South African road trip (Part II – Addo Elephant Park)

Days 7 & 8 – Addo Elephant National Park (Port Elizabeth)

My first African safari. And less than 5 minutes into the drive we started seeing wildlife: a Leopard tortoise crossing the road, Secretary bird hunting on the plain, Warthogs, Red Hartebeest, Bush buck, a great old Buffalo and a herd of Zebra on the far horizon. Most of the park is quite bushy and the antelopes we saw were all single individuals concealed in thick bush.

Warthog

Warthog

Heartebeast

Heartebeast

Kudu

Kudu

Buffalo

Buffalo

The species that we had no problems observing were, off course, the Elephants. The first herd we saw was a bachelor herd cooling off at the water hole. As we watched the silent giants, a small Warthog that did not seem to have any sense of self preservation, approached the herd and plunged into the muddy water right in front of the elephants. He splashed around for a while and left quite satisfied with his bathing experience.

Elephants and a warthog

Elephants and a warthog

Next, we saw a huge herd of females and calves at yet another waterhole. Addo is truly the land of the elephants. They  can be found anywhere in the park at any time of the day.

Elephant herd

Elephant herd

Females with calves

Females with calves

Other abundant animals at the park are Kudu, Ostrich and Black-backed jackal.  The best jackal sighting we had was of a single male walking purposefully along the path in the bush towards the road. He came practically right up to the car and was completely unperturbed.

Black-backed jackal

Black-backed jackal

ElephantsKudu stagKudu femalesKudu femalesKudu female with a youngFemale Black-backed jackalWarthogWarthog familyMeerkatsHadeda IbisSouthern Masked Weaver	Rock Monitor Lizard Black-Headed HerronBateleur eagleGeckoPin-tailed whydahLeopard tortoises

Of the less common creatures we have spotted a family of Meerkats and a single male Spotted Hyena on the night drive.  The night drive overall, however, was a major disappointment as it started raining just as we set off and rained through the entire drive. The only other animals we spotted were a Porcupine, a few Scrub hares and an Olive toad.

Meerkats

Meerkats

The second day in Addo was even more amazing than the first. We did not see as many different species, but we were able to observe animal families as they went about their day.  Late in the afternoon we came across a family of Black-backed jackals relaxing in the grass. Well, the two adults were relaxing, but their four pups were tirelessly chasing each other and anything else that moved around them.

Mother jackal

Mother jackal

While watching the jackals I noticed a family of Yellow mongooses scanning the ground near the entrance to their burrow on the other side of the road. We spent most of the afternoon alternating between watching jackal and mongoose families.

Yellow mongooses

Yellow mongooses

Male ostrich

Male ostrich

Addo species list

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