After a brilliant afternoon sandboarding (and for the very first time too), we decided to make a quick change to our initial plans and head over to Addo Elephant Park… with good reason, I might add – it’s like 5 minute away from where we were sandboarding (which is 30 minutes from the centre of Port Elizabeth) so we figured we might as well make the most of our time in the area.
Back when we visited South Africa 6 months before, we’d had such an amazing time on safari that I just knew I couldn’t pass up on an opportunity to experience South Africa’s wild life. The park is fairly important too – it’s the 3rd largest in all of South Africa and, even better still – you can self-drive (which costs around £10 entry – bargain!).
When we first hit the road, we had no real idea how large the park was and almost immediately, we bumped into some warthogs…
…and quite a few curious zebras.
For some reason, the zebras here looked a lot bigger than I remembered (as did a lot of the other animals here) and it wasn’t until the end of the day that I realised why this was the case. See on safari, you’re in a tall jeep and you sit a lot higher in those than you would in a regular car so the animals look a lot larger when you’re sat in your regular car than when you’re on safari.
We stumbled upon a couple of playful cheeky monkeys…
…before finding our very first elephant (which, by the way, gave us such a fright in the car – we’d been distracted by other animals and didn’t realise that the elephant had come right up to the car. I remember thinking “Oh, it’s gone darker all of a sudden, it feels it’s about to rain” before quickly realising that it was the shadow of the elephant right next to the car!
We’d been educated on safari about the strength of the elephant (not as necessary, I think we all get how strong they are) and about how male elephants can get quite aggressive, especially when they’re on the male equivalent of “being on heat” (this was the bit of information I didn’t know about prior and was kinda cautious since I found out).
I didn’t even dare get a photo when it came up to the car but to be honest, it had no interest in the car and just tarried along on its merry way! Phew!!!
We found a Red Hartebeest (this was the first time I’d ever seen one).
It was at the stage a lot of elephant started to appear out of the bushes and cross the roads, which was absolutely amazing to see! None of them quite got our attention like this two in the corner. At first, we thought they were fighting…
…but it soon became apparent that there was no fighting going on here!
*cue sexy time music*
This was all well and good till another male elephant wandered into the mix…
(I got distracted at this point by a baby elephant…)
…though my attention went back to the elephants once the new male elephant started fighting with the other one for the right to mate with the female! At this point, it just seemed like we were something out of some elephant TV show. I did tell Lloyd to get the car ready just in case we needed to make a break for it. The last thing you wanna do is to be caught up in the middle of some elephant fight. 🙂
Before we left though, another baby elephant popped out and after much “Ooohing” and “Aaaahing“, we finally decided to carry on (we had just a couple of hours before the park closed and we’d once drive about 1/5th of the route we planned (which was the efficient route as well).
After some marvelling at the park, we came across some ostriches (first ones I’ve ever seen in the wild too)…
…and a couple of jackals.
We found even more elephants… (which makes you start to see why the park got its name)
…and some warthogs.
We also found some Kudu (which I remember well from visiting Kruger National Park)…
…before panicking about getting locked in the park! We had minutes before it closed and knew there would be no way in which we could actually make it to the park gates before it closed.
That didn’t stop us from stopping to take photos as we hurried through though (we were there already after all – might as well make the most of it 😉 ).
We also saw a cape buffalo (at which point, we’d technically ticked 2 of the big 5! Not bad, considering we’d seen some other animals we’d never seen before).
By the time we got to the park gates, most of the animals had disappeared for the night and a panicky Lloyd and I heaved a sigh of relief to see that there were still guards at the gates (who joked about how they almost left us in there to spend the night) before we headed off on our merry way back to Port Elizabeth to go check out one of the most exciting and memorable places we’d visited in South Africa…
…but more on that very soon! It’d almost 1am and I need to be up early tomorrow! 😉