Addo Elephant National Park. Usefull information for low cost travellers.

We visited South Africa during a 3 months roadtrip through southern Africa
(South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland).
October - December 2014.

Average Exchange rate: 1€ = 14 Rands

This park, Addo Elephant, is famous because it´s near Port Elizabeth (70 km), a big port with an airport and with the tourist Garden Route starting near, and because, you can see the “big 5”.  
So expect many tours, safari jeeps and buses. And it´s small. So quite busy park. 


We were quite disappointed with this park, with its landscape and the animals we saw.
In our opinion, it can´t rival with Kruger (and you are paying a similar price in Addo), Imfolozi - Hluhluwe or even the smaller Pilanesberg . But, it´s true that the park is easy to access, good for tourists with limited time and for those doing the main and classical South African tour from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth as it´s the southern game park you find in the country. That´s why it´s busy... and famous.

There´s are 3 different sections (that´s why the park seems big in extension when you read about its extension). The big western part is only for 4x4 and the coastal one near Alexandria (Woody Cape) has just normal game (not big). 
The main section of Addo where all the tourists go is in fact quite small. It´s OK for a sedan car. It´s the section we visited. Only the main road in the northern part is tarred, most of the roads are gravel and can get very muddy if raining, otherwise the gravel roads are fine with a sedan car.

As the park is small, it´s easy to visit it in one day.
At the reception, they give you a map (free). And don´t forget to check the spotting map to have an idea where the animals can be.

Price for the entrance: 216 R, included with the Wild Card. 

Gates: the main entrance is north of the park, on R335-R342 (around 70 km north of Port Elizabeth). The main camp it´s just close to the main gate. There´s a secondary gate on the southern part of the park, just near N2, in Colchester. Directly there´s only 40 km straight between gates (the park is really small).

There´s a petrol station inside the park (like all the SAN parks) at the main camp.
 

We didn´t see so many animals, maybe because the weather was not that good (one rainy and one sunny days). Zebras, antilopes, buffalos, elephants (but no so many)… but no lions neither leopards. Just luck like always.


Cheap Accommodation at the Addo Elephant Park.

  • Inside the park:  The price  campsite is 215 R/2p. You can check all the types on www.sanparks.org
  • Outside: it´s cheaper as there are a couple of backpackers (campsite and dorm), just around 10 km south from the main gate, on the route R335: 
Commun area at the Aardvark Guesthouse

    - Aardvark Guesthouse and Backpackers.
    We stayed here.
    Price for campsite: 60 R/pp. Very good! Clean, great kitchen and commun areas. Free wifi (only in the main area). Recommended!
  • In Colchester (south gate), only lodges (not many cheap options there).
  • Addo Town is small, rural place, with many orange plantations and big townships (orange workers). No supermarkets. You find everything needed in Colchester, Port Elizabeth or Uitenhage. 

Note:

- If visiting the coastal section of Addo, Woody Cape, there´s a backpackers near the park in Alexandria, Wild Woody Cape Backpackers (www.woodycape.co.za), with dorm and campsite, but we did not go (cause of windy weather).

- We skiped Port Elizabeth, not interested in big South African towns (except Cape Town).

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