ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK
Size: ca. 1,640 square kilometres
Established in: 1931
Distance from Port Elizabeth: 60 kilometres
It was 1931 and there were only 11 elephants left in the area… Literally at the last minute, the Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province was established to save these gentle giants from extinction in the area. Today there are over 600 elephants in ‘Addo’ as well as the four other members of the Big Five – lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo. In fact, Addo National Park is home to the ‘Big Seven’ – including the southern right whale and the great white shark.
The park is divided into six sections which extend from the Indian Ocean (Woody Cape section), over the Zuurberg Mountains (Zuurberg section) towards the arid Klein Karoo (Darlington section) and encompass various vegetation types and therefore a diversity of animal species.
Apart from majestic elephant herds, you are likely to spot many of the more than 400 Cape buffaloes and different antelope species roaming the park. With a bit of luck, you might even see one of the endangered black rhinos. Addo is accessible on a self-drive tour, allowing you to experience wildlife encounters from your rental car. As on all safaris, make sure you observe game viewing rules for your safety and the safety of the animals.
The most-visited area is the Addo Main Camp where most of the facilities are located: restaurant, shop, fuel station, interactive information centre, floodlit waterhole, underground hide and pool. Accommodation options in Addo range from 5-star in a private concession area to rustic camp sites as well as SANParks-managed forest cabins and safari tents. You can also overnight in Port Elizabeth, about 70km from the park, and enjoy Addo on a day trip.
From June to September it is dry (but cold) and animals can be seen congregating near waterholes. From October, you can – with a little bit of luck – see many new-born animals, but from December to February it can be very hot – around 40°C. You will have to share the park with a number of other visitors in June and July and December, when many visit Addo during the school holidays.
Drive from Port Elizabeth – about 1hour (72km) – to Addo Main Camp. The nearest airport is Port Elizabeth where rental vehicles can be collected. Guided day trips can be arranged.
Elephants, lions, bird watching, seeing the Zuurberg Mountains, secluded accommodation, day trips from Port Elizabeth.
Day trip, self-drive game viewing
Self-drive game viewing, guided game drives, the 2-day Alexandria hike, horse-riding (Main Camp only), bird watching at good at Woody Camp section, 4×4 trail and marine eco-tours.
If it’s a hot day, head to one of the waterholes and wait for elephants to stop by.
Visit the Interpretive Centre at the Main Camp – excellent for children as well.
Internal roads will suit all vehicle types.
Credit cards are not accepted at all camps in the park; have enough cash on hand.