Elephant


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Published: September 30th 2017
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Geo: -33.5474, 25.7269

Addo Elephant National Park - known as one of the highlights of South Africa's Eastern Cape, and a must-see for tourists in this part of the country. Only a short drive away from Port Elizabeth, it should've been an easy journey, except for one problem - here in South Africa, they drive on the other side of the road. Oh, shit ...

I imagine the parking attendants at the rental office were snickering at me, as I drove in a couple of circles around the parking lot, trying to get a feel for not only the other side of the road, but also the mirrored steering wheel, and shifting left handed. There was the odd hiccup, where I almost turned into the wrong lane, but we didn't crash today, so all turned out well!

Addo is pretty cool, though being a cold and windy day, most game in the park hid out in the trees and bushes, trying to stay warm, so conditions were not ideal for viewing. We still did manage to see many elephants feeding, and sometimes even play fighting each other. Though our Chobe experience the other day was overall a better experience, I didn't think our previous elephant encounter could have been topped, but that definitely happened today.

In hindsight, we probably should have scheduled a third safari day somewhere, but today will have to do, being our last of the trip. Addo may be known for elephants, but there are some other animals here, and we were fortunate enough to see some impalas, kudus, and zebras. There are also black rhinos and a lone leopard, but we were not fortunate enough to see either one, though that's not a surprise for the leopard - our guide remarked that he's only seen it once four years ago, and that nobody is sure if it's even still alive. So there are no complaints, as the main reason for coming to Addo is the elephants, of which we saw plenty, though we could only imagine how could it would have been on a hot day, when more animals would have been out in view.

We ventured out into Port Elizabeth proper for dinner tonight, over to the Boardwalk Casino Complex. Driving over was a nightmare, as the amount of both car and foot traffic on the oceanfront drive was unbelievable, perhaps since it was New Year's Day. The Boardwalk was absolutely hopping, almost uncomfortably so, as it was simply too crowded to be enjoyable for more than a few minutes. The best part was the people watching, as Port Elizabeth seems to have a high population of hipsters, all decked out in tailored white-trimmed blazers, in bright blues and reds. While dinner wasn't great, the overall experience still beat having another Kitchen Nightmare!



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Playfighting ...Playfighting ...
Playfighting ...

... common with young male elephants, to test their strength and to learn how to fight, for the day where they will really need it.
Look Carefully ...Look Carefully ...
Look Carefully ...

... and in the middle of the picture, you'll see a rare jackal.
Awkward ....Awkward ....
Awkward ....

... I never understood why people like taking pictures with their iPads - it's neither convenient, nor does it take good pics.
Surpisingly-Good Lunch at Addo ...Surpisingly-Good Lunch at Addo ...
Surpisingly-Good Lunch at Addo ...

... you'd never expect it at a national park's restaurant, but this venison kebab was killer, served with two sauces - a red wine reduction, and a sweet chili sauce. Was a unique kebab, skewered with apricots.
Even Better ...Even Better ...
Even Better ...

... a venison stew served in a traditional pot. Flavourful and rich, the gravy was incredible, especially with some tasty African potatoes. We wished the portion was larger, as we couldn't get enough of it.
Two For One ...Two For One ...
Two For One ...

... after having lunch at 5 PM, we had wanted to have a smaller dinner, and settled on this cafe serving burgers in Port Elizabeth's Boardwalk Casino complex. We had wanted to just split a burger, but our inner cheap Asians appeared when the waitress mentioned a 2 for 1 special on burgers. The burgers weren't anything fancy but were decent, though the fries were super greasy. Their fresh fruit juices and slushes were great, the highlight of the meal.


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