Addo Elephant National Park

by Cristina  

Addo Elephant National ParkFounded in 1931, Addo Elephant National Park has been expanded to include the Woody Cape Nature Reserve which comprises the Sundays River, St. Croix Island and Bird Island.

You can take guided or self-drive tours to watch the animals in their natural habitat. Hiking, walking and horse back riding tours are also available.

Location

Addo Elephant National Park, one of South Africa’s 20 parks, is located close to Port Elisabeth.

How to get to Addo

The nearest airport is located in Port Elizabeth, at 75 km/46 miles from the park. If you are an international traveler, you need to fly first to Johannesburg or Cape Town and then take a domestic flight to Port Elisabeth.

Once arrived at the airport, you can choose between the coach services or renting your own car. Since Addo sees mostly self-drive visitors, renting a car might be the perfect option.

Take the N2 highway from Port Elisabeth and head to Grahamstown. When you see the sign “Motherwell”/ “Addo Elephant National Park” make a left turn and head to Motherwell. Follow the road and look for the entrance to the park on the right hand side of the road. The distance is 72 km/44.7 miles and takes about an hour.

The Wildlife

The park contains five of the seven major vegetation zones in South Africa and is natural habitat for the Big Seven: buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, rhinoceros, whale and great white shark.

The park is home to more than 400 elephants, 400 Cape Buffalos, 48 endangered black rhinos, lions, hyenas, antelopes and the only place where you’ll find the flightless dung beetle. Bird Island is home to gannets, penguins and a variety of marine wildlife.

Activities

Addo Elephant National Park Dung BeetleWhile visiting Addo you can choose among several types of tours. You can walk, hike, drive or horse ride.

There are several Guided Game Drives available. Booking in advance is required mostly in the high season (October to March). There are sunrise, sunset, day and night drives available.

Eyethu Hop-on is the best option for tourists. You can hire a local guide who gets on your vehicle and guides you through the area. These are locals who have been trained for such activities. If you want to hire a guide to go with you on your car, you will pay 100 ZAR for a 2 hours tour.

Self-Drive Game Viewing is also an option at Addo. Visitors pay only the conservation fee.

There are two horse trails –Addo and Zuurberg- both for rookies and advanced horse back riders.

If you prefer to walk or hike, there are several trails to choose from. Cycad Trail is only one hour while Doringnek Trail is a four hours trail, taking you to a natural water pool.

Among other activities, there is also the possibility to go bird watching, take 4×4 self-guided tours, take a dip in the swimming pool or go to a picnic.

You can read more about the guided tours at Addo on the official website.

Facilities and Accommodation

There are five camps around the park, each offering different types of accommodation.

  • Addo Rest Camp: you can choose among the campsites –both for caravans and tents -, the safari tents, forest cabins, chalets, cottages and guest houses.
  • Kabouga Rest Camp
  • Matyholweni Rest Camp: you can choose one of the two cottages available.
  • Narina Bush Camp: you can sleep at a bush camp
  • Woody Cape: you can stay in one of the huts.

Live webcams

If you want to see what’s happening at Addo, you can visit the official website and look at one of the webcams.

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