Addo Elephant National Park is located near the southern tip of central South Africa. The park covers an area of 630 square miles (1,640 sq km) making it the third-largest South African national park behind Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
The ecosystem is comprised of several vegetation species that are endemic as well as at risk for extinction. The park system has done a good job of rehabilitating the mammalian species; however, it has led to grazing and a reduction of some of the vegetation.
Addo Elephant National Park is home to over 600 elephants, more than 400 cape buffaloes, and almost 50 black rhinoceroses. Other popular species include lion, hartebeest, zebra, warthog, and hyena.
The park has plans to expand adding in a marine reserve and neighboring islands. This would expand the park to approximately 1,389.97 square miles (3.600 sq km) more than doubling its size.
This would introduce the great white shark as one of the more intriguing species in the protected waters of the expanded national park. The islands are also home to African penguins and the largest collection of gannets in the world. This population of birds exceeds 120,000 individuals.
This wildlife destination is home to a population of over 600 elephants. It is a safari destination and the array of wildlife is a highlight to others.
The African Bush Elephant is the largest mammal on land reaching heights of 13 feet (3.96 m). The male and female elephants both display tusks. This is the same species found in Kruger National Park.
They can weigh as much as 11.7 short tons. Female elephants will be between 1 to 2 feet (0.30 to 0.61 m) shorter than their male counterparts. The ears are pointed and present like a triangle and can reach lengths of 6.6 feet (2 m).
The trunk is comprised of between 40 to 60,000 muscles which allow it to pick up as much as 3% of their body weight. The trunk is used for delivering food and water to the mouth. The tusks of male elephants can weigh as much as 240 pounds (109 kg) while female tusks will weigh about 1/6 of that.
Addo Elephant National Park Trails
The majority of activity in Addo Elephant national park is directed at guided safaris. However, there are a couple of hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the park. There are also guided walking safaris which provide another opportunity to enjoy the outdoors will hoping to see wildlife.
Zuurberg Hiking Trail
This is a moderate rated loop trail that travels a circumference of 7.0 miles (11.27 km) while ascending 1,443 feet (439.83 m). The trail crosses rugged terrain while delivering views of the surrounding area. There is a limited chance to see wildlife.
Alexandria Hiking Trail
This is a 19.88-mile (32 km) trail that takes two days to complete. The trail does require that three people travel together. The trail meanders through the Woody Cape portion of the national park. You must carry in your own gear and recommendations are that people be in good physical condition before embarking on this endeavor.
Addo Elephant Highlights
- Addo Park, The Addo Area, https://www.addopark.com/, retrieved July 2020.
- All Trails, Best Trails in Addo Elephant National Park, https://www.alltrails.com/parks/south-africa/eastern-cape/addo-elephant-national-park, retrieved July 2020.
- Britannica, Addo Elephant National Park, https://www.britannica.com/place/Addo-Elephant-National-Park, retrieved July 2020.
- Lonely Planet, Addo Elephant National Park, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/south-africa/addo-elephant-national-park, retrieved July 2020.
- South African National Park, Addo Elephant, https://www.sanparks.org/parks/addo/, retrieved July 2020.
- SA Venues, Addo Park, https://www.sa-venues.com/game-reserves/ec_addo.htm, retrieved July 2020.