Addo Elephant National Park | South Africa Travel Tips & Reviews | Africa Point
Addo Elephant National Park
Elephant, Addo Elephant N.P., South Africa
Addo Elephant National Park
Hartebeest, Addo Elephant N.P., South Africa
Addo Elephant National Park
Kudus, Addo Elephant N.P., South Africa
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Addo Elephant National Park


Walk in the footsteps of giants...come and be thrilled and awed by the wonderful animals of the Addo Elephant Park.  Here a close encounter of the Elephant kind awaits you around every corner as huge herds of African Elephant go about their daily lives just metres from your camera lens!


Best time to visit:

A year-round destination – best months for game viewing are the dry season from May to September.

Average Visitor Rating:

5 out of 5 'Pawprints' Based on 0 Review(s)
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Pachyderm Paradise

The Addo Elephant Park is a world-class game reserve, and the third largest National Park in South Africa.  Forget the Big the Addo Elephant Park we have the Big Seven!  This is the only game reserve in the world to include all of the Big Seven, namely Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Rhino, Leopard, Southern Right Whale and Great White Shark in their natural habitats.  In addition, the Park also includes the St Croix and Bird Islands, which host the world’s largest breeding colony of Cape Gannets (Bird Island) and second-largest breeding colony of Penguins (St Croix).  The Park is vast, (180,000 Ha) and stretches from the semi-arid Karoo section in the north, over the rugged Zuurberg mountains to the coastline in the south, encompassing five of the country’s biomes and offering outstanding diversity.


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The Elephants of Addo, the Big Seven and the Humble Dung Beetle

The Elephants of Addo 

The Addo Elephant Park is widely acknowledged to be one of the finest places in the country to go Elephant viewing.  When the Park was established in 1931 there was a pressing need to protect the last 16 remaining elephants in the region.  Today there are over 550 elephant in the Park (the densest population of any Park in the country), moving around in large herds, and you are assured of some excellent viewing opportunities.  It is one of the few National Parks where it is really common to come across a large herd of these regal and very social animals bathing in the waterholes, feeding or just relaxing.  


The Big Seven

In addition to great Elephant viewing, you can also expect to see plenty of other animals, including Lion, Rhino, African Buffalo, and the elusive Leopard.  The Marine representatives of the Big Seven are a little less obvious...the Southern Right Whales are migratory residents and the Great White Sharks are well hidden!!  However, it is possible to go on a guided Marine Eco Tour to get a little closer to them.


The Dung Beetle

Although it may not seem like much of a draw card, the humble Flightless Dung Beetle has the Right of Way on the roads of Addo, and there are even Beetle Caution road signs!  You are asked to do your best to avoid driving over any buffalo or elephant dung on the roads as it may be an incubator for the eggs of this little creature which has a “Vulnerable” conservation status.  Look out for them and observe their antics as they work ceaselessly to roll large dung balls several time their size up and down the road!



Safaris in the Addo National Park 

Guided Game Drives

Although it is possible to self-drive in the Addo National Park you will definitely enjoy a more rewarding experience on a guided Game Drive.  Not only are your guides knowledgeable and experienced, but they also have insider info on where the game hang out!


Marine Eco Tours 

On one of these private tours you will have an excellent opportunity to see breaching Great Whites, several species of Whales and Dolphins, Cape Fur Seals, Penguins, Gannets and many more marine animals. 


Horseback Safaris 

If you enjoy riding then a horse trail is an excellent way to see the animals, and move around very close to them.  You need to be an experienced rider to undertake this trail as it does go through Big Five territory, and although activity is monitored in the area, you do need to be able to control your mount.


Alexandria Hiking Safari

What could be more exciting than actually observing the animals on foot?  The Alexandria Trail is a 32km loop with one overnight stop in a base camp.  You need to be relatively fit and fearless for this trail, but we will take care of your provisions and you just need to carry a snack and some water.  Remember your hat and sun-screen!



Other Activities in and around Addo Park

Daniell Cheetah Breeding Reserve

Most people would not consider the fastest land animal to be endangered, but the Cheetah does not have an easy life; it is fiercely hunted by man in farming areas, and the young are taken by Lion in the game reserves. Until several breeding programs were established, there was a great deal of interbreeding in the country’s game parks resulting in a declining gene pool.  At this breeding centre you can spend time with tame Cheetahs and learn about the conservation project and the plight of the Cheetah.


Quad Biking Adventure

Go on a 2 hour quad bike trail with a stop at a viewpoint.  All equipment provided.


Shamwari Born Free Conservation Centre 

This centre is home to 9  Big Cats, five Lions and four Leopards, who live in large enclosures, (about the size of 2 football fields) in a very natural habitat.  We have all been horrified to see pictures of Big Cats held in horrendous circumstances; the Born Free foundation is dedicated to the plight of wild animals that are held captive in confined or unsuitable environments all over the world, and several of these wonderful creatures have been rescued from captivity in small cages and brought to Shamwari to live the rest of their lives in a more natural environment. This is an educational facility, as well as a safe haven for its 9 inhabitants, all of which cannot be re-introduced to the wild.  So if the Leopard has eluded you on your safari, this is a good opportunity to see one up close.   



Accommodation in the Addo National Park

There is a wide range of accommodation options available in and around the Addo Park.  Inside the Park there are several camps belonging to SAN Parks (South African National Parks) to suit all budgets.  However, why not spoil yourself with a little luxury and opt for one of the private camps that are dotted all around the Park.  Here accommodation could be in a self-catering chalet, a 5-Star luxury bush lodge or a wonderful luxury tented camp with its own water hole.  All the accommodation is strategically sited in excellent game viewing areas, and some offer swimming pools, wellness Spas and more.  Several of the camps are also suitable for those in wheelchairs.  Outside the National Park there are also many other accommodation choices – B&B’s, luxury lodges and other private hotels and camps.



How to Get There

Addo Elephant Park is situated in the Eastern Cape, just an hour by road from Port Elizabeth.  International flights are available to Johannesburg and Cape Town, where you can catch a connecting local flight to Port Elizabeth.  You could also drive to Addo from Cape Town, along the famous Garden Route scenic drive – about 6 hours.



Best Time to Visit

Addo is a year-round destination with a very moderate climate where the temperature is between 10C and 30C all year round. May to September are the driest months when the game tend to congregate around the water holes, while November to February is high season and the park could be quite busy.  Addo Park is not situated in a Malaria risk area and no medication is required.


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