The flight to Port Elizabeth was a nice short hop, it took around 1hr 30 mins. It was quite strange to be on such a small plane only 56 seats. Luggage collected, rental car picked up and we were on our way. The journey took around one and three quarter hours to Camp Figtree as there was a fair few km off road (getting quite the expert at off road driving). Camp Figtree is high in the hills about some 10km from the park entrance and is just an amazing place. We had booked a game drive the next day into the park. We were picked up by our ranger Saul who was a very nice chap indeed. It was great as there was just four of us in a nine seater jeep so we had great views and plenty of space. Addo is the third largest game park in South Africa and covers an area of some 445,000 acres.It was started in 1931 with just 11 elephants. Now it boasts some 600 elephant, lion, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, a variety of antelope and zebra. Top Tip, you can opt to drive through the park in your own vehicle, maps are supplied at the entrance, or you take a guided safari like we did. Which I would recommend as the Rangers really know there stuff, not only about the wild life but the plants, birds and the Eco system of the park itself and most importantly know where to look for the wildlife, which after all that’s why you are there. It wasn’t long before we saw quite a large group of Wart Hogs, cute little things especially the baby’s. Felt quite guilty really, as earlier on in our trip I had a Wart Hog steak, it was tasty though. Next it was male Kudu. A very impressive creature, much larger than the female and with huge horns. We then saw a lion although it was away in the distance and only discernable with the the aid of my zoom lens. Quite how Saul our ranger spotted it just with his own eyes I will never know. Next up was what we were in the park to see, a large group of elephants at the water hole, I roughly counted around forty just amazing. Then Saul pointed out in the distance a long line of elephants, male, female and baby’s making there way to the water hole. We waited and watched, and slowly they came towards us, crossed the road and walked right past our jeep, so close you could touch them. Mission complete. A truly amazing day.
I would like to give a special mention to Mike, Camp Figtree’s General Manager. A really interesting guy from Zimbabwe. He is very passionate about conservation, he also told me he had set up various community projects in his native Zimbabwe to promote conservation of the native wildlife. Alongside running Camp Figtree he has his own company conducting game drives. A very informative and interesting man. So if you are visiting Addo give his company a look, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. ElephantDawnSafaris