Addo Elephant National Park MPA

"The Big Seven"

Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth


Encounters with bottlenose dolphins, great white sharks, orcas and four whale species make this a hotspot for marine tourism and education.

Nelson Mandela Bay has the highest percentage of endemic marine invertebrates and seaweeds along the entire South African coastline. This 1200 km2 MPA was proclaimed in 2019 and expands on the original Bird Island MPA established in 2013. The MPA protects a wide range of ecosystems, including sandy beaches, rocky shores, reefs, an estuary and islands. Protection of the estuary and reefs are important for the recovery of valuable fisheries resources such as abalone and kob. The MPA increases the Big Five - found within the Addo Elephant National Park - to the Big Seven through the protection of great white sharks and whales (brydes, minke, humpback and right). The MPA protects important feeding areas for the 9,000 pairs of endangered African penguins breeding at St Croix Island and the 60,000 pairs of endangered Cape gannets breeding at Bird Island. Being close to the city, the MPA facilitates nature-based tourism and serves as an outdoor classroom for educational activities.



  • Protects a high biodiversity area with many endemic species

  • protects estuary and supports the recovery of KOB

  • protects overexploited abalone

  • Protects feeding areas of endangered African penguins

  • protects feeding areas of endangered cape gannets

  • Maintains attractions for marine ecotourism

  • provides outdoor classroom and educational opportunities