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Addo Elephant National Park

Photo Credit: Exfordy (flickr)

Lion at Addo Elephant Park

Photo Credit: Qmnonic (flickr)

Addo Elephant Sighn Post

Interesting Sign in the Addo National Park

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Addo National Park Highlights

  • One of the densest African elephant populations on earth call Addotheir home
  • Home to the unique flightless dung beetle
  • Five of South Africa's seven biomes are present in Addo National Park
  • The largest coastal dune field in the southern hemisphere
  • Home to the Big Seven, (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, southern right whale and great white shark
  • Protects the world's largest Cape gannet breeding population on Bird Island


The Addo Elephant National Park is less than an hour (72km / 45 miles) north of Port Elizabeth and not far from Shamwari Game Reserve. Addo now covers an area of over 1480 square kilometers (570 square miles) on land as well as 1200 square kilometers of protected marine environment. This area is massive compared to the original 23 square kilometers that was set up as the original reserve to protect the last 11 surviving elephants in the area back in 1931 that had escaped the merciless persecution of hunters and farmers from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

It was only in 1954 when the then Addo National Park manager, Graham Armstrong conclusively succeeded in protecting the 22 elephants when he devised an elephant proof fence made from tram rails and elevator cables, that are still used today and is referred to as the 'Armstrong fence'.

Today there are over 450 elephants in Addo South Africa that differ genetically from any other in Africa, mainly because of the selective hunting in the past and so the bulls have small tusks, whilst most cows don't show any tusks at all.

Five Biomes in one Park
The Addo National park is now actually a collection of pockets of land , which SANParks is continuing to add to and in time will become the fourth largest National Park in South Africa. For those who are wondering, the three largest are The Kruger National Park, Kgalagadi National Park and St Lucia National Park.

So because of it's size and location the Addo has a huge variety of habitats (5 of the 7 biomes within South Africa) within the Addo Elephant Park, this permits it to support a huge variety of plants and wildlife.

Most of the reserve, around the original Addo section, Colchester, Nyathi and Kabouga areas are made up of subtropical thicket or valley bushveld biome. This biome is very dense and even sometimes impenetrable and consists of low shrubs and evergreen or succulent trees. You will also find many tall spiky aloes and euphorbias and especially the Spekboom (Portulacaria afra), which when it blooms in October and November is covered in pink flowers. An interesting use for the Spekboom is that local woman will often chew the leaves to help them produce milk for their babies

Along the Alexandria's dunescape you find the forest biome, around Darlington dam is the Nama Karoo biome and then along the Zuurberg zone you find both Grassland and Fynbos biomes.

Once you understand the biomes and lean which animals are best suited to each you can then know which area to go looking for specific animals.

The Zuurberg's mountain area is perfect habitat for the tiny blue duiker, mountain reedbuck and the Cape Mountain Zebra as well as the seldom seen nocturnal aardwolf.

In the dry karoo biome around Darlington you will find the beautiful Gemsbok antelope as well as black rhino and the less known black wildebeest. What is interesting is that buffalo are also found here. Buffalo usually grazers who enjoy areas with plenty of water, but it is thought that the hunting that happened in the past drove them into this area where they have adapted to browsing among the trees. Because of the large mammals like buffalo and Gemsbok, you also find lion here.

In the coastal dune forest around Alexandria you should be on the look out for Brown Hyena as well as bushpig and the tree dassie.


Animals in the Addo National Park

Addo has all of the true Big 5 (the black rhino and not the white rhino) as well as a huge range of other wildlife:

The Black Rhino population in Addo Elephant national park are also interesting as there are two distinct subspecies Diceros bicornis bicornis which occures naturally in Southern Africa, and the Diceros bicornis michaeli which has been introduced to the Addo reserve from East Africa. These two sub-species of black rhino are kept in different areas of the reserve so as not to mix their unique genetics.

Large Mammals


  • Lion
  • Leopard
  • Spotted Hyena
  • Black-backed Jackal

Large Antelope
There are many species of antelope, that also include:


Birds at the Addo Elephant National Park

Because of the varied habitats in the 5 distinct biomes that form the Addo elephant national park, like the mammals, ther is a fantastic variety of bird life. Some of the highlights are listed below.

