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The Addo Elephant National Park at Port Elizabeth in South Africa gives you the feeling of being out of Africa and offers a rare opportunity to go safari and see big game in a malaria-free area. Since October 2003 the “Big 5” are back at the Addo. But that’s not all: the park is now the third largest in South Africa and in addition to the large land animals you can also see whales and the white shark. He is the only park in the world with the Big Seven!
The park was founded in 1931 and currently provides more than 600 elephants, buffalo, various antelope species and other animals a safe habitat. In 1995, the mountains, which are also home to leopards, were integrated into Addo Park.
The Addo Elephant Park is particularly interesting for tourists in the Western Cape, as it offers the next opportunity to observe on a safari some of the Big Five in a larger nature reserve. Visiting the park is a great way to combine safaris in the nearby private Game Reserves and a holiday along the Garden Route.
The approximately 180,000-acre Greater Addo Elephant Park is located in the Sundays River Valley, which is located approximately 70 kilometers north of Port Elizabeth in the district of Cacadu in the Eastern Cape.
This park is not only home to Addo Elephant Park, but also a number of other reserves between the Little Karoo and the Indian Ocean. A mix of shrubs, small trees and soil plants characterises the vegetation of Addo, but the area has much more to offer in terms of plants and animals. The park was originally set up to save the last eleven Cape-based elephants from ivory hunters. With success; There are now more than 450 elephants.
The enormous size of the park results from the fact that the Addo National Elephant Park was combined with other reserves in the area. As the expansion is still in full swing, it is difficult to say which parks will effectively belong and will be part of it in the future.
The Addo National Elephant Park was merged with the Woody Cape Nature Reserve (extending from the mouth of the Sunday River to Alexandria) and the Marine Reserve (which includes St. Croix Island and Bird Island). Incidentally, Bird Island has the world’s largest gannet colony, while St. Croix Island has the world’s second largest penguin colony (African penguins).
There are other reserves in the area such as the Lalibela Game Reserve, the Alexandria Conservation Area, the Groendal Wilderness Area, the Stinkhoutberg Nature Reserve and the Kariega Game Reserve. The two popular nature reserves Shamwari Game Reserve and the Amakhala Game Reserve are both located east of Addo.
On this enormous area there is so much to explore that you should stay there at least once. Alone, to hear the lions roaring at night. Each nature reserve offers so-called game drives or in part you can also explore the terrain with your own car. What makes the Greater Addo Elephant Park so unique is that it is the only nature reserve in the world that allows the “Big 7” – yes, really seven and not five – to live in their natural environment. Incidentally, the “Big 7” includes the elephant, the rhino, the lion, the buffalo, the leopard, the southern right whale family and the great white shark.
Plans to upgrade to the Greater Addo Elephant Park have been boosted by a study by scientists from Port Elizabeth University. As early as the early 1990s, land was purchased and now the park, including the Zuurberg and some coastal areas, has a size of 125,000 hectares. The Addo is the third largest park in South Africa. A big advantage is that the whole area is malaria free.
In October 2003, the first lions were brought to the park, shortly after again hyenas. By integrating the coastal region and the marine reserve in Algoa Bay, the National Park can advertise with the Big Seven. In addition to the traditional Big Five lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard now also includes the whale and shark.