Addo National Elephant Park is a place I’ll never forget. I’ve been trying to sum up the feeling of seeing my first elephant in the wild and have come to the conclusion that is it seemingly indescribable. My heart literally skipping a beat, just thinking about this experience brings back the same exact rush I felt that very morning on our first game drive in Addo.
I can’t quite put into words how much this experience moved me, changed me and inspired me. Seeing these beautiful creatures roam free in the wild left me in sheer awe of this incredible world we live in and the creatures that roam in it. There just isn’t any other feeling like being able to watch the hundreds of the world’s largest mammal running towards the waterhole, flapping their ears and interacting with one another in the wild.
Addo Elephant Park is about two hours drive from Port Elizabeth, on the central coast of South Africa and should you get the opportunity to visit, don’t even think twice.
The story of Addo Elephant National Park begins in 1931 when it was proclaimed to protect the 11 remaining elephants. This 630 square mile park is the third largest national park in South Africa and now home to more than 600 elephants.
Addo is known to be home of the Big 7 as the oceans around Port Elizabeth are also part of the park where whales and great white sharks are easily spotted.
We stayed nearby the park gates at Woodall Country House who’s relaxing haven and South African hospitality had me beaming from ear to ear.
Waking up with a breakfast fit for Kings, we spent our time between game drives by the poolside, feasting on home made patisseries and fresh brew, watching the sun go down on the restaurant balcony overlooking the pond and relaxing with treatments at the in house spa.
Upon returning to the lodge after game drives, we were spoilt with local dishes made with the freshest of ingredients and were giddy with excitement sharing our day’s sightings with other guests.
Game drives with Woodall’s resident ranger Ruan was an absolute treat, where we got to pick his brain about everything and anything wildlife- how long were elephants pregnant for? What was the most amazing elephant experience he’d ever had? How do elephants socialise? How high do impalas jump?
His stories became apart of our story and being able to share this experience with a ranger who was so passionate and knowledgeable was really inspiring.
Our game drives at Addo exposed us first hand to the beauty of mother nature and life in the wild. Home to just ten lions, we were lucky to spot one lazing in the sun on an early morning game drive and were in awe at the waterhole where we saw more than 200 elephants gathered to hang out and cool off from the hot 35 degree heat. I could have spent all day here just watching them interact with each other and learning about their fascinating lives.
Thank you to our new friends at Woodall Country House, we can’t thank you enough for showing us this beautiful part of the world, and I know that I’ll be back soon.