Andrew & Angelica - South Africa 2016 travel blog







With the sun rising before 5am early beachgoers could be heard through our bedroom window. There were walkers, fishermen, cyclists and surfers out there though activity died down by 9am so they like to do their favourite pastime before going to work.

Gel was up before breakfast for her constitutional run of over 2 miles along the beach. The surf was up and I heard some locals saying that it was the best it had been for some time. Because of this it must have been bringing in colder water from further out in the ocean because there was a noticeable drop in the temperature of the water this morning. We liked this guest house. The proportion of staff to guests this morning was 3 to 5! We could garage our car and you couldn't be closer to the sea!

Next, it was off to Addo Elephant Park; a drive of some 2 hours. We arrived well before check in time of 2pm so went out for a drive in the park. The first creature we saw was a tortoise. We had seen one earlier on the open road. We were so surprised that we had to turn back immediately to take a look but by the time we got to where it had been it had scarpered. Not an easy thing for a tortoise to do but it was just as well. As we approached where it had been in the carriageway there were two lorries thundering towards us, one overtaking the other. If it hadn't got out of the way it was sure to have been flattened. The odd thing is we have not seen any squashed tortoises anywhere in the road but as we were to find in the Park they frequently walk into the road. Here the traffic is more conciliatory with a maximum speed limit of 40kph. You are not even allowed to drive through Elephant poo for fear of killing a dung beetle.

The whole park is about 180,000 hectares although elephants do not occupy all areas of the park. We might also expect to see Black Rhino, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, Burchells Zebra, various Buck and a host of smaller animals.

Warthog are quite common and we saw a number of families with young. We headed for Hapoor Dam as we had heard there were many elephant sightings there about one and half hours earlier. And we were not to be disappointed. There before us were at least 50 elephants. The total elephant population in the park is over 500. We stopped and watched for a while. Warthog, Zebra and a solitary Red Hartebeest were all mingling in amongst the elephants and it really was a truly magnificent sight. The waterhole was named after Hapoor who was the legendary dominant male from 1944 to 1968 and sired most of the offspring during that period. He had a deep seated hatred of men, supposedly after a hunter's rifle took a large piece out of his ear. When he was deposed as leader by a younger bull he was driven from the herd and became a loner until he escaped over the Armstrong fence that had enclosed the elephants for more than 20 years. Unfortunately his freedom was short-lived. Because of his aggressive nature, the decision was taken to shoot him and so he came to a sad end.

We felt we had had a good start to our wildlife viewing and returned to check into our chalet which is contained within the Addo Main Camp. This is good accommodation rather like a studio apartment with self catering facilities and will be our home for the next 3 nights.

(Problem downloading the photos or I would have put more on)

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