A self-drive game drive yields wildlife notes from Addo Elephant National Park and photos of warthogs, red-necked spurfowl, ostrich, elephant and red hartebeest.
After shopping in Port Elizabeth, Vilis and I popped into Addo Elephant National Park to buy a Wild Card (national park pass) on our way home to Grahamstown. Since we had a couple hours of daylight left, we did a game drive through the southern end of the park. We paused to watch warthogs grazing at the roadside and heard tearing sounds as they ripped off mouthfuls of green grass. A female knelt to graze and shuffled along on her knees as she foraged, her mouth conveniently close to the ground.
A black-backed jackal loped across the red dirt road. Red-necked spurfowl wandered along the roadside, bobbing their heads as they pecked at the ground. A pair of ostriches slowly worked their way through a meadow, with their necks, lifting, dropping, stretching. As we watched, it struck me that ostriches’ necks are like elongated, flexible arms, and their beaks are like agile fingers. The female repeatedly plucked broad-leaved plants from among the grasses.
Warm sunshine and light breezes played over thorny thickets and open meadows. On a hillside covered with tree euphorbias and low trees, a bull elephant tore off leafy branches – we could hear the sharp snap of branches breaking – and stuffed them in its mouth. The elephant also ripped off hunks of prickly pear cactus and devoured them like thorns had never been invented.
Late afternoon was definitely feeding time. Kudus and a lone African buffalo grazed in a lush meadow. Red hartebeests and zebras foraged amid dried grasses on an exposed hillside. We spotted two more black-backed jackals and a caracal – a medium-sized South African cat – on the move, perhaps seeking prey. Black harriers winged over open grassland. We looked for lions but saw none today. Even a quick visit yielded delightful observations and notes from Addo Elephant National Park. Well done, Addo!