- Eastern Cape
- Addo Elephant National Park
Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape
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The Addo Elephant National Park was proclaimed in 1931. A fence of tram rails and lift cables created an elephant-proof barricade and prevented elephants from marauding into the orange groves of the Sundays River Valley. In return for the farmers' immunity from damage, the citrus Corporation delivered huge piles of waste oranges to the park. The oranges did much to tame the once irascible elephants. The fruit was dumped near observation areas so the elephants could be viewed.
Watering places have also been created at view areas and attract buffalo, black rhino and other game as well as elephants. The black rhino were introduced in 1961 - the first in the Cape for a hundred years.
The bush in the antelope park has been cleared and springbok, eland, buffalo, red hartebeest, grysbok, kudu, steenbok, grey rhebok, black-backed jackal and bush-buck, roam freely.
The park consists of dense Addo bush to which the Europeans gave a Hottentot name, Kadouw, meaning a river passage, which they gave to a fording place over the nearby Sundays River.
The bush is a tangle of acacias, spekbooms, ghwarrie, boerboom and numerous other trees and shrubs. Beard-like strands of moss and lichen hang from the branches and give the bush an atmosphere of enchantment.
Elephants always liked this bush. Spekboom is one of their favourite foods. Buffaloes, hippos and black rhinos also roamed here.
The Addo elephant has its home in the Addo Elephant National Park. Though belonging to the same species as the African elephant (Loxodonta africana africana), the reddish Addo elephant is smaller, with more rounded ears and sometimes without tusks. In 1900 this elephant population was the largest surviving stronghold of elephants in South Africa
When settlers arrived during the 1820's the area was too small for man and beast to co-exist peacefully. The elephants raided farmlands and so man hunted the elephants. A professional hunter, Major Jan Pretorius, was hired by the administrator of Cape Province, Sir Frederic de Waal, to destroy the entire elephant herd in 1919. It took him a year to kill 120, then he abandoned the slaughter because of public outcry. Only 11 Addo elephants remained, many of them peppered with bullets, panic-stricken, vengeful and cunning. They declared war on man and any person venturing into the Addo bush did so at his peril.
The herd of Addo elephants has now increased, as has the area of the park and lion and hyena have been re-introduced.
Visitors to the park may be interested to take a fun filled scenic cruise in the Sundays River Estuary that includes sand boarding on the dunes. The cruise operators of Sundays River Ferry cruises, are located in Colchester near the southern gate of the Addo Park.
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