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Welcome to twenty years' worth of experiencing the
richness of the world's most-amazing continent. It's
never been easy but it's always been rewarding.
Addo Elephant National Park, in South Africa, is tiny by any standards, yet often the elephants are happily dining deep in the the dense shrub or spekboom, which means that you may not see the youngsters close-up as I did in May 1999 when they were concentrated at Hapoor Waterhole. But this is a lovely park, easily seen from a car, and I hope you too get lucky and find elephants in abundance! If not, you can have lots of pleasure exploring the nearby Garden Route or the Mountain Zebra National Park.
Addo Elephant Park is a very scenic coastal drive, about 500 miles from Cape Town, which is best enjoyed over two days. Along the way, there are some fabulous seaside campgrounds, accommodation and hiking trails. Or you can simply fly into Port Elizabeth on the eastern end of the lovely Garden Route of South Africa, then rent a car and drive about 50 miles inland, watching for the signs to Addo Elephant Park. The Sunday River Valley is a well settled, pretty agricultural region, and it seems improbable that a park can co-exist with such development. Therein lies the magic of Addo.
The chalets, bungalows and small campground (with power points) are beautifully tucked into shade trees and green shrubbery near a night-lit waterhole, which attracts elephant, the scarce Kenyan black rhino, the last Cape buffalo, and several species of antelope including kudu, eland, bushbuck, red hartebeest, common duiker and grysbok.
Not to mention 185 species of birds. A blind for bird-watching is by a small dam near the restaurant. Night drives are offered - just ask at the office.
Services include a petrol station, swimming pool, tennis courts, restaurant and excellent shop carrying all the necessities of life and a lot of books and souvenirs. It is a charming place to stay, but advance reservations are recommended.
How You Can Visit Addo Elephant Park
For further information and reservations, go to: www.ecoafrica.com/saparks/addo or contact South Africa Parks, PO Box 7400, Rogge Bay 8012, South Africa (Cape Town) or fax from America by dialing 011-27-21-24-6211. Conditions do change even in this well groomed park, so make advance contact with the parks department or the South African Auto Association.
Weather is moderated by the nearby Indian Ocean but nights are chilly in winter (June to September) and days very warm to hot in summer (November to March). Rain falls evenly throughout the year, but sunshine is in abundance. No need for malarial precautions here. And say hello to the elephants for me! All this print-making is keeping me away from them.
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MORE SAFARI TRAVEL TIPS
MAY TIP: Fly to Cape Town, and drive north to the wonders of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, one of the best places to see the great cats of Africa.
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