  • Bokmakierie
  • Southern Tchagra
  • Brown-hooded Kingfisher
  • Fiscal Flycatcher
  • Fork-tailed Drongo

Forest Biome

  • Cape Parrot
  • Knysna Turaco (Lourie)
  • Grey cuckoo-shrike

Accommodation at the Addo Elephant National Park

You are really spoilt for choice with accommodation options at the Addo Elephant park. Based on our research here are a few that you may wish to look at:

The Main Rest-camp
Located near Addo town has a variety of different accommodation options, including two guest houses, called Hapoor and Domkrag that sleep up to six people.

There are also thatched chalets that can sleep from 3 to 6 people all air conditioned and two that are suitable for the physically impaired.

Wooden cabins: A-frame buildings that can sleep up to 4 people, that come with a fridge and bathroom, but with a communal kitchen.

Safari tents: Not your ordinary festival tent, these 2 man tents are situated on a raised wooden deck and have a fan and fridge. There are communal kitchen and bbq (braai) area.

Addo Elephant NP also has a campsite that caters for tents and caravans, with communal kitchen and toilets.

Camp Matyholweni
These self catering thatched chalets suitable for 2 – 4 people are located in the south of the Addo elephant NP near Colchester.
Tel: +27(0)41-4680916

Narina Bush Camp
Located near the center of the main Addo elephant national park is the Narina Bush Camp where there are four 2 man tents next to Witrivier in the zuurberg mountains. There is no electricity, but is ater. All bookings for this cam need to be maid through the main Addo Elephant National Park (see contact details below)

Privately Run Accommodation

Addo Dung Beetle Guest FarmAddo Dung Beetle Guest Farm

Located on its own mountaintop near the heart of the Sundays River valle, Addo Dung Beetle Guest Farm consists of five luxury chalets on a working citrus farm only 4 km away from the main gate of the Addo Elephant National Park.

The chalets are elegantly decorated and equipped with air-conditioners, they all have Televisions, a microwave, a small fridge and a coffee and tea area. Bathrooms are en suite and have indoor and outdoor showers to suit your needs. Room service is available on request.

Addo Dung Beetle Guest Farm BathActivities and facilities available on the farm include the Addo Dung Beetle Breeding Station, Game Viewing, Mountain bikes for hire, Hiking and Tree-trail, Splash Pool, Citrus Tours, Jaccuzi, Rock Pool and Gym. Apart from visiting Addo, there is plenty to do in the area, including Quads bike trips, Health Spa, Daniell Cheetah Breeding Camp, Elephant Back Safaris and Oceanarium trips to Port Elizabeth.

Tel: +27 83 974 5802 or +27 83 399 4129
Web: Addo Dung Beetle Guest Farm

Hitgeheim Country LodgeHitgeheim Country Lodge

This 5 star luxury fully serviced lodge is located on an an eco-reserve in the Sundays River Valley, minutes from the Addo Elephant National Park

The chalet style accommodation includes luxurious bathrooms, outdoor showers and private wooden decks with breathtaking views over the citrus orchards and surrounding country side.

The lodge has an excellent selection of wines in their own walk in cellar as well as a swimming pool to cool down on hot days and you can enjoy fantastic sundowners on the veranda with stunning views where you will often hear the wonderful sound of the resident Fish-eagles near the Sundays River below.

Hitgeheim Country LodgeActivities include:
Not far away is the Addo National Park and you can join their safari guide on a safari for some of the best elephant and game viewing in the world, go on an incredible elephant back safari, arrange for a visit to one of the near-by private ‘Big 5’ game reserves, go on a canoe river safari or go on a nature walks on the eco-reserve which is home to 11 indigenous antelope species and abundance of birdlife.

Tel: +27 (0) 42 234 0778
Web: Hitgeheim Country Lodge

Africanos Inn Bar, Grill & BarnAfricanos Inn Bar, Grill & Barn

Only 45 minutes away from the Port Elizabeth Airport and just 10 minutes from the Addo Elephant Park located in the Sundays River Valley in the Eastern Cape is the Africanos Inn Bar, Grill & Barn, the only three star graded Hotel in the area.

