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Addo Elephant National Park

Located close to Port Elizabeth, Addo Elephant National Park is now South Africa’s third largest protected area. Originally created in 1931 for the conservation of only 11 elephants, the park is now home to a burgeoning population of over 600 as well as a large variety of other ...

2 Trips in Addo Elephant National Park with 10 Reviews

Highlights
  • Travel along the dramatic coastline at the bottom of South Africa

This journey brings us from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town following the famous Garden Route... ... Read More

Exodus

Cape Town & The Garden Route

of 10 reviews
  • Starts/Ends Port Elizabeth/Cape Town
  • Operator Exodus
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Next Departures Dec 3 Jan 14
From US$ 1,583 12 days
Highlights
  • Private Addo Park Safari offers flexible times for Cruise Ship passengers
  • Pick up at your hotel or the pier of Port Elizabeth

Pick up at the quayside in the Port Elizabeth harbour and depart for the Addo... ... Read More

Irina Africa Tours & Safaris

Addo Elephant Park Day Safari

  • Starts/Ends Port Elizabeth/Port Elizabeth
  • Operator Irina Africa Tours & Safaris
  • Next Departures Nov 22 Nov 23
From US$ 147 7 hours
Free Cancellation
Free cancellation on most tours.
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Addo Elephant National Park Tour Reviews

4.9 - Excellent Based on 10 customer reviews
Take Me Back to South Africa! Reviewed Tour: Cape Town & the Garden Route
5 - Excellent
“A fantastic holiday from start to finish, our families first trip to Africa.”
Cape Town and Garden Route Reviewed Tour: Cape Town & the Garden Route
5 - Excellent
“What a fantastic trip. Lots to see, scenery, views, birds & animals. The food and weather were excellent too. Accommodation was comfortable, minibus occasionally was a bit bumpy but we were busy taking in all the sights to notice.”
Cape Town and Garden Route trip February 2017 Reviewed Tour: Cape Town & the Garden Route
4 - Very Good
“An excellent trip. The majority of the inclusive trips were well thought out and planned.”
South Africa Garden Route Leisurely Reviewed Tour: Cape Town & the Garden Route
5 - Excellent
“The trip was absolutely excellent. The pace whilst leisurely, was exciting and offered real variety in scenery and activity. The accommodation was first class with again a variety of venues, the highlight being the House Martin Guest Lodge in De Rust. The owners were incredibly welcoming and the food was exceptional. The safaris were well managed and offered opportunities to see up close a wide variety of animals.The visit to Mossel Bay and Hermanus was a terrific experience, the ocean views and the shark diving will always be a vivid memory. Cape Town and Table Mountain lived up to their iconic status. The trip organisation and guiding was first class.”
A really lovely trip Reviewed Tour: Cape Town & the Garden Route
5 - Excellent
“I enjoyed this holiday so much. The itinerary was very well balanced with a host of different activities and experiences. It was good to spend at least two nights in each location and have time to appreciate where we were staying. We have been on quite a few Exodus trips before, but this was one of the best. Some of the accommodation was very good indeed, notably the Martin House guest lodge in De Rust and the apartments in Hermanus.”
Cape Town and the Garden Route Reviewed Tour: Cape Town & the Garden Route
5 - Excellent
“We loved this holiday from start to finish.It was a great introduction to Africa with a range of scenery, landscapes and activities. We were glad we budgeted for the optional extras, kayaking, zip wire and shark cage diving. All amazing experiences. The accommodation was good with some excellent breakfasts. Restaurant food was varied with ample portions. We are vegetarian and had no problem finding interesting meals. Saw a great variety of birds and animals in and out of the Game Parks.”
South Africa's Garden Route Reviewed Tour: Cape Town & the Garden Route
5 - Excellent
“The Garden Route is a diverse trip with so many highlights. It gives a great taster of what Africa has to offer. It's wonderful to enjoy the wildlife in Addo and stay in the beautiful setting in the lemon orchards. Cape Town is fantastic with lots to do and the scenery is stunning. Table Mountain is not to be missed and Robben Island gives a great cultural contrast.”
Stunning South Africa Reviewed Tour: Cape Town & the Garden Route
5 - Excellent
“This was our first trip to South Africa which we found was a stunning introduction. The pace of the trip was perfect, and we visited memorable and beautiful locations every day. The flora and fauna were amazing, the excursions should not be missed. The route is scenic and interesting”
A Wonderful Introduction to South Africa Reviewed Tour: Cape Town & the Garden Route
5 - Excellent
“We have just returned from Cape Town and the Garden Route and what a reluctant return it was. We are both "Senior Citizens", had never been in Africa before and had few pre- conceived ideas of what to expect. The whole trip was amazing from being met at Port Elizabeth by our guide JP and then our mini bus driver Jerome. They both did everything they could to ensure that we were enjoying ourselves, JP was full of suggestions as to any extra excursions, and then booked them for us. We were very glad that we had budgeted for such trips as the extra game Drive ( a truly wonderful experience), the Tsitsikamma Zip Lining and the boat based whale watching at Hermanus. The accommodation was all clean and comfortable if somewhat basic in a couple of places, the jewel of accommodation was Housemartin Guest Lodge in De Rust. Most of the accommodation had views to die for. JP was full of knowledge about history, the animals, birds, flora and fauna etc and was happy to talk about it all. At Storms River cabins he took some of us on a walk along part of the Otter Trail, strenuous it was and not for the unfit, but the waterfall we ended up at was worth it. It was things like this that we would have missed out on if it wasn't for him. On our final night in Cape Town JP suggested that we all go to Marcos African Restaurant with him and he would make the booking. If you like African music and dance don't miss this place. To us it was simply the very ultimate in special nights out and a superb ending to a superb trip. By the way, we are vegetarians and we ate very well indeed everywhere on the trip.”

