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Addo Elephant National Park
Addo goes wild with World Cup Fever
Staff at Addo Elephant National Park have been counting down the days to the start of the Soccer World Cup. Not content to sit and wait with bated breath, they have been engaging in all sorts of warm up activities, including proudly wearing Bafana jerseys, learning the diski dance and engaging in impromptu soccer matches.
Football Fridays are a riot of colour with staff members sporting not only the SANParks-issued Bafana jerseys but beanies, scarfs, jackets and even facepaint proclaiming their proudly South African loyalties.
Friday, 4 June 2010 saw staff members from all departments gathered in the community hall to learn the diski dance from three talented ladies of the Christian Dance Fellowship group of Port Elizabeth.
There was much laughter and good-natured teasing as staff members of all ages and dancing capabilities tried out the new moves and got into the spirit of the diski dance.
With the influx of international visitors to South Africa and Addo’s growing reputation as the number one tourism attraction in the Eastern Cape has come a heightened interest in the Park as a film venue.
A Mexican film crew visited the Park a day ahead of the opening Soccer World Cup match and were astounded by the wonderful experience they had in the Park.
Said producer Rene Franco: “When I saw the elephants, I just cried, I couldn’t help it, they were so close and so peaceful”. Franco added that they would be recommending to all back home in Mexico to visit Addo Elephant National Park.
After filming, the Mexican crew led an impromptu soccer match in the car park with the visitors taking on a team from Addo Elephant National Park which included game drive guides, restaurant staff and maintenance staff.
A growing crowd watched the match, cheering the players on until the Park side scored their way to a 4-3 victory.
Paul Allen of Australia, who featured in the visitors’ team, said the soccer match had taken them by surprise but turned out to be “invigorating and fun”.
“Of course, we let the home side win,” said Allen jokingly.
“Our visit to Addo Elephant National Park has been stunning and wonderful and everyone has been really friendly,” added Allen who belongs to the Brindabella Beavers football team in Canberra, Australia.