Addo Elephant National Park is one of the South African National Parks and is a delightful reserve near Port Elizabeth. It’s easily combined with a Garden Route tour and is also perfect for a self-drive holiday. Make this part of your African elephant safari – as it’s name suggests it’s a place to see elephants, over 450 of them to be precise, but that is only part of Addo’s allure.
It is a dynamic, growing park: 5 of South Africa’s 7 biomes are covered by its 164 000 km2 which includes a marine reserve, thus enabling Addo to proclaim itself as a Big 7 destination: lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and black rhino are joined by southern right whale and great white shark. The bird count stands at 450 and plans are afoot to expand the park even further to incorporate important breeding sites of Cape gannets and African penguin.
It’s also a park that has developed hiking trails – choose between short walks and serious 3 day hikes – and guided horseback trails that can be turned into an overnight adventure.
Accommodation at Addo is varied: you can stay at one of the luxury private lodges in the area or park itself, or use the SANPARKS lodgings – simple but very comfortable chalets which overlook a well-trodden path to the waterhole in front of the main lodge. You can eat at the restaurant or take your own food and cook it in the kitchen or have a barbeque on your patio while watching elephants pass by. Just after dusk the black-backed jackals often start howling – an eerie serenade in the otherwise silent evening.