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Friedrich's visit to Addo November 2007

Addo, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mountain Zebra

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Friedrich von Hörsten
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Friedrich's visit to Addo November 2007

Unread postby Friedrich von Hörsten » Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:41 pm

My wife and I spent 5 lovely days in Addo just after the heavy floods hit the Eastern Cape. We camped in Addo main camp, hoping to have quiet and peace before the school holidays officially started. There were very few campers, which helped a lot. Sadly, not one day passed in which we were not disturbed by radios, TVs or loud music playing (from as early as 5:30 am till 10:00 at night). Suggestion: can someone patrol the campsite 3x per day (2 minutes each), and warn/fine offenders?

Weather was wonderful, wet and cool, so only saw 10 ellies per day! Second last day we saw a herd of about 70 in the bush between Rooidam and Hapoor, obviously enjoying water in a smaller pan. However, the freshness of new grass and flowers made the visit special. Here are a few highlights:
1. Giant earthworms crawling in the road after rain -- some about 1m long, forming lovely patterns in the wet road.
2. Stunning spekboom display of pink blossoms. It reminded me of the Musasa trees in spring in Zim...
3. Found a huge tortoise near Rooidam, being mobbed by 7 crows. It looked dead, since one crow repeatedly pecked at it's rear end, trying to get some meat to eat, or so we thought. Suddenly the crow made a huge lunge, tugged fiercely, and pulled out a fresh, white tortoise egg! This egg was rather large, and they all had a good old fight over it, but he flew off into the bush with supper in his beak.
4. Saw more than 200 buffalo in one day -- a fantastic herd of 100+ in the beautiful valley just before the new entrance gate, and close to another 100 at Zuurkop late afternoon.
5. Stunning scenery in new section of park driving down to Colchester gate. This is going to be a very special addition once the big game can get here. PLEASE make it a proper part of the park, not another paddock on its own.

Suggestions: Addo used to seem like a `large zoo for elephants, 3 hartebeest and 5 ostriches'', but now it is becoming a proper wildlife area with exciting game viewing opportunities, and areas where you don't have to view wildlife against a backdrop of farms, buildings, human structures -- please try to enhance this new Addo vibe by:
i. joining as many sections together as possible (obviously taking into account your efforts to preserve rare plants from elephant ravages etc.)
ii. creating a special `wilderness' campsite for campers/few forest huts only, IN THE MAIN GAME VIEWING AREA. You would know the best possible site, with shade like you find in Spekboom hide, but also a small waterhole, clearing, space to do a bit of game viewing. I think Matyholweni camp is in a stunning setting, but not good for game viewing. The bush is too thick. Try some place in the new section, that balances trees, shade, views, game viewing (something like Tzende camp site in Kruger).
It does NOT need shops etc, and will help to create the wilderness feeling, by being away from the railway line, tourist buses, restaurant etc., with NO human developments in sight!

Just a thought.

And thank you once again for making Addo better every time I visit it. God bless for Christmas, :)

Friedrich
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay

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j-ms
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Re: Friedrich's visit to Addo November 2007

Unread postby j-ms » Wed Dec 05, 2007 8:31 am

Friedrich von Hörsten wrote:Sadly, not one day passed in which we were not disturbed by radios, TVs or loud music playing (from as early as 5:30 am till 10:00 at night). Suggestion: can someone patrol the campsite 3x per day (2 minutes each), and warn/fine offenders?
You've got my support on this one. The campsite has become more and more unpleasant over the last few years.

Friedrich von Hörsten wrote:ii. creating a special `wilderness' campsite for campers/few forest huts only, IN THE MAIN GAME VIEWING AREA. You would know the best possible site, with shade like you find in Spekboom hide, but also a small waterhole, clearing, space to do a bit of game viewing. I think Matyholweni camp is in a stunning setting, but not good for game viewing. The bush is too thick. Try some place in the new section, that balances trees, shade, views, game viewing (something like Tzende camp site in Kruger).
It does NOT need shops etc, and will help to create the wilderness feeling, by being away from the railway line, tourist buses, restaurant etc., with NO human developments in sight!
Friedrich, I fully support you on this one as well.

