Addo Elephant National Park near the city of Port Elizabeth is the third-largest national park in South Africa, and home of the Big Seven added the Great White Shark and Southern Right Whale. Furthermore, the park features the largest and least degraded coastal dune field in the southern hemisphere, located in the coastal section of the park along with Bird and St Croix islands.
Addo covers approximately 180 000 hectares and includes a large variety of vegetation types ranging from Nama Karoo to fynbos, Albany thicket, and even forest. The original section of the park was proclaimed to protect the Elephants when only 11 remained in the area. Today, however, the park is a haven for them and also home to lion, leopard, spotted hyena, Cape mountain zebra, red hartebeest and Cape buffalo amongst others. Signs throughout the park give right of way to the famous flightless dung beetle, today one of the most famous residents of the park.
Visitors will not run out of things to do. The main rest camp is abuzz with activities. There are two hides to view the game from and an interpretive centre to occupy the kids. There is a curio shop, restaurant, as well as a spa in the main rest camp. Alternatively, you can embark on guided game drives, horse riding and 4×4 trails.
Port Elizabeth has an international airport with car rental facilities available. The drive from the airport to the main gate is approximately 70km.
The different sections of the park are not connected by a road network and it is often required to travel vast distances outside the park.
The park is vast, so to see every section and explore it properly, at least a week is required.
No, please contact the park to find about the activities on offer in the area you plan to visit.
The Alexandria Coastal section of the park is very secluded with no facilities at the beach itself. There are no life guards on duty and you will not find any crowds. Always be aware of your surroundings for your safety.
Youngsters will especially love the main rest camp as there is plenty do do within the safety of the camp. Elephants and other wildlife regularly drink at the waterhole at the underground hide. There is a play area for the youngsters and the interpretive center is also extremely interesting.
There is a small shop, restaurant and a fuel station in the main rest camp.
The most famous resident in the park must be the Elephant, along with the Flightless Dung Beetle. The game area is home to the Big Five, although leopard sightings are extremely rare. The coastal section is home to the Great White Shark and the Southern Right Whale. Antelope species include Red Hartebeest, Kudu, eland and Bushbuck. The park main game viewing area is home to Burchell’s zebra, while the Zuurberg Mountains section hosts some Cape Mountain Zebra. Travel to the Darlington Dam area in a region with arid nama-karoo vegetation, and look for Gemsbok, Black Wildebeest, Springbok and Buffalo. The Alexandria coastal forest section is home to the rare tree dassie.
Addo also offers a brilliant opportunity for birders due to the different vegetation types in the different areas. The main rest camp is home to species like Karoo Scrub Robin and Cape Robin-Chat, and Bokmakierie while the African Crowned Eagle breeds in the Zuurberg section. The coastal forests are home to Knysna Turaco and the Narina Trogon. The coastal islands offer a safe haven to the African Penguin and Cape Gannet. Darlington Dam is home to Goliath Herons, Lesser Flamingos, fresh-water terns and Greyheaded Gulls.
Summer temperatures between November and February may reach 40 degrees Celsius. Winters are mild, but it becomes colder at night. Rainfall averages around 450mm per year and rainfall is spread throughout the year. There is no malaria risk in the park.
Addo offers a wide variety of activities to park visitors.
Guests that prefer an interactive game drive with a qualified guide providing more information about the park’s fauna and flora can go on a guided game drive. These depart at various times of the day to suit the visitor’s schedule.
The horse fanatic can experience a different type of game drive – on the back of a horse. The safari for inexperienced riders takes place in the morning, while riders with experience can ride in the Big Five area. Overnight options are also available.
For the off-road adventurers, the Bedrogfontein 4x4 Trail is the perfect opportunity to explore a historic part of the park. The route was once the scene of fierce battles between the British and Afrikaners during the Anglo-Boer War and several relics can be found along the way.
There are also several hiking trails in the park ranging from short hikes to an overnight trail
Raggy Charters offers marine tours for an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Great White Shark and Southern Right Whale.
Addo’s accommodation options are vast with every section of the park with options. The main rest camp alone offers everything from camping to tented camps to chalets. Matyholweni Rest Camp is near the N2 highway, but with much fewer activities and amenities compared to the main rest camp. Nerina Bush Camp offers a secluded experience in a magical forest at the foot of the Zuurberg Mountains. Nyathi Rest Camp situated at the foot of the Zuurberg Mountains is located on a seasonal river is built on stilts to offer spectacular views. Each unit also comes with a private splash pool, ideal for cooling down while watching game on hot days. Birders will enjoy a stay at the Langebos Huts in the Alexandria Forest.
Please see below for accommodation inside and near to Addo Elephant National Park