F rom its humble beginnings in 1931, Addo Elephant National Park has grown into one of South Africa’s most ambitious conservation projects. The park is situated in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa and the ideal destination for wildlife safaris, family holidays and romantic getaways.
Addo is South Africa’s third largest national park at 180 000 hectares, and the recent addition of a long stretch of coastline stretching all the way to the Bushman’s River includes massive dune fields adding significantly to the park’s ecological diversity. It includes six of South Africa’s seven biomes – from the vast open spaces of the Karoo to rolling hills covered in fynbos, thicket and sloping sand dunes flanking the coastline. With the inclusion of marine areas the park now boasts the Big 7: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo, southern right whale and great white shark.
The below video will give you a taste of what Addo has to offer.
History of Addo
Today, Addo Elephant National Park is home to the densest populations of African elephant in the world. The area boasts a carrying capacity incomparable to any other wilderness region. But it wasn’t always like this – Addo and the surrounding region endured dark times during the early 20th century when the once-widespread elephant population was hunted to near extinction due to the ivory trade and agricultural activities that encroached into the natural habitat of wildlife. The elephants had a penchant for oranges in particular and raided the local farmers citrus crops. To combat the ‘problem’ the Administrator of the Cape Province, Sir Frederick de Waal employed hunters to exterminate the elephants. A professional hunter, Major P.J. Pretorius, was especially destructive by killing 120 elephants in his first 11 months in the area. It is journalled that he once shot 16 elephants in 30 seconds.
When the elephant population reached a critical number of only 11 individuals things started to change. Due to public pressure a reserve was allocated and in 1931 the national park was proclaimed. The elephant survived in an unfenced area of around 2000 hectares. Only in 1951 the park was fenced and the elephant-human conflict stopped. The population grew steadily, but due to the low numbers the genetic pool was too small and most of the females were tuskless. The National Parks Board then decided to introduce a number of elephant bulls from Kruger National Park. But the results took a bit longer than planned as the new bulls quickly formed their own herd and didn’t integrate with the local population. The theory according to the local rangers is that the new bulls didn’t speak the same dialect and it took some time for the new-comers to find their place in the Addo family.
Map of Addo
The below map shows the main wildlife area of Addo Elephant National Park with the two camps – Addo Main Camp in the north and Camp Matyholweni in the south.
Visitors to Addo
Article source: http://thesafaricompany.co.za/travelblog/?p=1657