A Life-Altering Adventure at Addo Elephant Park
Under cloudy skies this morning, Silversea’s intimate Silver Wind glided silently into the port for Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Founded in 1820 to house British settlers, Port Elizabeth is now a part of the much-broader Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, which has an approximate population of over 1.3 million inhabitants.
Today, I would be bypassing Port Elizabeth altogether, opting instead to take part in a Silversea shore excursion to the world-renowned Addo Elephant Park.
I made a conscious effort before even coming on this voyage to take part in as many different Safari excursions as possible. To my mind, the whole point of travelling halfway around the world is to immerse yourself fully in experiences that simply do not exist anywhere else.
As usual, disembarking the Silver Wind this morning was a snap. Complementary bottled water was available at the gangway, and the motorcoaches were waiting inside the terminal building to take us on our respective ship-sponsored tours. Some of the other exciting options available here today included an 8-hour visit to the Big 5 Pumba Game Reserve; a Fly-In Elephant Back Safari; and a 2.5 hour city tour of Port Elizabeth.
The journey to the Addo Elepant National Park took roughly one hour each way, and I took the opportunity to listen to the Lion King soundtrack on my iPod to prepare myself. Addo is the only park in the world that is home to Big 7 Game: the Lion, Leopard, Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Rhinoceros, Southern Right Whale and the Great White Shark. If “Big 7” sounds like a hunting term, it is: both “Big 7” and “Big Five” (the same as Big 7, but with the removal of the two aquatic mammals) were derived from the days when people would go to hunt “Big Game.”
On the way over, I realized I didn’t have a clue what constituted a safari experience. Would animals come right