Addo Elephant National Park is situated at, not more than an hour’s journey, approximately 72 km north of Port Elizabeth in South Africa. The Park covers an area of about 1480 square kilometres on land, combining an area of 1200 square kilometres of marine environment as well. The original reserve was set up in 1931 to protect the last 11 elephants that were left out after the merciless killing of these huge beasts by the hunters and farmers in the 19th and 20th centuries.
It was in 1954 that Graham Armstrong, the then manager of Addo National Park succeeded in devising an elephant proof fence, which is made use of even today, popularly known as the Armstrong Fence. In this way, he could protect 22 endangered elephants, who are around 450 in number by the continuous effort and care taken by the forest authorities.
It is because of the huge size and vast location of the Addo National Park that it has a great variety of habitats, a total of 5 among the 7 biomes seen within South Africa, which supports a stunning variety of vegetation, birdlife and wildlife. The mammals found in the Addo Elephant National Park, which require special mention, include the beautiful Gemsbok antelopes, less popular black wildebeest and the black rhino. Buffaloes are also found in great numbers. Because of the presence of the antelopes and buffaloes, the king of the forest can also be spotted at frequent intervals. The beautiful brown hyenas, Cape Mountain Zebra, nocturnal aardwolf, mountain reedbuck and blue duiker also capture the attention of many.
Most of the Addo Elephant National Park is made of sub-tropical thicket. The biome is so dense that it is impenetrable, consisting of low shrubs and succulent trees. The tall and spiky aloes, and the euphorbia which are wrapped with pink flowers during the blooming season, are definitely a catchy sight. Owing to the presence of dense forests, the Addo Elephant National Park is a secured refuge to hundreds of species of bird life too!