The third largest national park in South Africa, Addo Elephant National Park stretches from the semi-arid area of Karoo in the north around Darlington Dam, over the rugged ZuurbergMountains, straight through the Sundays River Valley and then south to the coast between the mouths of the SundaysRiver and the Bushman’s River. Covering approximately 180 000 hectares, this spectacular nature reserve includes the Bird and St Croix Island Groups.
Originally founded in 1931 with only 11 elephants, today Addo Elephant National Park is a sanctuary for over 600 elephant, lion, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, a variety of antelope and zebra species, as well as the unique Addo flightless dung beetle. The park can claim to be the only National Park to conserve the ‘Big 7’ – the usual Big 5, as well as the Southern Right Whale and Great White Shark off the AlgoaBay coast.
AddoElephantPark activities include guided game drives, Eyethu hop-on, Addo horse trails, Zuurberg horse trails, hiking, bird watching, discovery trails and 4×4 trails.
- Guided Game Drives
There are a number of game drive options available, conducted by knowledgeable, qualified guides on open-top vehicles. The drives are usually two hours in duration.
Times for the game drives include:
Sunrise Drives: 06:00 (summer) or 07:00 (winter)
Day Drives: 09:00, 12:00 and 15:00
Sunset Drives: 16:00 (winter) or 18:00 (summer)
Night Drives: 18:00 (winter) or 20:00 (summer)
- Eyethu Hop-On
Guides can be hired at affordable rates to accompany you in your vehicle and guide you through the game area. These are local community members who have been trained as guides and now run their own small businesses.
- Addo Horse Trails
The morning ride (08:00) is for less experienced riders and is 2 hours long. The afternoon ride (14:00) is for experienced riders only, and is 3 hours long.
All horse trails are conducted by experienced guides on sure-footed, well-trained horses. Riding hats are available for visitors’ use. Addo horse trails depart from the main camp to the Nyati area which is home to elephants, buffalo, black rhino, zebra and antelope.
- Zuurberg Horse Trails
Zuurberg horse trails are suitable for all categories of riders and take place through fynbos and forest, with 1-, 3- or 5-hour excursions available.
- Hiking Trails
The various hiking options range from a 1-hour trail, suited for those who want a sedate walk, to the 4-hour Doringnek Trail.
- Bird Watching
The SASOL Red Bishop Bird Hide is located opposite the waterhole in the main rest camp, offering guests a view of red bishops, weavers, herons, coots and terrapins. The main game area is filled with 170 bird species, while the expanded park contains as many as 450 species in a diversity of habitats.
- PPC Discovery Trail
The PPC Discovery Trail is a short walk through a 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.
- 4×4 Trail
Ride the Bedrogfontein 4×4 trails between Kabouga and Darlington and immerse yourself in breathtaking views and early 20th century history. This route was the scene of fierce battles during the Anglo-Boer war.