Addo incorporates the largest coastal dune field in the southern hemisphere The park contains elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, southern right whale and great white shark within its perimeter The Addo Elephant National Park also protects the world’s largest Cape gannet breeding population on Bird Island

Addo Elephant Park

The Addo Elephant National Park was proclaimed in 1931 to save the Eastern Cape Elephant and Cape Buffalo from extinction. From only 16 elephants, the park is now home to over 550, and offers an unbeatable opportunity to view these animals in their natural habitat.

The park is also home to the Cape buffalo, black rhino, a variety of antelope species, as well as the unique flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo.

Stretching from the semi-arid karoo area in the north around Darlington Dam, over the rugged Zuurberg Mountains, through the Sundays River valley and south to the coast between Sundays River mouth and Bushman’s river mouth, Addo covers about 180 000 hectares (444 700 acres) and includes the Bird and St Croix Island groups.The Addo bush also offers sanctuary to a large variety of birds (185 species) and is situated 72km north of Port Elizabeth near the Zuurberg Mountain Range and offers guided or self-drive options and accommodation.

The park plans include the proposed proclamation of a 120 000 ha (296 500 acre) marine reserve that includes islands that are home to the world’s largest breeding populations of Cape gannets and the second largest breeding population of African penguins.

The park contributes to the conservation of the endangered black rhino with over 48 of these animals occurring here. The over 400 Cape buffalo are now being seen more often during the day due to the influence of lion reintroduction. This is one of the largest disease-free herds in South Africa.

Six lions were introduced into the park in late 2003 and have adapted well to their new environment. Lions are most often seen in the early morning or on sunset and night drives. Spotted hyenas were also reintroduced in 2003, fulfilling the same role as lions in restoring the natural balance to the ecosystems in the park by controlling the numbers of herbivores. Leopard are very seldom seen, being shy and secretive animals, but do occur in most areas of the expanded park.

Antelope species abundant in the main game area of the park include red hartebeest, eland, kudu and bushbuck. The Burchell’s zebra, many with the pale rumps reminiscent of the extinct qwagga, occur in the park. Warthogs are abundant.

The rare flightless dung beetle is king of the road in Addo, with signs warning visitor that this recycling machine has right of way. The beetles are only seen when conditions are not too hot and not too cold and play an important role in recycling nutrients and helping the growth of thicket vegetation.

Addo Elephant National Park seeks to be fully integrated into the regional landscape, conserves and enhances the characteristic terrestrial and marine biodiversity, ecological processes and cultural, historical and scenic resources representative of the Eastern Cape region for the appreciation, and benefit of present and future generations.Read more:



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