Kudu Ridge Game Lodge is a privately owned, family-run game reserve in the heart of Addo’s malaria-free Eastern Cape in South Africa. The main entrance to the Big 5 Addo Elephant National Park lies a short 15 minutes drive away. Addo park is famous for being home to one of the densest populations of African savannah elephants on earth. Read on to find out more about elephant behaviour on an Addo safari.
Addo Safari: History of Addo Elephant
Addo Elephant National Park is one of South Africa’s 19 national parks. It is the third largest park after Kruger National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. According to the South African National Parks website the Addo park protects 170,000 hectares of land (1,700 km²) and 120,000 (1,200 km²) of Marine Protected Areas (MPA).
The original park was founded in 1931 in order to provide a sanctuary for the 11 remaining African savannah elephants in the area. The area proved to be a very good location for an expanding elephant population and is currently home to approximately 600 elephants.
The African savannah elephant is the largest mammal on earth. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists this species as vulnerable, one category better off than endangered. Although numbers are increasing in areas such as Addo, elephant poaching is causing serious threats to elephant populations in other areas in Africa. The elephant conservation work carried out at the Addo National Park is so important to secure a safe home for these gentle giants. The park offers visitors the opportunity to observe the interesting, and sometimes human-like, behaviour of these pachyderms.
Addo Safari: Elephant Behaviour
Here is our list of seven key elephant behaviours to watch for when observing elephant on safari in the Addo Elephant National Park.
- SPEED: African elephant can move at speed! They tend to meander along at a slow pace but when it comes to a charge you don’t want to be in their way! Elephants have been know to reach speeds of up to 40km/hour.
- INTELLIGENCE: Elephants are very intelligent creatures. They manifest a wide variety of behaviors, including mimicry, play, altruism, using tools, compassion, cooperation, self-awareness, memory and communication.
- EMOTION: African elephants display and feel real emotion. They grieve and bury their dead. Elephants live in close-knit herds and live for around 70 years so they form strong bonds with those around them.
- SUN PROTECTION: The African sun can be pretty harsh, especially during the height of summer. African savannah elephants seek out natural sunscreen and cover themselves with mud to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays. If you see them spraying mud over the backs with their trunks, then you know they are applying sunscreen.
- AFFECTION: Elephants hug and console each other with their trunks. They hug each other by intertwining their trunks to show affection. They also put their trunks in the mouths of other elephants to offer comfort through physical contact.
- UNIQUENESS: The unique shape and features of elephant’s ears is used to identify individuals. There is an elephant in the Addo Elephant National Park called Ougat, who can be distinguished by a hole in his ear.
- SWIMMERS: African elephant enjoy swimming and are good at it! Their trunks become snorkels so that they can swim and breathe while underwater. They move all four legs with ease and can swim quite fast using their big bodies help them float.
We offer guided half and full day Addo tours into the Addo Elephant National Park in our off-road Toyota Fortuner. We would love to watch and discuss elephant behavior with you during your Addo safari. Enquire when booking at Kudu Ridge Game Lodge.
Autumn/Winter Addo Safari Accommodation Special
Enjoy 35% off accommodation (bed & breakfast) staying until the 30 April & 50% off (bed & breakfast) when staying in May and June 2019. Minimum 2 night stay. Accommodation is on a bed and breakfast basis in safari tents and chalets. Dinners are available and must be booked in advance.