Addo Elephant National Park is South Africa’s third largest national park, stretching a massive 180 000 hectares over Eastern Cape's Sundays River region. Responsible for the conservation of five of South Africa's nine major vegetation zones, the park encompasses a massive section of ecological biodiversity, with the types of flora and fauna ranging extensively over the various landscapes. Areas of conserved vegetation, many facing a possible extinction, include Albany Thicket, Fynbos , Forest, Nama and the Indian Ocean Coastal Belt - consisting of coastal dunes and grassy plains that make up the largest coastal dune field in the southern hemisphere.
Founded in 1931 to provide a sanctuary for the dwindling elephant population in the area, the park’s focus is on the conservation of mega-herbivores. Starting with a population of only 16, Addo National Park is currently home to more than 550 elephants. Other mammals in the park include 400 Cape buffalo, more than 48 endangered Black Rhinos as well as a variety of antelope species. Lions and spotted hyenas have also recently been re-introduced to the area.
Extended to include the marine reserve of Bird Island and St. Croix Island, Addo National Park expands out over the Algoa Bay area. This means that the park contains not only land animals, but is the home of a myriad of marine life including breeding colonies of gannets and African penguins. Addo’s "Big 7" are the elephant, rhinoceros, lion, buffalo, leopard, whale and great white shark - all found in their natural habitats within the park’s borders. The rare flightless dung beetle (Circellium Bacchus), endemic to Southern Africa, is also a special resident of the park.
Come and hear the evening call of the black-backed jackal in a place of unparalleled ecological diversity, where the majestic tuskers of the Eastern Cape roam freely. For anyone who wants to commune with nature, explore the diverse landscapes of South Africa or simply experience the wide open spaces of the Eastern Cape, Addo Elephant National Park is an unforgettable destination - and an absolute must for elephant lovers.