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Unread postby Bush Baptist » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:06 am

l-ms, I join you and Friedrich on both issues.

On the first one, I turned my hilux twincab slowly out of the satari tent area on to the exit 'hill' road, and a kid on a bike in the middle of the road nearly became roadkill. Campers seem to think it is just a campsite, not a National Park, and let their offspring run wild.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

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Unread postby HoepHoep » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:10 am

Is there any one out there that don't support FvH fully? I certainly do!
Addo has indeed become a full blown experience and especially for us that is a bit far away from Kruger.
Maybe one deviation on the "new camp" (when is it opening again?) : only camping and Safari Tents, we don't even want forest huts - it is too close to commercial.
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My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300

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arks
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Unread postby arks » Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:26 pm

HoepHoep wrote:Maybe one deviation on the "new camp" (when is it opening again?) : only camping and Safari Tents, we don't even want forest huts - it is too close to commercial.

That's a bit hard on those of us who travel from overseas and don't/can't bring camping gear or utensils, pots and pans, etc with. I'd love to visit Addo, but am a bit put off by the reports of noise and bad behaviour in the main camp. When I visit a park, I want to get as close to that "alone in the bush" feeling as possible and the discussions of a new camp in the game area are most appealing, but I'd hope that it would include some accommodation suitable for those of us who can't bring everything we need with us!
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Unread postby christo » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:32 pm

Also hope such a camp materialize, as I do not think Addo offers the bush experience that it is capable of.

The disturbance factor in the camping area is in my opinion related to "game area crowding". This can be calculated by dividing the surface area by the number of camping sites to get a rough estimate of how much traveling a group of campers does. The less distance travelled, the longer in camp and the more on each other nerves campers get. This is not accurate by far and purely speculative, but makes for interesting reading:

Kgalagadi Transfrontier: 1 campspots for every+- 50 500 ha
Limpopo Transfrontier: 1 campspot for every +- 5 000ha
Addo Game area: 1 campspot for every +- 375ha
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Unread postby NightOwl » Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:59 am

arks: The noise is usually limited to the camping area and hardly any complaints from the bungalow/forest hut area.
These two areas are devided by the viewing spot and lapa area.
So if you plan to stay in 'fixed' accomodation, then you shouldn't expereince any 'noisy' disturbances.
I Can't promise anything, because there'll always be one IDIOT that spoils it for everybody else.

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Unread postby christo » Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:29 am

Very true, Nightowl. I've never had disturbances at the cottages or the guesthouse.

It was actually very peaceful. :)
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arks
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Unread postby arks » Thu Dec 06, 2007 2:23 pm

Thanks, Nightowl and christo. However, I still think that if a camp is developed in the game area, it should also include some accommodation for visitors like me who always choose the best "bush experience" whenever possible — something like Tamboti, perhaps?
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new camp in Addo

Unread postby Friedrich von Hörsten » Sat May 10, 2008 9:49 pm

I spent a lovely night in Addo again in April, and was lucky enough to see a caracal in the road near Carol's Rest -- unfortunately too skittish for brilliant pictures.
One of the Sanparks employees told me there HAD been talk of building a camp in the Matyholweni area, with only an electrified single strand of wire to keep big animals like elephants out.

If Megan or anybody else has more info, please let us know about it -- this sounds too good to be true! (Please add 5 safari tents too -- we slept in one at Addo Main Camp, and it was 100% better than the camping are as far as peace and quiet were concerned)

Looking forward to the next visit (and hopefully lions this time)

Friedrich von Hörsten
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay

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Unread postby Addo Elephant » Fri May 16, 2008 12:18 pm

Hi Friedrich,

Yes, there are long term plans to build one or two bushcamp-type camps in the Matyholweni area, similar to Narina bushcamp or safari tents. However, these are long term plans so probably won't be realised for at least the next 5 years.
Megan Taplin
Communications Manager: Frontier Region


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