing slowly, while a few juveniles jousted. We enjoyed the scene for while, but then proceeded around a bend, where even more giant fellows were frolicking at a water hole. A few decided to cross the road here, and we were really able to appreciate their size and presence as they neared some other cars.
The action stops because it appears that we’re about to be attacked by this aggressive little guy! He turned away the last minute, though, and we breathed massive sighs of relief!!
We had a little more time and tried to find lions and Cape buffalo, but didn’t have any luck. We did see a black jackal at a watering hole, though.