Let me start off by saying that Addo is the neatest reserve I have ever
visited. The park is clean and tidy, the roads are fantastic, the sign
posting is terrific, and the staff incredibly friendly and helpful.
Our visit started with the drive from Somerset West. Our destination - Addo
South Motyholweni camp. Keeping 3 excited kids in check for the duration
proved to be quite a test, so we decided to stop in Plettenberg Bay for a
rest. We let the kids run around the beach for a while and this proved to be
a good decision. We were fortunate that by leaving early, we were ahead of
the long weekend traffic and arrived in Motyholweni at 14:45. Total
travelling time including the stop, at the speed limit (except for going
down Kaimans pass - a surprise expected) was 8.5 hours. A quick unpack and
toilet stop and into the park.
At first we noticed the very dense vegetation, so different to what we were
used in the Kruger area. We doubted that we would be able to spot any game
in that. We did the Vuyiso loop where we spotted kudu, ostrich and Jackal.
The open plain was a welcome relief.
We continued onto Ngulube loop where we encountered the first vehicles. We tried to identify what they were looking at but saw nothing so decided to move on. As we past, the chap
(I think it might have been RonnieL from photos in the Addo experiences thread) told
us there were lion in the grass and he was flicking his tail every now and
Ronnie, if that was you, thank you for sharing.
With the time restrictions we returned to our cottage. Heading back we
encountered a huge bull elephant in the impenetrable, dense vegetation right
next to the road. Thankfully Addo elephants are by far less excitable than
their cousins in the Kruger and Pilansberg parks.
Addo welcomed us that night with a tremendous lightning and thunder storm,
lots of noise and not much rain but enough to threaten my fire. It took a
dustbin lid held above my fire to cook my chops. And they say it doesn't
rain in the Eastern Cape in the winter??
As the kids settled into bed we watched the lunar eclipse unfold.
Thursday morning we packed our hot choc and breakfast and went in search of
the lions. Unfortunately they were still lying flat or had moved on. We
moved on to the Ngulube loop and saw a couple of secretary birds. We watched
while we had our breakfast.
Back to our cottage to hitch the trailer and
make our move to main camp. Enroute we came across a puff adder. Rather
sluggish in the cold.
Moving north we came acroos this beautiful Kudu bull. It has been years
since I saw such a majestic kudu and we observed him for awhile. We were
quite amazed that others weren't that interested until we got further north
and realised that Addo is teaming wiith large kudu bulls similar to KNP with
their impalas....Still a rather striking animal.
Our first herd of elephant consisted of a few females with juveniles. One
was still suckling, and this had the kids in hysterics. They could not
believe that an elephant had boobs between their front legs. Keeping them
quiet while the bull came marching towards us with purpose was a task in
itself. They soon quietened down when the whole herd moved around our
vehicle, almost knocking the trailer, into the bush on the other side.
We were pleasantly suprised by main camp, once again the staff were
welcoming and very pleasant and efficient, the area is beautifully clean and
tidy and the caravan sites more than ample for our needs. Camping is always
more fantastic when the ablutions are clean and tidy and the Hot water is
always available - here Addo Main Camp delivered more than expected. The
only gripe that I have is the close proximity of 1) The railway line - the
trains at night spoil the ambiance and 2) The kids play area to the
Our guest for the evening was a lesser spotted Genet. Sorry no pics as he
was camera shy. Being this close to nature is why I prefer camping to
staying in the cottages.
After waking up in the freezing cold every morning before the Robins sang
their merry tune proved to be fruitless. Our main intention was to find the
predators completing their nightly tasks, but alas that was not to be. I
would suggest that, in winter, a lazy sleep in and a drive starting at
around 9:30 is preferable as the Addo animals only start moving around when
it warms up. Most of our sightings were in the afternoon when the
temperature was up.
The highlight of our visit was definitely watching the herds of elephant and
the way they interacted with each other and the way the young ones played
and bullied each other was very entertaining. (pic ellies wrestling). There was a large herd moving around the Gorah loop from around the Friday.
Sorry for the poor image quality as it was taken through the windscreen.
I really enjoyed the bird life and I was ecstatic for identifying the Bokmakirie. What a beautiful little fella with such a lovely tune.
On the Saturday we took an early morning drive south to get to Harveys loop. Once again the early mornings are dismal as sightings go. We encountered a couple of old dugga buffalo boys. The amount of force required to get through the dense vegetation was amazing. You definitely do not want to meet up with these beasts while on foot.
The early morning drive did reward us though with this beautiful sighting of this Burchell's Coucal.
The Zebras on Gorah loop are very accommodating. Apparently the lions were in this area on Saturday, but alas we missed them. However we did hear them calling in the night but Sunday was to be the long road home.
And don't forget the sunsets. I am sure that nothing in the world can compare with an African sunset.
All in all a most enjoyable visit, so much so that we have booked a week in early January.
Addo management and staff- Thank you for a very memorable time. We have managed to get our fix for the time being. See you in January for the fresh air.