The original section of the park was founded in 1931. In part due to the efforts of Sydney Skaife, in order to provide a sanctuary for the eleven remaining elephants in the area. Addo Elephant National Park is a diverse wildlife conservation park situated close to Port Elizabeth in South Africa and is one of the country's 19 national parks. It currently ranks third in size after Kruger National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The park has proved to be very successful and currently houses more than 600 elephants and a large number of other mammals.
The original park has subsequently been expanded to include the Woody Cape Nature Reserve that extends from the Sundays River mouth towards Alexandria and a marine reserve, which includes St. Croix Island and Bird Island. Both of these islands are an important breeding habitat for gannets and penguins, not to mention a large variety of other marine life. Bird Island is home to the world's largest breeding colony of gannets and also hosts the second largest breeding colony of African penguins, the largest breeding colony being St. Croix island. More than 600 elephants, 400 Cape buffaloes, over 48 endangered black rhinos as well as a variety of antelope species. Transvaal lion and spotted hyena have also recently been re-introduced to the area. The largest remaining population of the flightless dung beetle is located within the park.
By Road / Air: Most visitors to Addo Elephant National Park fly into O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg or Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. It is possible to start your tour here on either an organized safari or on a self-drive package. Many people will drive from Cape Town to Addo via the Garden Route, over the course of a week or two. After flying into one of the major airports in South Africa, you can take a connecting flight to Port Elizabeth Airport (PLZ) and rent a car there. The distance to the park is just over 70km/43mi on a tar road. Domestic flights to Port Elizabeth can be booked with several local carriers.