Eastern Cape – where Savannas meet ocean

 

 

It was another long weekend in South Africa and this time we planned to explore one more SAN park which is near about 1100 kms from Johannesburg. We chose to drive  and take a halt in Bloemfontein city for the night which was approximately 450kms from Johannesburg. Next day another long drive of 600kms to reach Addo Elephant National Park

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Entrance to the Main camp of Addo Elephant National park

Addo Elephant National Park is the 3rd largest wildlife conservation park located in the  Eastern Cape province of South Africa. This park is the only park in the world to house Africa’s “Big 7”which includes elephantrhinoceroslionbuffaloleopardwhale and great white shark in their vast natural habitat.

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A playful herd of Elephants enjoying each other’s company…. a pleasure to the eye

We stayed in a farm which is located around 5kms away from the gate of the Addo National Park. It was a complete pleasant surprise for us to discover that we had to  hike for around 1 km through the bush to reach our Dung Beetle theme cottage. The cottage was fun with all necessary amenities and beautiful view of the mountain range.

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A breath taking view from the our Dung beetle farm

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Here is our Dung beetle shaped cottage… thoroughly enjoyed

Next day morning, we started our day with a lovely breakfast at the farm. The most unforgettable part of the breakfast was the homemade chocolate Muffins….too yummy to resist . We started our safari which was a full day self drive through the park from the main camp. This park is very vast extended for 1,640 km2 and its difficult to cover the whole park in a day. We were not fortunate enough to see all Big 5 this time but yes multiple times we saw elephants which is off course the speciality of the park. We also encountered with lot of Antelopes, Zebras ,Jackals, Warthogs, African Buffalos  and different kinds of birds. There are more than 600 elephants in this park and we got to see more than 20 Elephants – isn’t it cool ?

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The battle of tuskers….. it was part of our sightseeing  while in the safari

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Zebra running away …seeing our vehicle

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Red hartebeest…….guaranteed to be seen in the park

The most memorable part of the safari was getting to see a herd of Elephants coming down from the nearby mountains to drink water with their small babies ….just amazing experience to observe them from such a short distance

In the evening we went for a sundowner guided Safari which was for 2hrs.While waiting for the safari to start, we checked into the museum which had a lot of history about the park. In the evening safari trip we got lucky to see family of Elephants quenching their thirst before calling it a day…. Our guide was very knowledgeable with 36 years of experience in this field and it just added another interesting dimension to the safari with his erudite inputs about each and every wild animal we came across. The exquisite part of the Sundowner was an evening snack in the midst of the dense bush with a mesmerizing sunset view. We concluded our day with little bit of shopping at the onsite souvenir shop and a lovely dinner.

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Mesmerized view during sunset….. While in the Sundowner trip…..the elephants in the picture, just added a different flavour to it

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Elephant’s Skeleton(top) and skulls of other animals – in the museum, inside Addo Elephant National Park

Next day, we headed for Port Elizabeth which is 70kms from the farm where we stayed.  PE is South Africa’s one of the largest port city and also known for its numerous beaches. We had early morning long drive to the heart of PE….. It was amazing to see the breathtaking views of the sea from the horizon.

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Skyline of Port Elizabeth

We went to the Oceanarium which is a leading attraction in the Nelson Mandela Bay. It has lot of entertainment inside… the 3rd oldest museum of South Africa …. the Seal and Penguin show…. snake museum…Aquarium….Altogether it was a lovely experience.

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Penguin show in the Bay World, one of the leading attractions of Port Elizabeth

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Seal – showcasing its skills

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Fish in the aquarium…don’t know its name…but amazed to see such a beautiful creation of God

Just enjoyed the lovely sunny weather – sand and sea. And guess what – there was a weekend  flea market just at the beach side, thoroughly enjoyed shopping and was amazed to see the local craft culture  there. It was a full day fun with mouth watering lunch at a sea side restaurant.

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The Flea market…..it shows the real talent of the local people out there in art and crafts

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The view from the restaurant – a photogenic feast to the eyes

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The Indian Ocean at its best – captured before leaving PE

We drove back to our farm in the evening…. and next day early morning we packed our bags for another marathon drive and then back to Johannesburg. It was an unique experience where the savannas meet  the ocean – capturing memories of green and blue.

 

Author : Sushmita Chatterjee (Sush)  & Dibyajyoti Chatterjee (Dj)

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