Monday, 8 February 2016
08.02.2016 - 08.02.2016
A solid overcast and occasional light showers greeted our arrival in Port Elizabeth. My left knee was still causing me discomfort and I decided to forgo the exercise on the open deck. After breakfast we assembled in the Wheelhouse Bar for our tour to the Addo Elephant National Park. The park is located 72 Km North of Port Elizabeth and is home to about 600 elephants in an area of 108,000 hectares. The drive to the park took about 90 minutes along mainly multilane highway.
After a quick comfort stop at one of the park entrances our driver took us along many sealed tracks and stopped whenever there were significant wildlife sightings. Visitors are prohibited from leaving their vehicles and consequently all photography was through glass which took the edge off the focus. While the park was primarily established to protect the remnant elephant population it is home to hundreds of mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Of the long list of residents we saw and in most cases photographed; Zebra, Cape Buffalo, Warthog, Elephants, Eland, Kudu, Red Hartebeest, Leopard Tortoise and the Flightless Dungbeetle. Other famous residents include Rhino, Leopard and Lions. Some of the rarer animals have been introduced from other national parks to create a balanced population.
After two and a half hours we returned to the park entrance for a visit to the obligatory 'Gift Shop'. The absolute bargain for me was the excellently presented "Official Guide" at 40 rand (AU$4.00) easily worth three times that price. The shopping must have been good, one couple finally managed to return to the coach 15 minutes late. There was little impact but I can't understand such rude behaviour. The trip back to the ship was uneventful and we were back in time for a late lunch.
Today is likely to go down as the highlight of an incredible series of tours here in South Africa. All Aboard is 19:30 and dinner is 'Open Seating' so we'll most likely eat in the Horizon Court or as one wit in the lift called it "The Horror Zone". A simple snack and we're off to the Theatre to spend an hour with a wacky Welshman Taffy Spencer. His jokes were generally very clever and funny and his magic was clever. Not sure if he's a better comedian than magician or the other way around. A fun hour regardless.
A simple collage of an Elephant, warthog, buffalo and a zebra forms today's image, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony