What Is Addo Elephant National Park?

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  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2019
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Addo Elephant National Park is located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The area incorporates a variety of terrain including arrid land, mountains, coastal regions, and river regions. Since it was founded in 1931, the park has been enlarged to include a marine reserve as well as land that extends near the Sundays River. In addition to elephants, the park is also home to other members of the “Big Five” — leopards, lions, rhinos and cape buffalos — as well as numerous other animals. There are a variety of ways to view and enjoy the animals at Addo Elephant National Park, which is an important sanctuary for endangered species.

Located near Port Elizabeth in South Africa, Addo Elephant National Park opened in 1931 with a mere 16 elephants that were fed oranges by park keepers during drought season. As of 2011 the park has a reported population of around 450 elephants. Some elephants that have developed a taste for citrus fruit have been reported to reach their trunks into open vehicles when they smell fruit. Addo Elephant National Park allows no citrus fruit within game viewing areas due to the elephants’ taste for fruit.


The African elephant is of course the major attraction at Addo Elephant National Park, but big cats and rhinos can be seen too. The park has a number of species of antelope and is also home to cape buffalo, zebras, hyenas and baboons. Since the addition of a marine reserve the park now boasts viewing access to dolphins, whales and great white sharks, although visitors will certainly want to avoid close contact with the latter.

Tourist activities at Addo Elephant National Park include guided game drives, walking tours, horseback riding, hiking and bird watching. There are two camps located within the park and a number of overnight accommodations outside of the park’s perimeter. The park has a swimming pool for use by overnight guests located at the campsites as well as one restaurant at the main campsite.

Addo Elephant National Park is the third largest park in South Africa and its vision is to conserve and enhance land and marine animal diversity. The park is an important sanctuary for a number of animals, including the African elephant. These elephants have been hunted for years for their ivory and according to recent reports, a Chinese market for ivory has increased elephant poaching activities. The African penguin, which is also on the endangered species list, lives in the park as well.


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Post 6

@kentuckycat - I totally agree. I doubt there are very few places in the world where you can view both big game animals as well as very large marine mammals in the same park.

I find it quite surprising that a park in Africa would include a marina, then again it should really come to no surprise considering Africa is nearly surrounded entirely by water.

I also will have to say that I guarantee that people do not think of penguins when they say they are going to visit Africa with intentions of viewing the native animals. This was something that was very surprising to me and I really want to go there just to see how common the penguins are in Africa.

Post 5

@jcraig - Exactly! Considering that the "Big Five" animals are there I highly doubt they let people wander the park too much.

I will have to say I am very surprised at the wide variety of animals that call the park home. Not only do they have the Big Five, but they also have a marina where visitors can enjoy the beauties of the ocean, something that one does not usually think of when they think of Africa.

I have to say that it would be very interesting to visit Africa and say you saw whales as well as elephants not too far away. This I think would allow one to view all of the animals of Africa and not just the ones that people think of when they associate the entire continent of Africa with just the interior portions.

Post 4

@Emilski - Well since the park does not allow something simple, like fruit in, it seems like that it has been a problem in the past and they do this ban on fruit to protect the visitors to the park.

As far as protecting the visitors go, I would have to say that the tours and walks are probably not as open as you think as it does say there are big cats in the park and to be totally honest, even something like an antelope can do a lot of damage to a person and I doubt they really let visitors travel much on their own throughout the park.

I am sure that although they make it seem like an African safari in reality the visitors to the park, taking those tours are pretty safe as long as they do not wander off of the trail.

Post 3

I have to say I do find it quite interesting that the elephants are not afraid to walk right up to cars and steal fruit from the visitors to the site.

I would have to say I would be a little freaked out if I were to see a big large multi ton elephant coming towards me, even if all it wants is my apple.

That being said I am assuming that this national park is a place that is fairly open as far as where visitors travel to and can really wander around. I am wondering exactly how they keep the tourist safe from the large animals?

Even though the elephant is only looking for a stray piece of

fruit and is innocent in its intentions, this just shows that the elephants can walk right up to people and a very bad thing could happen if the visitors were to anger the elephants in such a way they become hostile.
Post 2

@andee - At least you have had the chance to see some of the animals that live at this national park.

The few times I have seen an elephant was at a circus and a small, local zoo. I love to watch these huge animals, but it is hard for me to see them at a circus. I always wonder what kind of care they receive and how they like traveling all over the country.

They seem like gentle animals that would be fun to work with. I can just see the elephants reaching in the passing cars to get some fruit.

It sounds like this park has been very successful at increasing the number of elephants from when they first opened. I enjoy reading about places like this that go to such great effort to protect animals that are endangered.

Post 1

I have always wanted to visit Africa and see these animals living in their natural habitat like this. The Addo Elephant National Park sounds like it would be an awesome place to visit.

The closest thing I have come to this is going to Disney's Animal Kingdom. While this is a fantastic place to visit, and seems very real, I imagine it still isn't what the real thing would be like.

My husband and I would both be interested in the guided game drive. The chance to see dolphins, whales and white sharks would be an added bonus!

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