Addo Buffs

My quick trip through Addo last week didn’t produce a big amount of elephants as usual.  I did get three separate Cape Buffalo sightings.  When I started working as a tourist guide 18 years ago the Cape Buffalo sightings were very few and far apart.  The Addo buffalo was basically nocturnal due to the hunting of big game that took place a hundred years earlier which lead to the buffalo starting to hide during the day and only coming out at night.  This all changed when Addo introduced lions into the park and the buffalo’s’ behavior literally took a 180 degree turnabout.  What makes the Cape Buffalo in Addo so unique is the fact that they are disease free.  The majority of buffalo throughout South Africa suffer from bovine tuberculosis (BTB) so buffalo from a place like Addo is regarded as Black Gold and is very sought after at game auctions.

Addo landscape

I was invited to the launch of the SPAR Kirkwood Wildsfees at the Addo Elephant National Park main camp yesterday and decided to take the scenic route through the park from Colchester.  Back when I was a tourist guide I used to visit the park as often as 5 or 6 times a week at one stage.  These days I don’t get to visit nearly enough and is probably lucky if I get the time to visit once or twice a year.  An absolute crying shame if you ask me.  Even though I only had about 2 hours in the park it was enough to wet my whistle for another longer visit soon.  Just got to find the time though.

I miss my ellie friends

Way back when I started working in the tourism industry I worked as a freelance tourist guide and one of the companies that used me had tours going to Addo Elephant National Park just about every day.  That means that I got to go to the park 5 or 6 times a week and I never got tired of it.  These days I don’t get to visit Addo nearly as much as I would like to and when I had the opportunity to drive through it on my way to a meeting I didn’t say no.  It was nice to spend some time with my old ellie friends, even if it was only for an hour or two.

Addo roadblock

 
Nobody likes a road block, sitting bumper to bumper behind a slow moving object or having to waste time in a stop go situation.  That is unless you get all of these because of elephants in the Addo Elephant National Park.  I had a meeting in Addo and decided to leave two hours early and swing through the park to visit my favorite trunked pachyderms.  Entering the South Gate at Colchester, I decided to do one of the loops in the south section and encountered a whole herd ambling along in the road in front of me.  Best of all, the guy in the car in front of me wasn’t one of those sighting hoggers that one often get and we took turns to be in front and take pictures, pulling over every few minutes to let the other one go in front again.  An elephant road block is the best road block. 

Random elephant "did you knows"

I haven’t done a “Random …” post in ages, so for today I’m doing three
Random elephant did you knows. 
 
An elephant’s trunk, which is a fusion of their nose and upper lip, contains over 100,000 different muscles.  African Elephants also have two finger like features on the end of their trunk that they can use to grab small items with.  Indian Elephants on the other hand only has one of those “fingers”.  An elephant can lift up to 350kg with their trunks. 

Elephants have circular feet with soft tissues or “cushion pads” beneath the manus and pes.  This helps to distribute the weight of the animal.  They appear to have an extra “toe” similar in placement to a giant panda’s extra “thumb”, that also helps with weight distribution.  Five toenails can be found on both the front and hind feet.

Elephants have their mammary glands situated between their front legs similar to humans and primates and strangely enough, they do look like breasts.
 
The pictures were all taken in the Addo Elephant National Park