10 Things You Didn’t Know about Elephants at Addo National Park

Elephants are truly magnificent creatures. They have human-like qualities that endear them towards us and there is so much that we can learn from their temperaments and companionship. They have no real predators out in the wild or in reserves, and yet their numbers dwindle gravely. How does this happen, considering humans are their only real threat and they are so loved by so many?

Unfortunately, the ivory trade is still alive and well in Africa and beyond, and the lack of adequate environments and space for them to thrive is still an issue conservationists struggle with, daily. That’s why the work of Addo National Park is so important, offering people the chance to encounter these majestic animals and to gain a better understanding of their role in our future.

Want to know more about the elephants you’ll meet at the park?

As one of the most prized elephant sanctuaries in Southern Africa, Addo Elephant Park is home to approximately 600 elephants. You might be surprised to learn that:


  • An elephant’s brain weighs the same as some human toddlers. Clocking in at an amazing 5.4kgs (11.9lb) on average, African elephants are undeniably smart and can even learn behaviours and feel strong emotions.
  • Elephants are typically pregnant for 22 months – That’s more than twice the period of human pregnancies and the longest gestation period of all mammals.
  • They grieve for, and bury, their dead. Elephants are known for their heart-wrenching displays of emotion when they realise one of their herd members is no longer with them.
  • Elephants seek out natural sunscreen. By covering themselves with mud, African elephants are able to protect themselves from the harsh UV rays of the sun.
  • They move at speeds of up to 40km/h – the speed limit for a tractor on a road. This is the maximum speed they can reach when they charge, making them a force to be reckoned with.
  • Elephants hug with their trunks. While it’s physically impossible for elephants to stay upright and embrace with their arms, they “hug” each other by intertwining their trunks to show affection.
  • The African Elephants at Addo are identified by their ears – which are mostly shaped like the continent of Africa. They’re very large in order to help create a larger surface area for cooling themselves off.
  • Elephants are nature’s snorkelers. Elephants actually enjoy swimming and use their trunks to go into the water and breathe at the same time – much like a human would use a snorkel.

Would you like to experience an encounter with these incredible mammals? Book your stay at Woodall Country House & Spa, and meet these rare and humbling creatures face-to-face.