Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa’s Eastern Cape is an unparalleled conservation success story.
The area was proclaimed a national park back in 1931 as a sanctuary for the 11 elephants that remained in the Eastern Cape, the last survivors of hunters, ivory poachers and the extermination campaigns of citrus farmers.
At Addo Today
Now there are more than 450 elephants thriving in the park, making Addo the most densely populated elephant reserve in the whole of Africa. Consequently, it would be extremely hard to visit Addo and not see an elephant, if not several! But it’s not just elephants that flourish here. The reserve harbours a range of other animals including eland, kudu, red hartebeest, warthog, zebra, ostrich, black rhino, buffalo and lion. There is also a host of smaller wildlife, including predators such as hyena.
More than anything, Addo has stimulated a large-scale movement to return the Eastern Cape to wildlife, starting with Shamwari and followed by numerous private reserves now encompassing an enormous area.
Today, Addo continues to grow, with the help of funding from numerous donor organisations. It has already absorbed large areas to the north-west, and the long-term plan is for it to expand south to reach the sea, ultimately protecting 400,000 hectares.
Addo is situated in the Sundays River Valley, less than an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth. The Sundays River Valley is one of the world’s leading areas for citrus production and exports over 10 million boxes of fine oranges and lemons to the northern hemisphere each year.
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