FOR the first time in the Park’s 87-year history, in excess of 300 000 visitors passed through Addo Elephant National Park’s gates during the previous financial year.
According to Fayroush Ludick, SANParks Regional Manager: Communications, a total of 305 510 guests were tallied between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018. This represents an increase of 15% on the same period in 2016/17 with 265 585 guests to the Park.
“Slightly over half of these were international tourists – 158 162 (52%), with 146 091 South Africans (47%) while 1 257 visitors from SADC countries made up the minority. Dissected into day/overnight visitors, 82% or 250 232 were day visitors, while the remaining 18%, or 55 278 were overnight guests,” says Ludick.
The majority of South African visitors to Addo originated from the Eastern Cape – 101 374 which represents 69% of the total, followed by 21% or 30 448 from the Western Cape.
Germany, Netherlands and United Kingdom were the Park’s top three overseas markets, which represented 87 146 (55%), 15 391 (10%) and 8 361 (5%) of the international market respectively.
Park Manager, Nick de Goede says, “Not only does it tell us that the Park is a destination of choice for so many people, but that confidence both in the area and in the country is also picking up.
“Our staff work exceptionally hard all year round to ensure that all our visitors receive excellent customer service. They do so under extreme conditions at times, as catering to the needs of all these people is no mean feat”.
“By putting best practices in place on the conservation front, we are able to provide top quality game viewing and a myriad of other activities all centred on our core function of nature conservation. The number of day visitors, who made up 82% of our visitors over the past 12 months, tells us that the majority of people passing through our gates do so to enjoy the Park’s fauna and flora,” de Goede continues.
There are a number of activities guests to Addo Elephant National Park, just outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, can participate in. These include self-drive game viewing, guided game drives, bird viewing, walks and hikes, horse trails and a 4x4 trail. For others wanting to spend more time in the Park by overnighting, an array of accommodation options varying from camping and caravanning, to chalets, rondawels, tented camps to more luxurious four-star options is available.