Upmarket accommodation is provided in the form of 10 private and tastefully furnished luxury chalets each with en suite bathrooms and lounge area. Each chalet can sleep between two and three people, apart from two family chalets that can each sleep up to four people.

Africanos Inn Bar, Grill & Barn - AccommodationThere is a restaurant at Africanos and the Grill offers a full a la Carté Menu and is known for "the best food in the Sundays River Valley"

The Africanos bar is fully licensed and is where all major sporting events can be viewed live.

Activities include:
Day and night trips can be made to Addo Elephant National Park. Game viewing drives at Schotia Safaris can also be organised for guests. There is also a Golf Course and tennis courts nearby which can be utilised upon request.

Tel: +27 (0)422330605
Web: Africanos Inn Bar, Grill & Barn

Homestead B&B Addo AccommodationHomestead B&B

Located near Addo in a lush, oasis-like garden, offering a variety of accommodation from bed and breakfast, self catering, caravan and camping to backpackers.

The accommodatiuon consists of five 2 bed B&B rooms with en-suite bathrooms, kitchenettes and have their own private entrances into the garden. For families there is one B&B unit with 2 bedrooms and 5 self catering units. All accommodation at Homestead is equipped with at least tea and coffee making facilities, ceiling fans, hair driers, fridge and BBQ facilities. Three rooms have air-conditioning.

Homestead B&B near Addo Camping AccommodationCamping
Homestead also has camping accommodation available with fifteen stands for camping or for caravans as well as two caravans, fully equipped and available for hire, tucked away in their own little corners of the garden.

As well as being located near the Addo National Park, Homestead B&B is only a few minutes away from a Crocodile Ranch and Schotia Safaris, the oldest private game viewing reserve in the Eastern Cape, with over 40 mammal species. A little further away is the Shamwari Private Game reserve which is one of the best private game parks, if not the very best, in the whole of Africa.

Homestead B&B can organise outings for you to Shamwari and Schotia Safaris as well as restaurant bookings.

Tel: +27 (0)42 233 0354
Web: Homestead B&B Addo Accommodation
Homestead B&B offers B&B, self catering and backpacker accommodation, caravan park and camping in lush surroundings.

Addo Dungbeetle River LodgeDungbeetle River Lodge

This 4-star graded guest house stands on the banks of the Sundays River and as such has wonderful river views from its magnificent deck;

Located only 4 km from the southern gate into the world famous Addo Elephant National Park and 38 km to Port Elizabeth it makes an ideal base for a safari holiday.

The accommodation consists of six up-market, tastefully decorated safari style en-suite rooms.

Addo Dungbeetle River Lodge BedroomYou can arrange for dinner and there are also BBQ (braai) facilities and there is also a small restaurant within 200m of the lodge.

Tel: +27 (0)41 468 0091
Web: Dungbeetle Lodge
Dungbeetle Lodge provides B&B accommodation next to the Sundays River only 4 km from Addo Elephant Park's south entrance as well as expert guided tours of the park.

Enchanted Rock Guest House near Addo National ParkEnchanted Rock Guest House

Enchanted Rock, at the foot of the Suurberg Mountains near the little town of Alicedale, is only an hour's drive from Port Elizabeth and is a rather special guest house. The accommodation is offered as self catering, bed and breakfast or fully catered according to your choice.

Situated in the greater Addo area means that you are in the heart of the best game viewing region in the area, not far from Addo Elephant National Park, Shamwari Private Game Reserve, Amakhala Private Game Reserve and Schotia Safaris and so the Enchanted Rock makes an excellent base for your safari holiday in the region.

Enchanted Rock Guest House BedroomGolf & Safari Holiday
The renowned Bushman Sands spa and golf course designed by Gary Player is located in Alicedale is just a few minutes away.

The accommodation at Enchanted Rock guest house consists of three bedrooms, two of which are doubles and one twin located within a tastefully restored and decorated old farm house where all the furnishings are period, to suit the atmosphere. Every bedroom has a full en-suite bathroom with a jacuzzi bath as well as a shower.

Tel: +27 (0)72 264 7877
Web: Enchanted Rock Guest House

Addo Accommodation: Jaleens B&BJaleens B&B

Jaleens B&B offers affordable accommodation in Colchester at the southern gateway to Addo Elephant National Park and close to the banks of the Sundays River.

