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LOCAL TIME: 04:02 am | Thursday, 22 February
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Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape

Conveniently close to Port Elizabeth, Addo Elephant National Park offers the most affordable wildlife viewing in the Eastern Cape and is the only park in the world that’s home to the Big Seven.

Addo Montage

The Addo Elephant Park started life as a project to save the last of the elephant population in this region and has continued to grow, now incorporating over 180000ha from the semi desert Karoo in the north around Darlington Dam, over the rugged Zuurberg Mountains, through the Sundays River Valley to the coast between the Sundays River mouth and Bushman’s river mouth to become the third largest park in South Africa.

This wildlife sanctuary, in a malaria free area, protects five biomes and all of the Big Seven – lion, rhino, elephant, buffalo, leopard, southern right whales and the great white shark as well as many other species like hyena, zebra and a wide variety of antelope and smaller animals.

Mountain Zebra Montage

The gate at the southern end of the park is only 56km from Port Elizabeth and the northern gate is 156km from Port Elizabeth.  The road network is excellent and sedans can easily drive them.

Driving around the park is very rewarding – the elephant are best seen from mid morning when they  come out of the bush to cool down around the dams, especially at Hapoor Dam, where you can spend hours watching the antics.

Other activities in the park

  • Horse riding, either in the area with big game or in the scenic Zuurberg region
  • A network of hiking trails, including the Alexandria Hiking Trail, a 36km, two-day circular trail, and a number of other trails
  • The 45km Bedrogfontein  4 x 4 trail between Kabouga and Darlington areas of the park with breathtaking views and rock art paintings – the route is only suitable for vehicles with 4×4 and low range facilities
  •  Bird watching at the SASOL Red Bishop Bird Hide which 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 in a diversity of habitats
  • The PPC Discovery Trail is 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; a picnic and braai area is situated near the waterhole in the main camp. The waterhole is floodlit at night.

Read Getaway Magazine article on Addo or visit the Addo Elephant Park Website 

Directions: Take the N2 from Port Elizabeth towards Grahamstown, turn left onto the R335 to Addo, and right onto the road to the southern entrance gate. The park is also accessible from the N10 near Patterson. See the ShowMe Self Drive Route from Johannesburg to the Garden Route.

More info on the town of Addo More info on the Greater Addo area

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