With all the national parks in Southern Africa, Addo Elephant National Park is often overlooked by those who have a short period of time to travel in the region. Moreover, as Addo sits over 700 kilometers from either Johannesburg and Cape Town, it’s not exactly near the cities that tourists tend to frequent. But because the park is less visited doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it; it is. In fact, a self-drive safari in Addo Elephant National Park might be the most laid-back wild experience you can have in all of Africa. The park if full of wildlife, especially antelopes and zebra. If you’re lucky, as I was, you might also get the chance to see some special animals like the caracol. However, the park is most famous for it’s elephants which are most often seen in a dusty red colour caused from bathing in the red earth of the park.
Time Needed in Addo National Park
I did the park in one day, but I felt like I was a bit rushed. You’d be best off taking two days and sleeping in the nearby town of Addo. The park is quite large, and if you want to see it all, you’ll definitely need 2 days.
Fees for Addo Elephant National Park
Addo Elephant National Park is administered by SAN Parks which means that the same very reasonable fees apply as most of the parks. As of 2014, the cost of entry is 200 Rand ($20) per person for foreigners or 100 Rand for children. South Africans pay only 50 Rand per person. Wildcards are accepted as well. In fact, if you’re planning on spending a lot of time in the Southern Africa park, you should get a wildcard. The cost for foreigners is about $160USD meaning all you need is about 8 days in parks to get your money worth.
Where to Stay in Addo
You have options both inside and outside the park. Outside the park there is the luxury lodge of Woodall Country House which is beyond amazing. If you have the budget, or are looking to splurge for a night this is certainly the place to do it. They are pure class, and the property is beautiful. It’s only a short drive from the park gates. Cost of a room, depending on the season, run from $80 to $180USD. They also have some nice packages for 2 nights + spa + safari for between $400-500USD
Inside the park you’re at the whims of SAN Parks. There are a couple options. The most popular is Addo Rest Camp which has rooms, chalets, and camp sites. The prices inside the park are quite high. Campsites are about $20 per person, and privates run between $80 all the way to $370. There are three other camps inside Addo Elephant National Park: Matyholweni (Rooms $100-130), Narina Bush Camp (Campsites $110), and Spekboom Tented Camp ($65-80).
Getting to Addo
- Air: If you’re flying in, the most sensible option is to fly into Port Elizabeth which is about 50km away and then drive or take the bus here. There is only a bush landing strip for small charter planes, otherwise.
- Bus: Nearly all the major towns nearby have Addo as one of their destinations.
- Driving: If you’re coming from the coast, which is most likely, you’ll take the R335 just east of Port Elizabeth to get here. The road is paved and decent. It has a few bumpy bits, but isn’t bad.