Friday 2017/01/13

Addo Elephant Park – Tsitsikamma National Park


In the morning we enjoy the wonderful view from the veranda of our accommodation. A buffalo herd walks by and all sorts of birds whirl around. With a bit of sadness, we leave the Addo Elephant Park as it will be the last place we are going to be on safari. On the Garden Route, which we will be traveling from today, there will be no more spotting of wild animals.

Since we have not seen any leopards or cheetahs in the wild, we decide to make a little detour to the Daniell-Cheetah Breeding Project. There attempts have been made since 2001 to breed cheetahs and leopards, with a focus on improving the gene pool of endangered species and the interchange with other similar projects. The animals are kept here in cages, and in the end, the guided tours are not much different from a visit in a zoo. Nevertheless the one hour tour is very informative and you learn a lot about these wonderful animals and we can also ask a lot of questions. We are together with only another couple, so it is quite a private guided tour.

On the tour we also learn that we were lucky with spotting the lions yesterday. They seem to hunt only once a week or two weeks, and then only stay two or three days with the capture. The young woman who led our tour already knew about the kill in the park – "big news".

There are probably many such and similar projects like this in South Africa, which are apparently strongly controlled by the government. It is only possible with appropriate permits to move such a facility to another place or even move individual animals between the facilities. Probably this is quite good. However, what we notice on this occasion and when visiting the SAN parks (South African National Parks) is the somewhat inflationary necessity for permits. Even for leaving one of the parks you need a permit, which you have to get from the reception (at least the visitors, who are staying overnight in the parks). Bureaucracy seems to be a major issue. Perhaps it is only for the parks, where apparently enormous problems with poaching are still existing. Therefore you often have to open the car boot when leaving the parks.

In Geoffreys Bay: a small stop on the beach. Eating biscuits while watching the wave riders. Very relaxed.

Short detour and walk to a Big Tree, a Yellowwood tree with 30 m crown width and about 50 m height – very mighty and impressive.

The Storm River Mouth Campsite is what the name says. It is windy, the surf rages and the spray fogs everything. We have a cabin right on the waterfront overlooking the surf – amazing!

We hurry up to walk to the suspension bridges over the river mouth at the end of a quite deep ravine as long as there's daylight.

And we decide to go back for dinner, although we know the menu of the provider of all the restaurants in the parks pretty well and we can't see any burger anymore. As much meat as have in S.A. we probably eat in a year at home. The park is just being renovated/modernized and the restaurant is a large tent on the waterfront – one feels under the wave crests of the approximately four meters high surf and the spray sometimes foams into enormous heights.

Speaking of modernization: this camp has already somehow arrived in modern times and so instead of tea and cookies there's a TV set, which however we don't use!