Located just a couple of kilometers from the south gate to the Addo Elephant National Park, 35 km from Port Elizabeth and only 15 km from the new port and development at Coega, Jaleens B&B Addo accommodation offers a clean, comfortable and affordable place to stay. is available at Jaleens B&B in the village of Colchester along the banks of the Sundays River.

Addo Accommodation: Jaleens B&BThe Sundays river makes for excellent canoeing and Jaleens B&B also offer river cruises and angling trips in their our own boat, whilst the town of Colchester has a supermarket as well as restaurants.

The accommodation consists of four individualised suites and all but one are also fully equiped should you wish to self-cater.

Tel: +27 (0) 41 468 0013
Web: Jaleens B&B

Darlington Lake Lodge
As the name suggest is located near Darlington Dam in the northern section of Addo Elephant National park and consists of 5 luxury rooms and 7 furnished tents.
Tel: +27(0)42-2433673

Gorah Elephant Camp
Luxury Safari Tented Camp located in the southern end of the main Addo Elephant National Park
Tel: +27(0)44-5327818

River Bend Lodge
Towards the South Eastern end of Addo Elephant National park is the luxury 5 star River Bend Lodge.
Tel: +27(0)42-2338000

Intsomi Lodge
Located in the Alexandria dunefields near the town of Alexandria in the southern section of Addo National park and consists of 8 luxury chalets.
+27 (0)46 653 8903 / 4 / 5

Woodall Country House & Spa
Located in the heart of the Sundays River Valley, on the doorstep of Addo Elephant Park, and close to Shamwari and Schotia Reserves
Tel: +27 (0)42 233 0128

De Old Drift Guest Farm
Located 10 minutes drive from the Addo Elephant Park, in the Sundays River Valley.
Tel: +27 (0)42 2332422
Email :

Nguni Lodge
Luxury lodges with spectacular view over a pristine floodplain with the majestic Zuurberg Mountains as a backdrop.
Phone: +27 (0) 42 2351022

Olifantskop Lodge
Located among the foothills of the Zuurberg Mountain Range near Addo
Mobile: + 27 82 741 1886

Bed & Breakfast Accommodation near Addo

The Green Tree Guest Cottages
Located on a working dairy farm close tof the Greater Addo Elephant Park, Schotia Safari’s, Amakhala Game Reseve and the Sunshine Coast.
Tel: +27 (0)41 4680878

Chrislin African Lodge
Located on an organic citrus farm, 10 minutes from the Addo Elephant National Park.
Tel: +27 (0)42 2330022

Stellenhof Country House
A guest house built in the 1900's by Lord Mc Baine, in the Cape Dutch style, located near the small town of Addo
Tel/Fax: +27 (0) 42-2332423

Addo Elephant Country Estate
Situated just outside the tiny hamlet of Addo itself on a small estate of 17 hectares.
Tel: +27 42 233 0330

Valleyview B&B
Bed and breakfast guest house accommodation located in the Sundays River Valley in the heart of Addo
Tel: +27 (0) 42 233-0349

Backpackers Accommodation & Camping in Addo

Addo Backpachers
Orange Elephant Backpackers & Restaurant, offer a variety of budget accommodation including cottages, dorm rooms and large tents. The Backpackers Hostel is only 5 minutes away from the main gate of the Addo National Elephant Park
Tel: +27 (0) 42 233 0023

Best Time to visit Addo National Park

The Gates at the reserve are open between 7am and 7pm most of the year. (Contact the Addo Elephant NP before, just to confirm – see details below)

Because of all the different biomes, they each experience slightly different climatic conditions, but as with most safari type holidays, I recommend that winter is the best time for viewing wildlife. There is less rainfall and so may animals congregate around water sources and the shorter grass makes them easier to spot. It can however get pretty cold, especially at night and the early mornings. July is mid winter and you can expect the maximum daytime temperature to be around 18 degrees centigrade (64 F) For comparison in January the Maximum temperature would be around 32 – 35 degrees centigrade. The main rainy seasons in the Addo National Park are between February and March and again between October and November.

Map of the Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa

Below is a map showing the location of the Park as well as other points of interest in the area.


Contact Details
Addo Elephant National Park
Tel: +27(0)42-2330556/7

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