While elephants may be the main feature at the Addo Elephant National Park, visitors can also view a number of other wildlife, including South Africa’s Big Five. There are also hiking and 4×4 trails for the explorer.
Why you should experience it: Game drives are a must when in any national park and there are a few options to choose from in Addo. Safari-goers can opt for a guided game drive, morning or evening or embark on their own self-driven safari. The park has over 120km of roads, most of which are suitable for your average sedan.
Unique to Addo, there’s also the rather brilliant idea of a “hop-on” guide service. A trained guide who knows the route, history and animals of Addo like the back of his hand, will hop into your vehicle to be your trained “bush eyes” while you drive.
Don’t ever get out of your car, no matter how gentle the elephants may seem and always park a distance away to give them some space.
Why you should visit: There are hiking trails in the Zuurberg section and the coastal Woody Cape area.
The Alexandria Hiking Trail in the Woody Cape, is a 32km, two-day circular, overnight trail over the dunes and coastal forest. A relatively high level of fitness is required. A minimum of three hikers and a maximum of 12 hikers are allowed on the trail per day and it costs R170 per person per night. Zuurberg has a one-hour and a three-hour trail. Hikers have to return before sunset (17:30) so plan accordingly. Costs are included in the conservation/entrance fee and bookings are essential.
A sea of dunes
Why you should visit: In the southern Woody Cape section of the park, lies the Alexandria Dune Field. This sea of dunes flows to the sea covering a distance of over 15 800 hectares. It’s the largest stretch of dunes of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
How to get there: From Woody Cape Backpackers, you can make the 10-minute walk on the boardwalk to the beach, from where you will see the dunes.
Why you should experience it: It’s not only game that is worth spotting in Addo. Birdwatchers flock here to spot the diverse species, from Karoo, water birds, cliff breeders, thicket and grasslands species, to marine birds in the Woody Cape area.
How to get there: In the Addo Main Camp, swing past the Sasol Bird Hide.
Why you should experience it: In the Addo Main Camp and Zuurberg sections of the park, you can experience the natural splendour on horseback. Ride in the Nyathi area while spotting large game. There’s an overnight trail to the Narina Bush Camp too. Morning rides (for less experienced riders) and afternoon rides (for more experienced riders) are both two hours long. A moderate level of experience is required either way to control the horses in the proximity of big game.
How much does it cost: Priced from R540 per adult. Book at Addo Main Camp Reception.
Hit the trails on a 4X4
Why you should experience it: The adventurous at heart can hit the dust on the self-drive Bedrogfontein 4×4 trail in the Darlington and Kabouga sections. It’s a breathtaking area of the park, rich in history (it was the site of fierce battles during the Anglo Boer War), complete with rock art and different vegetation areas.
How much does it cost: R620 per vehicle per day plus conservation fees per person.