Today we started our self-drive safari at Addo Elephant Park. In all, we spent seven hours hunting down and exploring the wildlife in the SAN Park {South African National Park system}.


Initially, I was not sure we would be capable of findingĀ  the animals ourselves, as it is the third largest park in the country. Well armed with a map, guide book and cameras, we set off to try! Almost instantly we found the warthog, which we had not seen earlier.


They are quite fun animals, running around, staring at us for photos, playing together. When they run, their tails shoot straight up into the air! They are such funny animals, sticking together in their family units.
As the day prigressed, we spotted a small herd of zebra at a watering hole.


Check out the little guy in the back!! Luckily, Chad had his really good camera, as he got some wicked close ups. {ALL of the photos and writing I am doing here is from my mobile.}
The watering hole was a good find, the zebra were quite happy to be there. As the day went on, we were never at a dull moment.
We spotted two large male lion sitting full and happily at the end of a field. We enjoyed them so much that we ate lunch there. Again, my phone camera could not capture them at such a far distance, but our camera sure did!! The animals must have all been in great moods today, for the lions simply laid about happily and content. However, at one point, a brave kudu ventured into the same field and saw the two lions. The kudu assessed the situation with grave care, walking in and out of the field, always keeping his eyes on the seemingly snoozing predators. Finally, after 20 minutes the kudu bolted across the field at top speed, making it safely to the other side. We completely felt as though we had witnessed a Discovery Wild show in the making: “brave kudu barely escapes, heart pounding!! Luckily, the male lions were full, lazy and too busy digesting to chase down this easy target!!”
Onward we drove {after a lucky, patient hour of lion watching, they truly are quite lazy cats, Chad got a photo of one of the males rolled completely over onto his back, just as your house cat would do} and found elephant! Being that the park contains 500 elephant, we were sure we would find then easily. Not so, however, as 7 out of the day 10 we spotted today were lumbering through the bush at a great distance away. They were simply brown rectangles in the green bush. Until we came upon these two elephant.


They were so very close, I was so tempted to get out of the car and touch one of them; the baby of course!! We watched them eat and eat and eat. They ate the very prickliest of bushes, too!


I could not believe they just munched on these gigantic thorny shrubs! We sat here, again, in awe of our great fortune to see such a sight.
Our day continued with such wonder, as we happened upon the flightless dung beetle.


We were able to capture such great photos of this guy hurrying off to do his work for the day. The brochure for Addo literally states not to drive over the elephant poop, as the dung beetles are in it!
As our long day wore on, we got to experience another epic moment: a mating game of the ostrich.


Approximately four male ostrich were in hot pursuit of two females. The display of feathers dancing, the chase, the almost capture were all a massive part of this display.


We watched and giggled as the ostrich ran so unusually across the grassland area of Addo. We caught a video of this happening, well, two videos, actually, as we and another car were the only souls witnessing this experience! We ended our evening, having driven from the top of the Main Camp at Addo Elephant Park through the bottom of the park at Camp Matyholweni and onward to Port Elizabeth for pizza, in a gas station, by the Indian Ocean.
Do we feel beat, yes. But, we cannot stop laughing and smiling about the luck and amazement that is South Africa.



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