Addo Elephant National Park

A visit to the Addo Elephant National Park is simply one experience a visitor to South Africa should try and experience. To view these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat is something that will stay in your mind for the rest of your life. The park is a truly diverse area, that is located near to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape area of South Africa. It is one of South Africa’s official 20 national parks, and is the third biggest national park in South Africa.

addo elephant national park
addo elephant national park south africa
elephant crossing the road at addo elephant national park

Getting to the Park

Access to the park is pretty easy for a tourist. The nearest large city to the Park, is Port Elizabeth which is a city that is serviced by all of South Africa’s internal airlines. So getting there is really not a problem. Once in Port Elizabeth, you are able to either hire a car and do a self-drive to to the park, or alternatively there are many tour operators that offer guided tours of this magnificent National Park.

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lion at addo park south africa
rhino in the bush at addo eastern cape south africa
birdlife addo national park

Wildlife at the Park

The park currently has in excess of 500 elephants, as well as a variety of other wildlife, including the following:

  • Cape Buffalo
  • Lion
  • Black Rhino
  • Various antelope species such as Eland, Kudu, Red Hartebeest etc
  • Warthogs (Bush pigs)
  • One particularly interesting thing to see in Addo is the flightless Dung Beetle which is exclusively found at Addo.  (Elsewhere in Africa, Dung Beetles have to migrate with the herds but this is not the case at Addo).

Seeing these incredible creatures in the wild is something truly awe-inspiring. It certainly is something that we suggest all tourists to South Africa include in their bucketlist of things to do.

Accommodation at Addo Elephant National Park

Inside the park itself there is a main camp, which features a stunning restaurant, a swimming pool & various accommodation options. There are also 4 other camps that are run by concessionaires, that feature various types of accommodation that should suit all tastes & budgets.

Right outside the park itself, there are quite a few accommodation options as well. Whether you are looking for 5-star luxury accommodation, or simply a budget place to lay her head after a great day spent in the park, you will find these options in the area bordering the park.

We recommend you check out the following camps:

Addo Rest Camp
Matyholweni Rest Camp
Narina Bush Camp
Nyathi Rest Camp
Spekboom Tented Rest Camp
Woody Cape

Map of the Park

map of the park

Addo opening and closing times for gates for Addo Elephant National Park

Main entrance gate & Addo reception (off R335 / R342 near Addo)

07:00 – 19:00

Matyholweni gate & Matyholweni reception (off N2 near Colchester)

07:00 – 17:00 (Reception)
07:00 – 18:30 (Gate)

Please note:

Gates to the game areas open and close according to season. Please enquire about the current times when checking in at Addo or Matyholweni reception. Entrance to the main entrance gate and Matyholweni gate does not provide access to the game areas, but only to the park camps.
Entrance gates are staffed by security guards after closing time. Visitors with accommodation bookings can still enter and exit the gates after closing times but before 22:00 provided they inform reception of this. After 22:00, there is no access into the park as gates are closed.

What makes Addo Elephant National Park a unique wildlife destination?

Addo Elephant National Park is renowned for being the third-largest national park in South Africa and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including the iconic Addo elephants, lions, and Cape buffalo.

What are the accommodation options available within Addo Elephant National Park?

The park offers a variety of accommodation options, including rest camps, cottages, safari tents, and luxury lodges. Visitors can choose from different styles to suit their preferences and budget.

Are there camping facilities at Addo Elephant National Park?

Yes, the park provides camping facilities at various rest camps. Campers can enjoy a more immersive experience in nature, with facilities ranging from basic campsites to those with electricity and communal amenities.

How can I make accommodation reservations in Addo Elephant National Park?

Accommodation reservations can be made online through the official SANParks website or by contacting the reservations office directly. It’s advisable to book well in advance, especially during peak seasons.

What are the gate times for entering Addo Elephant National Park?

The park’s main gates are open from sunrise to sunset. Gate times may vary slightly depending on the season, so it’s recommended to check the official park website or contact the park directly for the latest information.

Can I go on a self-drive safari in Addo Elephant National Park?

Yes, self-drive safaris are a popular choice for exploring the park. Visitors can use their own vehicles or rent one within the park. Roads are well-maintained, and there are various routes to choose from.

Are guided game drives available, and how can I book them?

Guided game drives are offered by experienced rangers. These can be booked at the park’s reception or in advance online. It’s a fantastic way to enhance your wildlife viewing experience and gain insights from knowledgeable guides.

Are there any restrictions on wildlife interactions within the park?

For the safety of both visitors and wildlife, it is strictly prohibited to approach or feed any animals within the park. Visitors are encouraged to maintain a safe distance and enjoy observing the animals in their natural habitat.

Are there facilities for day visitors, and what activities are available for them?

Day visitors can access the park during normal gate hours and enjoy various activities such as self-guided game drives, hiking trails, and picnicking at designated areas. Restaurant and restroom facilities are available as well.

Can I bring my own food into Addo Elephant National Park?

Yes, visitors are allowed to bring their own food and snacks into the park. However, it’s important to note that feeding wildlife is strictly prohibited, and all litter must be disposed of responsibly to preserve the park’s natural beauty.