Addo Elephant National Park

Day 7 – Addo Elephant National Park – 15 September

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I was told by a warden that the elephants like drinking when it is warm (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!), so even though the gates open at 6am we didn’t get up early and rush to get out the gate at that time of the morning! Brian took care of our washing at the laundromat while I lounged about and relaxed! Addo isn’t massive and we ended up driving almost half of the park yesterday, so when we got on the road around 10am we went on some of the same tracks where we saw animals the day before, like Gwarrie Pan, and Domkrag Dam, where we saw lots of zebra drinking, before making our way to Jack’s picnic site where we had lunch. I was once again surprised by the amount of people in the park, but then realised that it was the Sanparks free entrance week, so lots of people from the surrounding areas could get in free for the day and enjoy the park. From Jack’s we made our way back via Zuurkop, which is much better than the tarred road back to the camp as it is higher up and you have better views. We saw loads of elephants as well as all the other usual suspects, zebra, red hartebeest, buffalo, warthog, kudu and millions of tortoises.

We went back to the camp for a bit of a rest and sitting about in the sun on the stoep. It was a lovely and very warm day and we really enjoyed it as so far the weather has been fairly cool for most of the trip. While chilling on the stoep a small herd of elephants made their way down to the waterhole next to the camp, and right by our stoep! I was of course very excited and took loads of pictures, as if I didn’t already take hundreds earlier the day! A couple of hours later they made their way back up the hill and got even closer to where we were sitting, watching them.

They are amazing animals and I could watch them for hours. This lot was very calm, though earlier the day we saw some elephants trumpeting and getting quite tetchy with each other, including some head butting and pushing each other with their trunks. The park is very, very dry so water is quite scarce with a lot of dry waterholes, and I’m sure it’s not helping the elephants’ moods that they have to walk far to get to water and then have to compete for a chance to drink and play in the mud! From a humane perspective the drought is of course worrying and not nice to see, but at the same time from a selfish perspective it means it is easier to spot animals when there’s fewer waterholes for them to use….
After seeing our fill of animals we went back to camp and had a beer at the Cattle Baron before making some burgers at the chalet, and having an early night. Game watching is a lot more tiring than people think! Or maybe we are just starting to relax and enjoy our holiday?

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