No trip to the African continent would be complete without animals, and animals we have seen. At our stop in Port Elizabeth, SA we took a tour to Addo Elephant Park. It sure lived up to its name!
Our guide’s name is Xolani and he is Xhosa. They use clicks in their language- the X represents a click. Turns out making that click sound as part of a word is a bit tricky. I managed a sort of version of his name, which made him smile. Given the repertoire of click sounds in the language I was a bit nervous that I might be saying something rude but no diplomatic incident occurred so all good.
Port Elizabeth is the departure city for Addo Park. It’s not quite fully into the Indian Ocean, but things are changing from the Atlantic side. Not quite as dry and rocky as the Cape area. We drove through areas of orange groves. Turns out the elephant park was created when the citrus groves were first planted – the elephants would come and trash the trees to get the fruit. At first they would kill the elephants but eventually they decided to remove the farms and keep the elephants in that area. Now there are some 500 in the park, along with many other animals. It was all very exciting to see and since it was just we three in our van we could sit and watch for long stretches of time.
Elephant on the right is protecting the little one. Elephant on the left was being a bit chippy. Just out of the frame are two patient zebra waiting their turn. While we were watching another Big elephant entered from stage left and everyone got out of the way!
Although this area is suffering from the drought it is not as bad as the Cape area. The water supply is managed – but sometimes things need repair. The work crew is always accompanied by a fellow with a gun – just in case. You can see why when you see these guys staring down a herd of thirsty buffalo. Good thing they are herd animals and one will follow the others. If they ever got themselves organized…. although the males would circle back and stare down the humans just in case that would move things along.