In the parks early years, during times of drought (and before the waterholes were artificially kept full) the park keepers fed the elephants on oranges from the local orange groves. Gradually the elephants became addicted to the taste of the fruit! This practise stopped along time ago, but the older elephants still remember the smell and have been known to reach into vehicles and get their favourite fruit!
Flora and fauna
Rules of the road
The flightless dung beetle is a protected species in the park and have right of way. Please do not drive over or step on them.
The park has Elephant, Black Rhinoceros, Cape Buffalo, Lion and Leopard on land. In the Marine reserve you will find Dolphin, Whales (southern right) and Penguins.
Due to its terrain, Addo stays at a comfy 27 - 30 C throughout the Winter.
Addo NP is about 70km north-east from Port Elizabeth. There is no public transport to or within the park so you need your own car (car rental is available in Port Elizabeth). Or book an organized tour but going on your own pace is really the best option. The park can be visited on a day-trip from Port Elizabeth. On the road you might notice signs to the 'Addo Olifant Nasionale Park'. These signs are the old Afrikaans version of the more modern road signs.
South African Citizens and Residents (with ID) pay R40 per person, per day. SADC Nationals (with passport) pay R80 per day and foreign Visitors: R160 per day. Children under 12 years of age pay half price and children under 2 years have free entry. The rangers will do an quick search of your car when you enter and leave the park to make sure no firearms and/or animals are brought in/out.
The well kept tar and dirt road within the park can be driven with any vehicle, 4x4 is not required. Be sure to fill up your car with gas before you enter: The park is big and there are no fuel stations inside.
Games drives are available starting from the main camp at R240 per person and two hour horse trails at R245.
See & Do
The Park is famous for its elephant population that has a special, brownish skin colour due to the red soil. Amongst the elephants other animals, like ostriches, different antelopes and warthogs can be seen. As part of the park's expansion, a group of lions and a group of spotted hyenas have been introduced to the park in 2004.
A viewpoint and underground hide overlooking a watering hole is located in the main camp and can be used after vehicle access closing time to the game viewing area.
Eat & Drink
There is a restaurant and shop at the main camp, near park's entrance.
A fenced off picnic area with undercover seating, barbecue grills, water and toilet facilities is located near Hapoor Dam. No refuse bins are provided at the picnic area; you are required to take out everything you bring into the area.
Inside the park
There are 3 camps in Addo, the Main Camp in the north east near the town of Addo, with an entrance to the R342, Spekboom hide & tented camp approximately 11km south of the main camp and the much smaller Camp Matyholweni, in the south at the Colchester entrance to the park on the N2 between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown. Main Camp boasts a restaurant, camping facilities and a number of chalets for overnight stays. The recently opened Camp Matyholweniare has only chalets while Spekboom offers five secluded two man tents with braai facilities.
Outside the park
There are over 70 listed places of accommodation in the area surrounding the Addo Elephant Park. These range in price from R50 for camping to R350.00 per room for basic backpackers accommodation, or self-catering to many exclusive game lodges and a great number of bed and breakfast establishments and guest houses. Prices go up to R5000.00 per person sharing at the more exclusive resorts, but there are many facilities priced in the R250.00 - to R500.00 price range. For more information contact the reception at the park or the backpackers info centre at the Orange Elephant, who have a file containing telephone numbers and prices.
Stay in your car at all times, except where specifically permitted to leave your vehicle. At some of the unfenced lookout points one is allowed to exit your vehicle, but do so with care and only after ensuring that there are no animals around.
Do not carry any citrus fruit in your car, the elephants have developed an addiction for the fruit and will search it out!
- Go to the Mountain Zebra National Park to spot some of the rare Mountain Zebras.
- The old town of Graaff-Reinet is definitely worth a visit
- Go to Port Elizabeth and from there on to the Garden Route and Cape Town.
- Go north into the Karoo and the cities of Kimberley and Bloemfontein.