Not all South African national parks will open today

SANParks has announced that only its open-access national parks namely Golden Gate Highlands, parts of Garden Route National Park and Table Mountain National Park with the exception of Boulders Beach and Cape Point will allow access to visitors from Monday, 1 June 2020.

The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries will release a statement in due course regarding the opening of the other parks.

Parks like Addo Elephant National Park remain closed to day visitors at this stage.

The original section of Addo was founded in 1931 to provide sanctuary for the eleven remaining elephants in the area. The park currently houses more than 600 elephants.

Elephants have a highly developed matriarchal social structure and family herds consist of related females and their offspring from successive generations. The males leave their family herd at puberty (between 12 – 15 yrs old) to become loosely associated in bachelor herds or become solitary.

The females in a family group are in constant communication and protect and look after the babies of the herd.

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The matriach, usually the oldest female, is the leader of the family group and all members follow her decisions on when and where to drink and eat.

The are seven family groups in Addo Elephant Park consisting of smaller sub groups, who may break away from the rest of the group for some time, later rejoining their herd with much communication.

Due to the isolation of the Addo herd and the small original population size, many of the elephants are closely related and the genetic diversity is low.

Therefore, eight bulls from Kruger National Park were introduced to instill new genes into the Addo herd, as genetic diversity is vital for a healthy population.

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