One of the spots you can get out of your car in Addo Elephant National Park is Domkrag Dam. It was named after a mountain tortoise called Domkrag that used to walk under cars and looked like he was trying to lift them up. Domkrag is the Afrikaans word for jack, as in a jack to lift a car. Other places you are allowed to get out of your car includes Zuurkop, the Spekboom enclosure, Jack’s picnic spot, Algoa Bay lookout and the Ndlovu lookout. At each of these you get out of you car at your own risk and need to stay alert at all times.
A Buffalo having a drink at one of the waterholes in Addo Elephant National Park with the Zuurberg Mountains in the background.
The Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is one of Africa’s Big 5, are grazers that feed mainly on grass and are known to kill lions while defending their own. A bull can weigh between 650 to 1000 kg, the distance between the tips of its horns can reach upwards of one meter and the buffalo kills more hunters than any other species.
I think one of visitors to Addo Elephant National Park’s favorite parts is seeing baby elephants. They are cute and look cuddly, are very inquisitive and draws many ooohhh’s and aaahhh’s. Here are a couple of “Did you know” facts about baby elephants.
- An elephant’s gestation period is 22 months. The longest pregnancy of all mammals.
- A baby elephant is called a calf
- When a calf is born it can weigh up to 90kg and stands about 1 meter high
- Like all other baby animals a baby elephant is very vulnerable to predator’s. For the first three months he will stay very close to his mother at all times for food, warmth and support.
- The elephant is the only animal other than primates that have their mammary glands in the form of what looks like “breasts” between their front legs.
- A baby elephant can consume over 11 liters of milk a day
- The calf only gets weaned off at between five and 10 years of age so you will often see bigger calves still drinking from their mothers.
- For the first year of their lives the baby elephant can’t really control their trunk. They need to learn how to use it like a baby human needs to learn to walk.
- When a calf grows up the females will stay with the herd for life, while males leave to begin a solitary life at about 12 to 14 years of age. They are normally pushed out the family group when they start to show an interest in the females.
How beautiful is that sky at Sardinia Bay?
No wonder it’s the most popular spot to go and view the sunset here in Port Elizabeth
Last week while Miggie was playing cricket at Heatherbank Cricket Club / Youth Cricket Academy in Walmer, I strolled around the field to get some pics of her batting. Passing the nets I noticed foot prints in the cement and had a closer look.
They weren’t dog prints or cat prints or even those of some little kid. It looks like an Egyptian Goose decided to take a stroll through the cement while it was still wet.
It’s a weird feeling standing under the Van Stadens bridge. It’s not an angle many see it from and you get a much better idea of the size and magnitude of the bridge when you are underneath it. Then add the “kadoef kadoef” as the cars and trucks pass overhead. Definitely a weird feeling.
It’s an easy walk to get below the bridge from the bridge lookout picnic spot so you don’t have to do one of the longer trails to get to it. Go for it and go and check it out.
Last Saturday we went for a walk at the Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve and followed the River Walk up to the point where you walk under the Van Stadens Bridge. It truly is a sight from below, but I think I’ll keep that photo for a second post.
The bridge was completed on 12 October 1971 and stretches 198m across the gorge and is 125m at its highest point. The bridge was designed by Italian engineers and the two halves of the arch were constructed simultaneously from both sides. As one walks up next to the bridge on the northern side there is a cement block that was used as the point from where all the measurements were done.
A CCTV system was installed in 2005 with a 2,7m high steel mesh pedestrian barrier constructed on both sides of the bridge in 2013 to deter suicide jumpers. You aren’t allowed to stop on the bridge to enjoy the view, but you can view the bridge from the bottom of the Van Stadens Pass as well as from the wildflower reserve.
Anybody who used to live in Port Elizabeth a decade or more ago would probably not believe their eyes when they see what has happened to the dune at Sardinia Bay and how one can’t get down to what used to be the parking anymore. On Saturday afternoon I was standing on the dune looking at the parking area and wondering how long it will take before the landscape around here changes again.
After it’s been raining all morning, the sun is out and it’s a beautiful early autumn afternoon at Sardinia Bay. Here’s hoping for a stunning sunset.
Norm Hudlin on Kragga Kamma Road was created to offer mountain bikers a variety of easy routes in a safe environment. Quickly it also became a popular spot for a jog or a walk and lately it is the hub for families enjoying the painted rocks phenomena. Norm Hudlin is now also home to Gnomesville PE, which was a long time dream of local resident Graham Chrich, or plainoldgraham as his Geocaching friend know him. Graham got to visit a gnomesville village in Western Australia in the Furgeson Valley where there now nearly 10 000 gnomes and just knew that he wanted to starts something similar in Port Elizabeth for the delight of both locals and visitors. .
The community of silent dwarves in Australia actually began as a whimsical protest some 20 years ago. As the Gnomesville website explains, a small bit of land in Ferguson Valley was annexed by the local government to create a roundabout. Despite an outcry from the nearby residents, the roundabout was installed, and tensions simmered. Then at some point, a gnome appeared. At first there as just one in a tree hollow, but after a few months, there were around 20. The collection continued to grow as visitors and locals alike came and dropped off their own little statues. In the decades since their first appearance the army of gnomes had exploded into the thousands. For a time, theft and vandalism stunted the growth of the little population, but today the site is fairly well respected and continues to grow as people bring their own gnomes to add to the community and estimates are that there are around 10 000 of them now.
Graham got permission from the owners of Norm Hudlin to set aside a small section for Gnomeville PE and with the help of some of his Geocaching friends he started to set up his dream. Gnomesville PE was launched on 21 February 2021 and the first gnomes have taken occupation of the land. Unlike painted rocks the gnomes may not be taken away, but everybody is invited to add gnomes to the community. Get yourself a painted gnome or paint it yourself, ad your own special touch to it and even place your name on him or her somewhere. And most importantly, come and visit them often.
It was awesome to see Graham when we popped in the weekend after the launch and he was really very excited about what it could look like someday.