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Addo Elephant National Park

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... is located 50km north of Port Elizabeth in the Sunshine Coast West area of the Eastern Cape in South Africa.

This reserve started life in 1931 as a small conservation project designed to protect the single herd of just sixteen elephants which remained in the area. The park has grown substantially since then to 1200 square kilometres and now hosts over 450 elephants, plus a broad range of other wildlife including small numbers of lions, hyenas and hook-lipped rhinos. Ambitious expansion plans have already seen the reserve grow north into the mountains and plains of the Karoo and south to the dune-fields and island of the coast, now making it the third largest reserve in the country.

Addo is a very accessible reserve, with a very wide range of accommodation options. It represents one of the lowest cost ways of going on safari, since it is possible to self-drive to one of the lodges outside the reserve and visit on day trips from there. It is also malaria free and many of the lodges are particularly child friendly.

Potential downsides include the fact that the reserve is not totally pristine, comprising in part of reclaimed farmland, being fenced and surrounded in part by inhabited areas. Some visitors therefore feel that the sense of wilderness is considerable lower than in many of the more substantial safari areas further north on the continent. The visitor traffic can also get quite high at times and there can be considerable numbers of self-drivers inside the reserve, making the whole experience feel a little bit on the tame side at times.


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