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Addo Elephant Park - 1 July 2009

A day of fantastic weather during school holidays was the only excuse needed to take a day off work and head out to Addo for the day.

We entered the park via the Matyholweni gate on the Sunday's River side and were soon welcomed by loads of kudu, warthogs and ostriches. Once we had crossed the road to Paterson and entered the main park we soon saw elephants. Same as last time. Some young ones at the 1st waterhole. We then went for a little walk in the designated area at the Spekboom hide and saw some kudu browsing. We were then treated to the sight of a bushbuck and then a roadblock of elephants on their way to the Hapoor water hole on the Mpunzi loop.

It was then time for a lingering lunch in the restuarant, where we met a lovely Canadian family on their way from Plett to King William's Town. We went and watched some elephants from the hide before hitting the road again.

We were planning on leaving the park via the Matyholweni gate after heading to the plains area around Domkrag dam to look for some lion. We were not to be dissapointed. As always one normally spots the gaggle of cars before one sees the lions. Two lions, a male and female, were lying about 50m into the bush. After about 5 minutes they both got up and sauntered about 2m from the car before crossing behind.

After watching the lions for a while we started on our way again as the gate into the game area closes at what we thought was 17:00 but is actually 17:30. We stopped to check out a young elephant bull that a few cars were parked near when we spotted some ears under a tree in the middle of an open area. Two lions having a rest. We did not have much time so we moved on after watching them for a bit. After checking out a jackal sleeping in the grass we stopped at the lookout overlooking Zuurkop. We could then see, with the aid of our truty binocs that there were in fact five lions lying under the tree. Panning to the left rewarded us with the view of a large male lion walking over the plain. Well that was all the persuation we needed to head down the hill again to get a closer look. When we got there a herd of buffalo was walking down to drink. A real "Out of Africa" site with dust rising up being lit by a low sun. All of a sudden the lead grey hulks of horned flesh came to a standstill. After sniffing the air they turned towards the tree where the lions were resting and off they went. It was quite a sight to see five lions being routed by the buffaloes. Once they had chased the pride off they shifted their attention to the large male who, being a large male, moved off a short distance and lay down, as if to say "so far and no further".

What a way to end a splendid day in the African bush. The only downside was the drive home on the Addo road, to say that is in bad shape is the understatement of the decade!

For a map of Addo Elephant Park click here

For Addo Elephant Park info click here

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