Hi Hugh and Imberbe,
Thanks for the answers.
I don't want any park to become a mad tourist destination any more than you do.
The fact is that if a park does not pay for itself, in the long run the government will not subidize it either, and it will cease to exist.
Right now most small Sanparks parks stay alive because of bigger parks like Table Mountain and Kruger. That is a fact of modern life.
Addo will never become a Kruger Park because it is out of the way, and far from big centres like Cape Town and Johannesburg.
I am simply asking for the improvement of the park as far as game viewing is concerned. You have to admit that 10 years ago, most people could drive through Addo in a morning, see their elephants and go home. Apart from tortoises, warthog and kudu, there was very little to see.
Today the game viewing is much more rewarding because there is a bigger variety. It could be even better, a "superpark" as far as game viewing is concerned, not for the sake of numbers.
Imberbe, nobody is asking for the introduction of animals which never occured in that area. May I quote for you from the current Addo NP map I got there last week:
"European settlers moved into the area in the late 1700's and described it as being abundant in wildlife such as elephant, rhino, buffalo, SPRINGBOK, lion, WILD DOGS, red hartebeest and eland".
From experience I know Sanparks are very slow to actually get things going, but Addo has been an exception, and have showed great initiative in expanding the park into a "superpark" that covers 5 biomes and brags of the "Big 7".
I am simply encouraging them to keep on this track and fill in the last missing pieces of the puzzle.
May I remind you that Karoo NP was mostly just a scenic park when I visited it originally in about 1986, with a few springbok, ostriches and steenbok. Most people didn't bother to stay over, but just stopped en route to Johannesburg for a quick Hi and Goodbye.
I wrote to them many times and asked for a bigger variety of game, including lions. The stock answer: "They were here before, but we won't re-introduce lion in the Karoo for a long time!"
How gratifying then to eventually read the announcement in 2010: "Karoo NP to get lions back after ..... years..." with the comment from head of the Frontier parks, Louis Moolman reflecting my exact words to them all along:"Karoo will now not be a mere stopover for tourists en route from Cape Town to Johannesburg, but a worthy destination in its own right!". They also still need to bring the cheetahs back they promised so long ago...
For those of you who live closer to Addo and Karoo NP, it might be very convenient to have your own little sanctuary just for yourselves, but for us who have to travel over 1000 km to get to Kgalagadi and 2000 km to Kruger, we would like to share in your private little parks, but make the travel (700km and 450 km) a little more worthwhile.
Lastly, if small parks like Umfolozi in KZN can accommodate wild dogs, I see no reason why a park like Addo can not do the same to prevent warthog and kudu from damaging the environment. Especially if they become creative enough to let down a few more fences and join up with Nyathi section and the bigger areas further northwest.
Imberbe, I have a vague memory of my first visit to Addo about 40 years ago -- of an old farmhouse turned into an office; of paying an "entrance fee" for the privilege of driving on a dirt track OUTSIDE the Armstrong fence, and scanning the thick Addo bush for a glimpse of a red elephant body to photograph. We actually saw one for a few seconds! Imagine if those Sanparks officials had said:
"Addo is a special place. We can enjoy it for what it is"
... What would we have today?
Lets dream big!
Friedrich von Hörsten
Ps Imagine having elephants swimming in the Indian Ocean at Colchester and Woody Cape if we only were brave enough to create a corrider over or under the N2!