My girlfriend and I visited the Addo Elephant Park whilst doing a camping road trip around South Africa in 2012 and it turned out to be the highlight of our trip.
We love the fact that you can do safari in your own car and at your own pace as there is a well maintained road that runs throughout the park.
We saw so many amazing animals and had amazing experiences.
The most memorable of these is when we came around a corner and were faced with a huge elephant in the middle or the road. We breaked hard and stopped shortly in front of the elephant. We then stared at each other for a few seconds. Deciding that it is best to get out of his way, for fear of our caar getting crushed like a can, we reversed and parked on the side of the road. Shortly afterwards this giant beast calmly walked past our car almost brushing us as he passed. A truly once in a lifetime experience.
They have camping spots and chalets there with good facilities.
A definite must when visiting South Africa
We love game viewing and national parks, but I am sad to confess that Addo left us underwhelmed.
We saw huge numbers of elephant - which are certainly the main attraction - and were 'marooned' when a group of about 40 appeared from the dense bushes on the side of the road, leaving us effectively in the middle of the herd. A extreme close-up wildlife experience, and very exciting for the kids, but uneasy stuff when you know only too well the threat that a bad-tempered ellie poses ...
As for the rest of the park, we saw lots of kudu and were enchanted by the thousands of dung beetles (capitalising on the ecosystem niche created by the elephant population). Thankfully, because they're herbivores, elephant dung doesn't smell, and revolting though it might sound, dung beetles really are fascinating to watch, so they are one of the fondest memories we'll take away from Addo.
It is very hard to have a bad time in the bush if you like wildlife, and we didn't regret going to Addo. If you're in the Eastern Cape anyway, it's worth a day or so, but no longer, as it is quite small and relatively limited in the wildlife it offers compared to other destinations. Would we recommend that people travel great distances to experience it? Frankly no: if wildlife is one of the big drawcards for you in South Africa, I would suggest that you rather consider Kruger/Sabie Sands reserves, Hluhluwe/Umfolozi or even the Pilanesberg.
I must add that we also found the park staff that we encountered to be inefficient and rude - this seems to be a particular problem in the Eastern Cape, and it is sad to experience this unfriendly attitude in a region that has identified tourism as one of its primary development opportunities.
This is a good educational centre close to the Addo entrance, which is small but worth a couple of hours.
The centre concentrates on reptiles and raptors (formerly known as birds of prey): most of the animals have either been brought in injured or confiscated from unscrupulous exotic pet owners. It has a fairly limited range of animals, but what they have is interesting, and brought to life by the irrepressible Darren who runs the place. You might as well surrender up front to his brand of evangelic enthusiasm, as holding out against his onslaught of raw enthusiasm is nigh on impossible, and once he realises that you're really interested he finds yet another gear (our tour - part of the admission price - lasted nearly twice as long as the scheduled hour, admittedly during a quieter period of the year).
Our kids (and their parents) loved the fact that you are able to touch some of the habituated reptiles: I can assure you that stroking a velvety leopard gecko is infinitely more pleasant than tentatively clutching an African bullfrog (an experience akin to holding a bag of cold vomit).
The restaurant in the Lenmore Centre is fairly good, and we can recommend the self-catering bungalow adjacent to the restaurant, which is practical and affordable family accommodation.
Here at Addo in the Eastern Cape you can find plenty of opportunities to photograph Elephants up close. The elephants here are quite laid back and aren't too bothered by vehicles like some are in Kruger. There are plenty of baby elephants to watch. The one I photographed on the intro of this Page was swinging it trunk around trying to figure out what to do with it.
Here at Addo there is pleny of other big game to see to like Bufallow, Kudu, Zebra, Warthog, Black Rhino, Ostrich, Black Backed Jackal as well as Lion and Hyena (which was just reintroduced very recently).
There were a number of little one's in the park and this little one did not even look like it was steady on its feet yet. Amazing how the big one's were keeping an eye on it and helping when it could not get out again.
As far as your eyes can wander, you see the Addo park. They have added some great area's to the park which runs right down to the coast. That is why they can offer the great 7. Lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino, leopard, shark and whale.
There are not that many buffalo in the park, so we were extremely lucky to have spotted these two. Unfortunately they were a bit camera shy and did not want to turn around so that I could take them from the front. Be careful, they are dangerous animals and will storm your car without warning.
There is a massive diversity of vegetation in the Park. You will see many aloes, which is very well known in the Eastern Cape. If you go towards Zuurberg, you might come across cycads and other interesting species.
Many different biomes are represented in the Park.
Although I did not have the chance to do these yet, it sounds great.
The following is available:
Guided game drives
Guided horse-back safaris
Walking and hiking tours
4 x 4 Eco-adventure trail
For more info – see website:
The Park now has lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino, which is known as the Big Five. There are many different antelope and also zebra.
Within a few hours, you will be able to spot many of these animals.
Elephants are the world’s biggest land mammals. The Addo Park is well known for its elephants. During my last visit to the Park, we saw many different groups of elephants; including cows, bulls and babies.
It is great to watch then while enjoying the mud baths, which they love to do.
Remember that although these elephants are used to vehicles, they are still wild animals.
I included a few photos of the different sightings of elephant during our last visit.
The morning ride (08:00) is for less experienced riders and is two hours long. The afternoon ride (14:00) is for experienced riders and is three hours long. Book and pay for horse trails at the Game Drive Office.
Zuurberg horse trails are suitable for all riders and wind through fynbos and forest. One-, three- and five-hour trails are available. No children younger than 10 years may ride on the Zuurberg horse trails.
Red Bishop Bird Hide is located opposite the waterhole in the main rest camp, offering watchers a view of red bishops, weavers, herons, coots and terrapins. The main game area boasts a list of 170 bird species, while the expanded park may contain as many as 450 species
A short walk through the valley thicket where you can learn more about the plants and animals of this region. The first loop is suitable for visually-impaired and wheelchair-bound visitors. can be booked through park