Ideally located immediately opposite the entrance gates to Addo Elephant National Park Main Camp gates, is the privately run, Five Star, River Bend Lodge. Set in a 14,000 ha private concession within the greater Addo Elephant National Park, from this venue one is able to experience Addo in superb luxury.
The Addo Elephant National Park is South Africa’s 3rd largest National Park – originally proclaimed in 1931, in desperation to save the last remaining cape Elephant, with possibly only 11 of these large pachyderms left in that area. What a success story. There are now in excess of 500 and in order to broaden their genetic diversity, some bulls from the Kruger National Park have relatively recently been introduced. With the decimation of the elephant herds in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, with primarily the larger tuskers being sought after, those remaining genetically produce progeny with smaller tusks whilst some have none. So with these new Kruger Park elephant’s genes, the genetics could in time return to normal. This is the same species Loxodonta africana we all know and love, as the genetics were originally modified by man’s intervention, I believe this to be a sensible and acceptable correction of the malady.
One of the Kruger Park bulls
Other animals have also been brought back to Addo from local extinction, one of the most significant being the African lion – Pantera pardus, thus escalating the Park to Big Five status, almost a prerequisite for international guests. So convenient too, no need now for those wishing to only visit the Cape to have to travel further. The area is slowly getting back to what it must have been like before man’s destruction of the wildlife.
The Park is presently 180,000 ha with plans to enlarge the protected area to 264,000 ha progressing well. This Greater Addo area includes St Croix and Bird Islands, just off the coast, these islands host the largest breeding colony of the Cape Gannet and second largest breeding colony of African Penguin. With this diversity of biomes in the area, with hosting the Big 7, elephant, rhino (both black and white) lion, leopard, buffalo, whales and the great white shark and then a very large diversity of antelope species as well, the Addo area has become a rewarding wildlife destination. Some specials too and some very threatened, such as the Addo flightless dung beetle ! Beyond Addo there are a number of Private Game Parks, many already removing the dividing fences from neighboring properties and creating a vast protected area, a huge plus for biodiversity ..and the area is Malaria free too !!