Conservation is at the heart of the Addo Elephant Park

The Addo Elephant Park is fast becoming the premier game reserve in South Africa with a full compliment of the Big Five as well as a vast array other animals ranging from most buck species that roam Sub-Saharan Africa and more birds than you can shake a Robert’s at. The Kruger National Park was once considered the only game reserve worth visiting for overseas tourists, the Addo Elephant Park, although well known, was always the second cousin that only housed elephants and was visited by Capetonians during school holidays. Today the Addo Elephant Park has grown exponentially both in size and reputation and its dedication to conservation above all else is well known.

Addo accommodation has also come on from the early days and now many Addo lodges can be ranked among some of the best accommodation in the country, if not the world. With some Addo Lodges being ranked up to five stars it is small wonder that they are becoming popular for both local and foreign visitors looking for a luxury getaway off the tourist track.

Conservation lies at the very root of the Addo Elephant Park, started in 1931 as a sanctuary for the last remaining elephants in the area after an extensive culling program had whittled their numbers down to just 16. The sanctuary was started on just 5000ha by Sydney Skaife in his capacity has chairman and founder of the Wild Life Protection and Conservation Society. Today it covers 164 000ha with plans to extend to 360 000ha over the next few years.

The same spirit of conservation governs the rules and regulations for anybody wanting to open an Addo Lodge. Informative game drives are on the itinerary of most Addo Lodges and they provide information and access to natural beauty that leaves the guests with a greater appreciation of their natural surroundings and the importance of preserving the delicate ecosystem that exists in Sub-Saharan Africa. As well as educating visitors about conservation an Addo Lodge is also required to operate in an eco-friendly way with regards to waste disposal, water usage and power generation.

The Addo Elephant Park has recently expanded to include a marine wildlife reserve which shows their dedication to conservation of all types. This also means that they are now the only game reserve in the world that can boast having the Big Seven, as they now count the Great White Shark and the Southern Right Whale among the animals that fall under their protection.

Conservation doesn’t just end with the environment and the Addo Elephant Park operates its business under the belief that the local community must benefit from the park or it will never be successful. This is why an Addo Lodge strives to employ locals and provide them with skills they can take elsewhere. An Addo Lodge dedicated to the same ethics as the Addo Elephant Park will give back to the community through donations and sponsorships.

“Elephants never forget” so the old saying goes! How many people have been able to test this or quite how they would have tested this is unknown. Perhaps it is just one of those thing people say that don’t make any sense, like don’t pull a face when the wind changes direction or the Addo Elephant National Park only houses elephants.