Saturday, May 14, 2011

Addo Elephant Park

Elephants are big!!!

The first thing we did after leaving Port Elizabeth with our rental car was to head to Addo Elephant National Park. We didn’t arrive until late in the day but still had time to do a 2-hour drive around before sunset. It was overcast and rainy all day, so we didn’t have a lot of luck seeing many animals but we did encounter this awesome guy right at the end of the day.

It was unfortunate that we couldn’t linger a while to watch him, but it was really fantastic to see an elephant this up close and personal.

That night we camped in the park and while it did rain a lot, it didn’t rain on our parade. The next day we got up and spent a good six hours driving slowly around the park to look for more animals. Although it was quite far away (and our new camera is awesome to capture this) we did see three lions, my (Jeanette's) first ones ever in the wild.

Other highlights included lots of zebras, red hartebeest, black-backed jackals, dung beetles, and kudu.

Nearing the end of the day we were lamenting the fact that we hadn’t seen many elephants. The three we saw earlier in the day were quite hidden by the vegetation they were eating. However, one of them was a baby, and while none of the photos turned out, was one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen. (Note to reader: Jeanette says every baby animal is the most adorable thing she’s ever seen. In fact, she says everything is adorable lately, even a fake tortoise graveyard set up by the road to tell people to watch out for them. She’s on a mini is cute kick. It’s funny. But I’ll admit that the mini white frog was really cute.) Then suddenly, around a hairpin turn, just to the right of the car was the biggest elephant I have ever seen in my entire life, including those on TV. He was enormous and we sat for 10 seconds just watching him in awe.

Then he began to saunter very close to the road, and our car, and we had that momentary realization that even though he was in no way threatening, he could easily just decide to become threatening and annihilate our puny little car. So we backed up. A lot. Then he just began casually walking down the road without a care in the world, so as soon as he was a safe distance ahead of us we would drive up a bit and continue to watch him. After about 10 minutes we saw two other cars come up in the opposite direction and we kept watching them back up as the elephant got closer. From our vantage point it was crazy to see how much the elephant dwarfed those cars. In another 10 minutes or so the elephant took a path to the right back into the woods and moved on as if he couldn’t have cared less whether he made our day by being there or not. It was awesome to be that close to a creature than enormous.

Dung Beetle



Red Hartebeest

Black-Backed Jackal

Cape Buffalo


  1. That mini baby zebra is adorable!

  2. Man! Amazing photos! And your blog is so great--glad to hear what an awesome time you're having. And congrats on having the freedom of the car. xoxo Ames :)