Sunday, July 8, 2012

Elephants and so much more at ADDO

 Hi everyone,  We had the opportunity to go to Addo, a South African National Park.  It was such an amazing day especially when you see how it started out.  For all you who know why we are in SA to be missionaries it doesn't mean we can't take advantage and enjoy this beautiful country.  We are having an amazing opportunity to serve the people and enjoy this country rich in natural beauty.  We hope you enjoy our journey this week.

 We started our day with rain.  The clouds just continued to be just ahead of us.
We could see touches of blue sky in front of us at every turn but just out of reach.  We heard that when it rains the elephants stay deep in the bush.

As we entered Addo the wind was blowing really hard and it looked like rain, but we pressed forward. Elder Richins asked how much it would be and the guy at the gate said, 50 Rand if you are resident and 150 for visitors.  When we went into by the tickets knowing that the elders couldn't afford the 150 Rand again Elder Richins went up to the desk and ask for a deal, surprise,surprise!  Well, it worked we all got in for 38 Rand each.  There where 8 of us.

Our first sighting, and we were so excited to see any animal.  We had been driving for about 1 hour.

This guy just decided to cross the road right in front of us.  He really was a big ostrich and he was going somewhere fast.

This is a Hartebeest notice the beautiful markings on the ears and the distinguishable horns.  You get all 3 views, front, side and back.
This is a termite mound.  They are very large if you wanted to take one home it would fill your truck.

A warthog family.  We saw so many and the are not the cuties animal I have every seen.
I love it when they will just sit a pose for you.  There are so many beautiful birds and I need to get a book so I can tell you their names.

It was time for lunch and since we couldn't get out of our car we had to find the picnic area. So down this curved road to the entrance to the "COMPOUND".  We were the ones in the cage.  We even had to go through gates to be safe, and even then the signs all said, "animals can get inside please be aware of your surroundings".

Notice the beautiful sky, no wind and just beautiful clouds to enjoy.  We couldn't get out of our car  though Elder Speed kept climbing out of the window to get a better picture.  This is one time he was glad he was vertically challenged and small enough to navigate the back window.

Lunch at the very nice picnic area.  Sweet Chili Sauce with cream cheese, yum! 

Leaving the compound

After lunch we were determined to find some more animals.  We had seen dropping, large, massive droppings all morning, now was the time to see the animals that left those droppings.

We walked down this trail to a watering hole, but alas not an animal is sight.  I couldn't resist taking a picture of these good looking animals.  They are always ready to show off.  They might be the only animals I see this afternoon.  It has been several hours since we saw any wild life.


He was a long way away, but after our morning I wasn't going to hope that we would see more.  So I enjoyed taking as many pictures as I could. He was in the clearing for about 10 minutes then he just walked to the left and was gone into the brush.  This brush camouflages them so easily.

Things started to pick up though we went another hour before seeing anything.  We saw several cars off to the side of the road.  So we stopped to see what they were looking at.  Two lions in the meadow, of course they were so far away I couldn't get a picture but with Elder Speed's binoculars we could see them just lounging in the sun.  They did pick up their heads so we could see they mains.

Kudu, with and without the antlers.  I love the big guy staring at me as I took this picture.  He was very close.

Look at those ears and eyes and it even looks like he has a smile on his face.

The two Kudu together

Things are picking up it is about 4 pm and the sun will be setting about 5:30.  We see up ahead the other car of elders and they have "an" elephant close by so we hurry along the road to hopefully get to see this guy up close.  As we come around the bend we see more than one.  I tried to be selective with my pictures.  It was so amazing to see so many.  I think we counted about 15 or 20 in the hour we spend here.

This guy was sooooo close.  You can see the hairs on him.

Notice the eye lashes
The baby, he even looks like he has a smile on his face.
Elephants on the right side of the road

Elephants on the left side of the road
 We had elephants crossing in front of us and behind us.  I hope you got a glimpse of what we were able to see.  It was an amazing experience.  Elder Richins had Addo at the bottom of his list by the time we left Addo it was at the TOP!

As we were getting ready to leave the park, it closed at 5:30.  We wound our way up to the top of the world in Addo and had to take a couple of pictures.

No worry's! The lions where all lounging in the meadows today

Elder Richins said he needs to look into the camera, but this shot is one of my favorites.

This guy was lumbering down the road as we where heading towards the exit.  He walked right by our car towards the
watering hole. 

He never took his eyes off the waterhole.  You could almost feel the car vibrate has he walked by.

If you look carefully you will see the rhinoserous.  As we were trying to get to the exit on time Elder Dladla said STOP! I just saw a rhino on the side of the hill.  Heck with getting out on time.  Elder Richins backed up and we enjoyed our sighting of the Rhino. 

We had seen Zebra in the distance but this gal was right next to the road.

What a day! From rain to wind to no animals, to many animals, to this!  All in one day.  We were so blessed to enjoy so much.  And to really thank our Heavenly Father for this breathe taking world we live in.

As we entered Port Elizabeth it was raining and had been raining all day, which is only about 30 minutes from Addo.
We hope you all have a blessed week.  Enjoy your summer and the beautiful part of the world you are in this week.

Love, Elder and Sister Richins
Lynn and Miriam


  1. Wow, great pictures of the animals! What a great adventure you're on!

  2. not quite like the zoo is it?