Addo Elephant National Park

Located close to Port Elizabeth, Addo Elephant National Park is now South Africa’s third largest protected area. Originally created in 1931 for the conservation of only 11 elephants, the park is now home to a burgeoning population of over 600 as well as a large variety of other species. The park has recently been expanded and now incorporates the Wood Cape Nature Reserve and the adjoining marine reserve, offering the chance to spot sea life as well as land-based fauna.

  • Wildlife:        

While perhaps not as spectacular as some South Africa’s other national parks in terms of wildlife, the Big Five are all present. The park is best known for the eponymous elephants but it is also possible to spot Transvaal lions, rare black rhinos and many more. Since the park now includes the neighbouring marine park, it is also the only place in the world where you can see all of Africa’s ‘big seven’ — the traditional Big Five plus southern right whales and great white sharks — all in one place.

  • Scenery:        

The park has some particularly lovely forested areas where some of the accommodation is located, offering a peaceful stay, close to nature. The large park includes a range of varied landscapes and diverse ecosystems.

  • Wilderness factor:        

Addo features a network of tarred and gravelled roads for self-drive exploration. There are also hiking trails where visitors can head into the bush to explore on foot. However, there is limited scope for driving into the wilderness away from the roads.

A safari in Addo Elephant National Park: What to expect

Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa
Elephants is the biggest attraction and a common sighting at the Addo Elephant National Park

The main activity is self-drive safaris. There are three tarred roads suitable for any type of car and the rest are gravelled. This network of roads gives visitors the chance to head into the park in search of wildlife in a reserve that is less busy than more popular safari destinations. The most famous animal in the park are the elephants, and the population is now one of the densest to be found anywhere in the world, but the park is also home to many other interesting species.

Guided game drives are also available. Experienced guides help visitors spot some of the park’s more elusive residents and this activity is available at several times during the day, including sunrise, sunset and after dark. It is also possible to hire a guide for your car on your self-drive explorations.

Highlights

  • Less crowded than more famous parks
  • Elephants — for which the park was named
  • Fantastic birdwatching
  • Adjoining marine park allows chance to spot whales and sharks
  • Good wildlife watching opportunities year round

Lowlights

  • More low-key and less dramatic than other, more famous parks
  • Less choice of rest camps than somewhere like Kruger

Other activities

A number of other activities are possible in the park. Guided tours on horseback through Big Five areas are available for those with riding experience. The maximum number of participants is seven per trip. Horse riding is not available to visitors under 16.

If the idea of riding a horse through lion territory does not appeal, there is a self-drive 4x4 trail that takes around six hours to drive. If, on the other hand, you want to get as close to nature as possible, several hiking trails exist, including the overnight Alexandria Trail. Shorter walks of one or three hours are available with no charge.

Finally, marine eco-tours of the adjoining marine park are possible, giving participants the chance to spot southern right whales and great white sharks. These tours are run from Port Elizabeth and not actually from within Addo itself.

Best time to visit

The climate is arid year-round, meaning game viewing is good in any season since animals are drawn to waterholes throughout the year.

  • June to September is the driest period, making this the best period for spotting wildlife — but this also coincides with South Africa’s winter and mornings and evenings can be chilly.

The park is open to day visitors and it is possible to spend just one day in the park searching for some of the star wildlife attractions that are found there. If you want to incorporate the marine park with a safari, then there are many one-day tours available from Port Elizabeth. However, a stay of at least three days would allow you to partake in some of the other activities on offer as well as giving you time to appreciate the park more fully.

Accommodation types available

The park’s main accommodation is the Addo Rest Camp. The camp has a range of accommodation types, including cottages, chalets, rondavels, cabins, safari tents and facilities for caravanning and camping. The camp also boasts a swimming pool, restaurant and shop. One unique feature is a floodlit waterhole where visitors can watch animals come to drink.

There are three other rest camps and one bush camp. The much smaller Matyholweni Rest Camp has one cottage and one family cottage. Nyathi Rest Camp offers stylish huts in a secluded location with large viewing windows and individual splash pools. Spekboom Tented Rest Camp includes five tents, each with two beds.

Narina Bush Camp is situated in a serene forest location and provides tented accommodation for up to eight people. It must be booked as one unit. It is not located in Big Five territory.

Other than the rest camps, accommodation is available in the Alexandria Forest in the Wood Cape Reserve area of the park. There is also one cottage in the Kabouga area.

Finally, the most luxurious option is to stay in one of the three privately-run five-star luxury camps. Gorah Elephant Camp offers high-end tented accommodation, River Bend Lodge has eight room plus one luxury villa and Kazuko Lodge offers 24 chalets.

Good to know

  • The park is home to the world’s largest population of flightless dung beetles. Since they are protected, you should take care not to step on them or run them over with your car!
  • There is a picnic and braai area for day visitors.
  • There is no public transport to the park but cars can be rented in Port Elizabeth.
  • The park is a malaria-free zone.

Addo Elephant National Park does not have the star appeal of places like Kruger or the dramatic landscapes of somewhere like Kgalagadi but it does offer the chance for some decent wildlife watching in a setting with fewer other tourists. For those who prefer a more understated and peaceful experience, a safari in Addo could be a wise choice.

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