Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park is the third largest national park in South Africa. It has expanded to an area with major differences in biodiversity, landscapes, flora and fauna. In total, Addo covers around 180,000 hectares.

The park was founded in 1931 when there were only 16 elephants in the area. Today, the area, the elephant section, offers a home to more than 550 elephants, but also lions, buffalo, black rhino, jackal, spotted hyena, leopard, hartebeest, moose, kudu, diver, greybok, Burchell’s zebra, wildlife boar, the vervet monkey and many smaller animals can be found here. And not to mention the unique Addo flying dung beetle. The park also has around 250 species of birds.

Plans for expansion to the ocean (Addo Marine Protected Area) are still being developed. With a part of the coast, Addo not only includes the Big 5, but is ‘in all likelihood’ the only park in the world that houses the Big 7 (elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, rhino, whale and great white shark) in a natural environment. With these plans to further expand the Park and include a larger sea area, Addo will also include the world’s largest Cape Gannet breeding ground and the breeding ground of the endangered African penguins.

The Addo Elephant Park is malaria free and located an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape province.

– You can go on a game drive with your own vehicle, there are asphalt and gravel roads (well passable with a normal car, 4×4 not required)
– You can book several game drives (of around 2 hours) with a guide in the park. Departure times depend on summer or winter season. Game drives depart with a minimum of 2 people and you can choose from a sunrise, morning, midday, afternoon, sundowner or night drive. The game drives take place in open Land Rovers or trucks. Booking in advance is essential! Minimum age is 6 years.

– You can rent a guide that accompanies you in your own car (working hours between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.).
– If you have average riding experience, you can book a riding trip. Minimum age 16 for the Addo trails and minimum age 10 for the Zuurberg trails. The rider’s maximum weight is 90 kg. These trips differ in time from 2 to 5 hours. Book all horse riding tours in advance to avoid disappointment!
– There are several hiking trails: the Cycad Trail of one hour (2.4 km), Doringnek of 3 hours (8 km). There are also multi-day walking tours.
– Bird watching is possible at the Red Bishop Bird Hide across the water place

General information
– Opening times reception main camp: 07:00 – 19:00
– A viewing platform and an underground shelter give a nice view over the water place, which is illuminated at night (at the Main Camp).
– There is a swimming pool in the Main Camp close to the chalets for visitors staying overnight
– There is a picnic and braai place for day trips at the water place in the Main Camp
– There is a bird watching hut, the Sasol Red Bishop Bird Hide, and a walking route where you can learn more about plant life (Main Camp)
– Shop with souvenirs, snacks and basic supplies open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (winter) or 7 p.m. (summer).
– An A-la-carte restaurant in the maincamp is open from 7.30 a.m. – 10 p.m. for all meals. Reservations for dinner are required.
– Gas station for gasoline and diesel is open between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM.
– Credit cards are accepted in the store and restaurant.
– Closest ATM is in the village of Addo (15 km)

Conservation Fees: the South African National Park administration has set a daily entrance fee (admission fee) for all individual SAN parks. If you are going to visit several SAN parks in South Africa then it may be useful to purchase a Wildcard.

Accommodation in the park:
Addo Main Restcamp
Addo Matyholweni Restcamp


All images/information on this page: © 2004-2016

Add to my travel plans