Our Visit To Addo Elephant National Park: Experience A Real Wild Park Full of Elephants!

There is a lot that I can tell you personally about Addo Elephant National Park, its accommodation, the best times to visit the park, and more, because I have been there and I enjoyed it for sure!

If your mind has been boggling with these questions, you have come to the right place because we have all the information you need to have a splendid vacation in the heart of South Africa.

Updated 30/11/23

But first, a little History Of Addo Elephant National Park and is it worth visiting?

If ever one park that I need to choose from South Africa that I think is worth visiting, it sure is Addo Elephant National park. But I could be biased, because I adore elephants haha!

Addo Elephant National Park, located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, is a captivating wildlife sanctuary renowned for its diverse ecosystems and, notably, its thriving elephant population.

Established in 1931 by Sydney Skaife (who was an eminent South African entomologist and naturalist) to protect the last remaining elephants in the area, the park has expanded over the years to encompass a rich array of flora and fauna, including buffalo, lions, rhinos, and various antelope species.

Spanning both terrestrial and marine environments, Addo provides a unique opportunity for visitors to witness the majestic African elephant herds in their natural habitat, while also enjoying the beauty of the surrounding landscapes.

With time, the park has been expanded, which now extends to Alexandria from the Sundays River.

As of now, it spans over 1,640km, but the government intends to expand it to over 3,600km, which is massive. (sorry for my husbands’ pictures ) 🙂

Pictures by

Where Is Addo National Park Located?

Situated in Sundays River valley, Addo National Park is the best place to have a memorable wildlife experience and pays homage to the big 5, which include leopard, lion, buffaloes, rhinos, and of course, elephants.

This is a diverse conservation park that’s located extremely close to the Gqeberha region. For those who don’t know, it’s one of the twenty national parks in the country and is the third biggest park.

Click on the picture below to see where the park is located exactly on Google Maps.

Addo Elephant National Park: Our experience with this Park!

Hey there, adventurer! So, after my escapade at Schotia Game Reserve, it was time to hit up the main and bigger event – Addo Elephant National Park, just a stone’s throw away from Schotia.

Our home base was the fantastic Avoca river lodges at a Citrus Farm Accommodation, where the hosts were like safari wizards, making sure everything was set for our wildlife extravaganza and arranging all our bookings.

Now, Addo didn’t disappoint. We hopped into the safari-mobile with just one other couple – a photographer’s dream come true! You know, more room for killer shots, just like our Sibuya Game Reserve experience.

Addo Elephant Park lives up to the hype, especially if you’re an African Elephant aficionado like me. These majestic creatures were everywhere!

No touching this time, unlike my hands-on encounter at Scotia Game Reserve. But hey, it felt like we were deep in the wild, thanks to the park’s vastness and a strict “no human interference” policy. Wild is the way to go!

What blew my mind was the abundance of baby elephants. Cute overload alert! Addo’s like a nursery for these little pachyderms – truly amazing.

Our ranger was a wildlife Wikipedia, spilling the beans on everything from elephants to rhinos, buffalos, ostriches, zebras, antelopes, a dung beetle, and more. Questions were encouraged, and you bet we fired away. Rangers dig curious tourists, so don’t be shy – quiz away!

==> look at the tiny elephant right between the larger ones!

Lunchtime rolled around, and guess what was on the menu? A braai, of course! Because nothing says safari feast like a good ol’ South African barbecue.

All in all, Addo Elephant National Park delivered a chill and fantastic time. Well, minus the heart-pounding snake encounters. Picture this: a boom snake darting across the road, a speedy young cobra, and another sneaky boomsnake. Thank the safari gods we were in the safety of our car and not doing an impromptu snake dance on foot! Oops!

Stay tuned for more tales from the wild – until next time, keep those safari boots on and those questions coming!

Flora & Fauna Of Addo National Park

  • Addo National Park is known for its varied flora and remains the central part of the ecological system of the park.

In fact, there are endemic and rare plants in the park, such as geophytes and shrubs that are native to South Africa. Some plant species are actually struggling because of the environmental pressures, hence the chances of extinction.

In fact, the biodiversity of this park is home to the unique fynbos and karoo.

  • As far as the fauna is concerned, it has the healthiest population of the common terrestrial species, and all of them keep walking the 1,640km of the park and can be easily seen.

There are over 700 elephants in the park, along with 400 cape buffaloes, but the leopards are very rare.

The park introduced six lions back in 2003, and they seem quite happy – they can be easily seen at night and on sunset drives.

Not to forget, there are spotted hyenas, antelopes, Burchell’s zebra, wild dogs, ostriches, and warthogs.

On the outskirts of the park, you will be able to see blue duiker, mountain reedbuck, zebra, red rock rabbit, aardwolf, hippos, and gemsbok.

Take a look at the video below, to see more impressions of the wildlife of Addo National Park:

What is the Right Time To Visit The Addo National Park?

If you want to enjoy the real essence of Addo National Park, you need to visit during May and September.

That’s because these months are considered the dry season, and you will be able to see a majority of wildlife as they gather around different waterholes to quench their thirst.

Elephants gathered around water in dry season.

Also, make sure that the trip to Addo National Park is extended to two to three days to enjoy every corner and view every flora and fauna!

Visiting The Addo National Park- How to get there?

When it comes down to visiting Addo National Park, many people are confused about the commute.

However, there is nothing to worry about as it’s located at a thirty-minute drive from Port Elizabeth National Airport, so near a large city, and it is quite easy to get there!

Moreover, the roads are tarred for cars.

Pictures by

Topping it all, there are high-end shopping centers, sports venues, and eateries to suffice all your needs while helping you enjoy nature and wildlife.

From the airport, you can easily rent a car or hire a cab!

