South Africa is an impeccable tourist destination and its vivid natural landscapes and diverse game reserves make it a must-visit for every traveler. Apart from the great tourist attractions, there are some national parks as well, which are stunning and a dream destination for every animal lover. Amongst all the 19 national parks, which are a must for every elephant lover, the most majestic one to visit is the famous Addo Elephant National Park. But what makes it so special? In case this is something you’re wondering right now, worry not because this little guide has got you covered!
About Addo Elephant National Park
Addo Elephant National Park was found in the year 1931 and was built for protecting the remaining 11 elephants in the area and now this place holds over 600 elephants and is currently home of a number of other mammals. The major seven vegetation zones are included in this magnificent park and this is the only park in the whole world to provide shelter to the ‘Africa’s big 7’- lion, buffalo, elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, whale and great white shark. Definitely, the safari in Addo Elephant National Park, is sure to surprise you!
For the accommodation of such amazing species, the Addo Elephant National Park has expanded its expanse from the Sundays River to Alexandria and has also included St Croix and Bird Island which is a marine reserve and an essential ground for penguins and gannets as the breeding process is carried out here. Addo Elephant National Park is not only known for the famous Addo elephants but also the dense vegetation that surrounds this area and the animals and birds which live here and make this place even more stunning. Addo is the third largest national park in South Africa in size after Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
How To Reach Addo Elephant National Park
By Air: Port Elizabeth is the nearest domestic airport from the park and is just 75 km away from Addo. You can book a cab or a car as there are many car agencies near the airport. Cape Town and Johannesburg have international airports which have connecting flights to Port Elizabeth.
By Road: Buses are quite accessible in this area and many buses are provided around this park. A 4×4 car is also suitable for many tourists road or a high clearance vehicle if you are interested in the Narina Bush Camp.
Things To Do In Addo Elephant National Park
If you are planning an Addo Elephant National Park day trip, you can definitely have a lot of fun. Try some of these activities at the Addo Elephant National Park.
Alexandria hiking trail is the most popular hiking trail in this national park. This two day hiking trip is through the Woody Cape section of this national park in the Eastern Cape. There are many different trails from which you can choose like the Tree Dassie Trail – 7km hike, PPC Discovery trail – through the Albany ecosystem and Zuurberg Mountain trail – 2.4km to 8km hike. There is a walking trail around the Sundays River near the N2 or the Woody Cape ranger’s office near Alexandria.
2. Bird Watching
All the photographers and bird enthusiasts will fall in love with this place as this is an ideal spot for watching the diverse birds living in this national park. A great number of birds live and breed here some of which are – Fork-tailed Drongo, Cape Robin, Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Martial Eagle, Cape Parrot, Hooded King Fisher and Cape Gannet. The open grassy areas and costal islands attract these birds which take shelter in this wonderful park.
3. Bedrogfontein 4×4 Trail
This trail is in the Eastern Cape and has stunning views that you should not miss. Situated between Kabouga and Darlington this trail is 45km long and is the place where the battle between Afrikaner and British troops was held during the Anglo Boer War. It has varied terrains and one must check with the ranger before crossing the grade 5 river and you may also come across some rock art paintings in this area. This trail has some great history and spectacular sights which you might not want to miss.
4. Hayterdale Trail
This is a hand built trail which has mountain bike events and has many different trails from which you can choose. There sports are for the adventure-junkies as they over a little adventure every now and then. There are levels of difficulty and accordingly you can choose which level you think is suitable for you. They have now added a new 12 km trail for beginners and have flatlands and easy flowing tracks.
Suggested Read: Table Mountain National Park: The Surreal Beauty Of South Africa
5. Addo Market
If you are not interested in these activities then there is Addo market for you where you can shop easily all the homegrown products. Every first Saturday of each month this market operates and is set by the Women Institute. They also provide delicious breakfast which is farm style just at Rs30 as they are made using the local products. The stalls include products which are handmade or home grown and is sold by the locals.
Places To Stay In Addo Elephant National Park
The Addo Elephant National Park accommodation is something you can really count on. Take a look at these 3 best places where luxury meets nature at its best.
1. Gorah Elephant Camp
This colonial house is the perfect place where you can just watch the Addo elephants roam around while sipping your tea and have the most beautiful experience of your life. This safari lodge makes your stay in this national park even more memorable. Situated in the heart of Big 5 this place is a combination of colonial style house and the natural African world.
2. Addo Elephant Safari Lodge
Situated near the Yellow side forest this is among one of the best Addo Elephant National Park Lodges and has exquisite sights from the hillside. It perfectly blends with the surrounding and has private and exclusive suite from where you can take in all the glory that surrounds this lodge. This environment-friendly lodge is designed using the recycled Brazilian pines and canvas.
3. River Bend Lodge
This lodge is located in the Eastern Cape is luxurious and is a perfect blend of the fine elegance of this country and the Eastern Cape bush. There are 8 standalone suites which are elegant and provide many services and sights of Addo which are astounding.
The Addo Elephant National Park is a popular tourist destination and should be on every tourists’ list when they plan a trip to South Africa with TravelTriangle as this is a once in a lifetime experience and a paradise for all animal lovers!