Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

We are currently in the Tsitsikamma National Park Sita, where are we going to next?
Let's look at the map and choose our next destination

has chosen the Addo Elephant National Park
......surprise, surprise!!
We all know that Sita loves elephants and national parks!!

Deep within the shadows of the dense valley bushveld of the Sundays River region of the Eastern Cape lies the Addo Elephant National Park.

The ranger told us that the original Elephant section of the park
was proclaimed in 1931, when only eleven elephants remained in the area!!
Today this finely tuned ecosystem is sanctuary to over 450 elephants!!

This park offers some of the most spectacular elephant viewing in the world so Sita is very excited indeed as we take a guided game drive through the park!

Wow, we are not disappointed....there are elephants all over the place..........

Did you know that ...
  1. The park conserves no less than five of South Africa's seven biomes?
  2. Is also home to one of the densest African elephant populations on earth?

  3. It is home to the unique flightless dung beetle (Circellium bacchus?
  4. Addo incorporates the largest coastal dune field in the southern hemisphere?
  5. The park boasts the Big Seven, (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, southern right whale and great white shark)?

  6. It also protects the world's largest Cape gannet breeding population on Bird Island?
  7. There are plans to expand the 164 000 ha Addo National Elephant Park into a 360 000 ha mega-park and to proclaim 120 000 hectares of marine reserve?

Oh, look at that cutie.....

Antelope species abundant in the main game area of the park include red h
, eland, kudu and bushbuck whilst Gemsbok, black wildebeest, springbok, buffalo and black rhino are found in the arid nama-karoo area.

Lion and spotted hyena has also recently been re-introduced to the area.

More elephants!!!!

The Burchell's zebra, Cape mountain zebra, spotted hyenas, mountain reedbuck, baboons, blue duiker, aardwolf and red rock rabbit are some of the other game species found in the Park.

The park is a part of the South African National Parks.

So Mr Ranger , what is the vision of the park?
"Addo Elephant National Park seeks to be fully integrated into the regional landscape, conserves and enhances the characteristic terrestrial and marine biodiversity, ecological processes and cultural, historical and scenic resources representative of the Eastern Cape region for the appreciation, and benefit of present and future generations."

Sita is in absolute awe of these majestic creatures ...........what an amazing experience......

No Marti, you cannot take "Dumbo" home with you!

Nopi asked the ranger about the differences between the Asian and African elephants?

Differences Between African and Asian Elephants

There are many differences between Asian and African elephants some like the size of the ears is widely known. Both types of elephant are members of the same taxonomical family, elephantidae but are of a different genus; elephas maximus (Asian elephants and African loxadonta (African elephant). The two are further divided into different subspecies.

The Asian elephant has an arched back, the African a concave or curved back


The African elephant is significantly larger with bulls growing up to 4m tall whereas the biggest Asian males reach no more than 3.5m.


Adult African elephants weigh between 4,000-7,500 kg. Asians 3000-6,000 kg.

Head Shape

African elephants have fuller more rounded heads. The top of the head is a single dome whereas Asian elephants have a twin domed head with an indent in the middle.

The lower lips of the two species also differ being long and tapered in Asian elephants and short and round in Africans.

Size of the Ears

It is said that you can tell where an elephant comes from by looking at the size of his ears. African ears are like a map of Africa and Asian ears smaller like the shape of India. African ears are much bigger and reach up and over the neck which does not occur in Asian elephants.


African elephant’s skin is more wrinkled


In general African elephants have more ribs than the Asian though the number of ribs varies in individual animals. African elephants have up to 21 pairs, Asians up to 20.

African elepahnts have bigger ears and both sexes have tusks


All African elephants, male and female whereas only some male Asian elephants have tusks. Africans generally have the bigger tusks. About 50% of female Asian elephants and a small percentage of males have small tusk like teeth known as tushes.


The lamella profile along the top of the molar teeth of the two species is different with ridges on Asian’s teeth being more tightly compressed.

The Trunk

The African elephant’s trunk is visibly more heavily ringed and is not as hard as the Asian trunk.

The trunk tip is a major difference between the species.

The African trunk has two distinct fingers which it uses to pick up and manipulate objects. The Asian elephant has only one ‘finger’. The Asian compensates for this by holding objects against the underside of the trunk and appears not to suffer from any lack of maneuverability.


Toenails in the two different species of African elephants vary. As they do between the African and Asian elephants.

African forest elephant has 5 nails on front feet 4 on the back
African savanna elephant has 4 nails on front feet 3 on the back
Asian elephant has 5 nails on front feet 4 on the back (rarely 5)


Although both species of elephant eat a wide variety of plant matter, in general terms the Asian elephant’s diet is made up of a greater proportion of grass and the African’s of leaves.

Thanks Mr Ranger...our Addo Elephant National Park experience has been awesome!!

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