Here are the opening hours of Addo National Park:

  • The main entrance gate and the Addo reception (off R335 / R342 near Addo), is open from 7am till 19pm

  • The Matyholweni gate and the Matyholweni reception (off N2 near Colchester), is open from 7am till 17pm at the reception, and from 7am until 18h30 at the gate.

A red Heartebeest

Can you stay in Addo National Park- Accommodation

Since you need to stay at the park for two to three days to have the real experience, it’s evident that you need proper accommodation. And there is lots of choices in that area!

And then the question: “how much does it cost to stay in Addo National park”, could also come up?

Well that depends: ranging from tented camps to boutique hotels and luxury lodges or even glamping , there are various options, but we have outlined a few best options, such as;

Little Sisters Self-Catering Place

This Addo National park accommodation is only two minutes away from the park if you come through the Matyholweni gate of the Colchester area.

In fact, this place is only 300m away from the Sundays River, and you can take a stroll in the nearby dune fields.

The best thing about this place is that you will be able to see warthog, hartebeest, eland, buffalo, and zebra.

As far as the facilities are concerned, the rooms are nice, and there are all essential amenities available, but you have to do everything on your own since it’s a self-catering place.

Dungbeetle River Lodge

This is a promising guest house located at the bank of Sundays River and is only five kilometers away from the Colchester entrance of the park.

The guest house boasts the most mesmerizing views of the rivers, and you can sit on the decks to enjoy the scenic sides.

In addition, the guest house staff can arrange paddle boarding, river cruises, swimming, and canoeing activities.

Take a look at what this lodge looks like in the video below:

Broadlands Country House

This is one of the most beautiful places where you can stay to enjoy the authenticity of the region.

The farmhouse is bordered by orange blossoms that greet you on arrival and create a welcoming environment.

There are five en-suite rooms that offer a view of the dam, endless orchards, and an African oasis.

There are bread and breakfast options with dinner to fill your tummy after a long day of adventure.

Here’s another little video of this gorgeous place to stay a few nights or longer.

Homestead B&B

In case you are fine with the self-catering accommodations, this is another comfortable option. This place is perfect for people who are fond of camping as it has all the essential amenities and is surrounded by lush green gardens.

Homestead bed and breakfast.

More accommodations coming soon, please bookmark my website!

Medical Suggestions

For the longest time, South Africa has struggled with Malaria, but this of the country region is now malaria-free.

In addition, you don’t need to worry about bilharzia either because there haven’t been such cases in the region for years.

When you visit the Addo National Park, the medical facilities are only thirty minutes away, so you don’t need to worry about medical emergencies, but it’s best to bring a first aid kit.

As far as the vaccinations are concerned, you should get the COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test required before departure as it’s mandatory to travel!

Some more FAQs on Addo Elephant National park.

Furthermore, people might still have more questions on a topic, so here we go trying to answer them all!

How many lions are there in Addo Park?

To my last knowledge, this park now has 17 lions!

How many days do you need to visit Addo Park?

I spent only one day in the park, but I could stay there for at least three days, loved it!

Can you do a self-drive in Addo National Park?

Yes, you can do a self-drive in Addo, but if you can, I would always go with a ranger, who has a kingdom of information on all the animals, including birds if you are interested in them.

Can you spend the night in Addo Elephant Park?

Yes! You can stay in a 5-star luxury suite called River Bend Accommodations.

Is there the Big 5 in Addo National Park?

Yes all 5, and even the 7 five! But what this park doesn’t have, are giraffes, because originally, they weren’t present in the area and they decided not to import them into the park.

My Final Conclusion.

I hope that you enjoyed this blog post on the Addo National Park accommodation and more insights.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask them below in the comment section, or join me on one of my social media channels below, where you can find more pictures of my travels to Africa 😉

I wish you happy travels!

Kind regards,


I now have a YouTube channel as well!


6 thoughts on “Our Visit To Addo Elephant National Park: Experience A Real Wild Park Full of Elephants!”

  1. I was fortunate enough to visit Addo Elephant park on a visit to South Africa about seven years ago. It was easy to get there from Port Elizabeth. We only spent the one day in the park, driving through from on gate to the other, and did say that it would be ideal to stay in or near the Park when on visits to get more out of the Park itself and the surrounding areas. 

    We did see lots of elephants and lions and even had a close encounter with an elephant. I would highly recommend visiting the Addo National Park and I will have a closer look at your suggestions for accommodation when planning our next trip. 

    • Hello Line!

      That sounds wonderful, I’m jealous haha! I hope that you will get back to South-Africa soon 🙂

      I wish you happy travels!

      kind regards,


  2. This place sounds so nice and a place I would like to visit someday. I have not ever left the states. I love animals and I am glad they made a safe haven for these animals to enjoy their lives.

    The part where they only had 11 elephants when they started the park made me very sad, I glad to hear that the amount of elephants have got up greatly. 

    Thank you!

    • Yes indeed Reggie! I am always sad to see when nature declines as well, but a happy story like this makes it better for sure!

      Kind regards,


  3. Hello Lizzy.

    You seem to care about animals and desire the best for the environment, based on what I’ve read. The facilities are excellent, and the food is amazing!

    Addo National Park is a thrilling experience! All of the creatures, as well as the beautiful leopards, lions, buffaloes, rhinos, and elephants, are part of the park’s biological system. Who wouldn’t want to visit South Africa after seeing this beauty?

    This is a great article to which a lot of people can connect. Animals and nature, in general, are two of my favorite things. You’ve made an amazing documentary, and I appreciate you sharing your experience with us.


    • Thank you Rosie for this positive comment and I hope that you will enjoy Addo National park if you ever get there!

      Kind regards,



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