Addo Elephant National Park MPA

"The Big Seven"

Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth


Encounters with bottlenose dolphins, great white sharks, orcas and four species of whale offer huge potential for marine tourism and education.

Nelson Mandela Bay has the highest percentage of endemic marine invertebrates and seaweeds along the entire South African coastline, making it a great place to conserve biodiversity. Habitats include dunes, 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. This 1200 km2 proposed MPA will make the Big Five, already protected in the Addo Elephant National Park, the Big Seven, with the protection of great white sharks and whales (brydes, minke, humpback and right). It will also protect feeding areas for the 9,000 pairs of endangered African penguins that breed on St Croix Island and the 60,000 pairs of endangered Cape gannets that breed on Bird Island. Being close to the city, the MPA will not only facilitate nature based tourism but will serve as an outdoor classroom and provide educational opportunities.



  • Important ecotourism node providing close encounters with bottlenose dolphins, whales and orcas

  • Supports recovery of KOB, a valuable and endangered fish that depends oN healthy estuaries

  • Supports recovery of abalone

  • Protects a high biodiversity area with many endemic species

  • Serves as an outdoor classroom and provides educational opportunities

  • Protects feeding areas of endangered African penguins at St Croix (9,000 pairs)

  • protects feeding areas of endangered cape gannets at Bird Island (60,000 pairs)