On the sixth day, we drove off to Addo Elephant National Park and the kids were excited to get close and personal with elephants and other animals. The park is a magnificently diverse and offers a wide variety of game viewing, outdoor adventure, accommodation and cultural experiences. The park includes Bird Island and St. Croix Island in Algoa Bay and is home to the Big 7 – Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, Humpback Whale and Great White Shark.
Now the third largest national park in South Africa, Addo Elephant National Park has expanded to conserve a wide diversity of biodiversity, landscapes, fauna and flora. Stretching from the semi-arid karoo area in the north around Darlington Dam, over the rugged Zuurberg Mountains, through the Sundays River valley and south to the coast between Sundays River mouth and Bushman’s river mouth, Addo covers about 180 000 hectares (444 700 acres) and includes the Bird and St Croix Island groups.
The Park is situated in a malaria free area just one hour’s drive from the coastal city of Port Elizabeth. You will be amazed at the variety of natural landscapes and wildlife species that can be experienced in one easily accessible destination. Whether you are looking for luxury, comfortable family accommodation, or rustic settings, you are sure to find what your heart desires in the main rest camp, in the rugged Zuurberg section of the park, or in one of the concession sites.
Addo’s Main Game Area and Colchester Section are the regions that most people think about when envisioning the park. Together they are roughly 24000 hectares and the self-drive route is also doable in a sedan and will help you see the best big animals in the park.
Addo Elephant National Park is managed by South African National Parks (SANParks), a public entity under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Affairs. SANParks manages a system of 19 functional national parks in seven of the nine Provinces of South Africa with a total area of just over 4 million hectares comprising 67% of the protected areas under state management. Today, SANParks is recognised as a world leader in conservation and protected area management. In the last two decades, seven new national parks have been established, totalling over 700 000 hectares, with much of this being in the under conserved biomes such as the Succulent Karoo and Fynbos.