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Addo Elephant National Park is a must-see South African safari park. It’s the third largest national park in South Africa and is the only national park where you can see Africa’s “Big Seven” (lions, rhinos, elephants, buffalo, leopards plus Great White Sharks and Southern Whales).

Below we’re sharing our complete overview and top tips for visiting Addo Elephant National Park, including when to go, what to bring with you, and which activities to do when you get there!


What is Addo Elephant National Park and what can you see there?

Addo Elephant National Park is a South African national safari park located in the Eastern Cape province. The park was founded in 1931 to provide a safe haven for the dwindling number of elephants in the area. Today, Addo Elephant Park covers an area of over 633 square miles and is home to over 600 elephants, as well as lions, rhinos, buffalo, leopards and a wide variety of other animals and plant species.

Herd of elephants quenching their thirst by the watering hole | Addo Elephant National Park: The Ultimate South African Safari Park Guide
Addo Elephant National Park

When to visit Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park in Eastern Cape is a fantastic location to visit all year, but it’s at its best during the dry season months of May-September. During a safari this time of year the animals congregate around the watering holes in the game park to quench their thirst, making it ideal for seeing herds of elephant. The main rest camp has a view overlooking a watering hole with an under­ground viewing area that gets you close to the elephants. If you’re lucky, you might even see all of the Big Five.

How to get to Addo Elephant National Park

There are a few different ways to get to Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The most popular way is to fly into Port Elizabeth Airport, which is located about an hour away from the park. You can also fly into Johannesburg International Airport and then take a connecting flight to Port Elizabeth, or even fly into Cape Town and make the drive.

Addo Elephant National Park is located approximately an hour drive from Port Elizabeth. If you are coming from Johannesburg, it will take you about eight hours to get there by car. And from Cape Town, it’s a 9 hours drive.

The best way to get to Addo Elephant Park is by rental car, but you can also take a bus or taxi. If you do not feel comfortable driving in Africa, taking a safari tour is a great option. There are plenty of companies that offer tours, and they will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the park.

Addo lion | Addo Elephant National Park: The Ultimate South African Safari Park Guide
Addo Lion

What to expect when visiting Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Africa. Every year, thousands of people travel from all over the world to visit this South African safari park and see the majestic creatures that call this place home.

When you arrive at Addo Elephant National Park, you will be required to pay an entrance fee. The fees are used to help with the upkeep of the game park and the conservation of its wildlife.

Once you have paid the entrance fee, you will be able to drive into the park and explore on your own or join a safari tour. Expect to see lots of elephants and a variety of wildlife throughout the park!

What are some of the animals that you can see at Addo Elephant National Park

What makes Addo Elephant National Park so special is that it is one of the only places in Africa where you can see elephants living in their natural habitat. The South African safari park was originally created to protect these elephants, and today it is still home to a large population of them. If you are interested in seeing elephants up close, then this is definitely the place for you!

Aside from the elephants, there are plenty of other animals that call Addo Elephant National Park home. Some of the other animals that you might see during your visit include lions, leopards, buffalo, rhinos, and birds. You might even be lucky enough to see a rare sighting of a cheetah!

Read more: The “Big Five” Animals You Will See on an African Safari

Plenty of elephants in the park! | Addo Elephant National Park: The Ultimate South African Safari Park Guide

African Elephant Population in this South African Safari Park

The Addo Elephant National Park in Eastern Cape is home to one of four elephant populations that survived into the modern era. The South African safari park was established as a refuge for these animals back when they were facing extinction at hands not only human but also animal predators like lions and tiger sharks!

The African elephant population has been on the rebound ever since and is currently estimated to be around 700,000. This number was once as high as three million before humans started hunting them for their ivory tusks. Thankfully, the Ivory Trade Ban of 1989 put an end to that practice and helped save these magnificent creatures!

What is the best way to see the animals at Addo Elephant National Park

One of the best ways to see the animals at Addo Elephant National Park is by going on a safari ride, as they are often found roaming around in large herds.

Another great way to see the animals is by taking an informative game drive. A game drive is a guided tour that will take you through the different areas of the park so that you can see the animals up close.

You can also choose to go on a walking safari, which is a great option if you want to get up close and personal with the animals. There are plenty of trails to choose from, and you will likely have the opportunity to see some of the smaller animals that call the park home. Just be sure to follow the guide’s instructions and stay on the trail!

Addo black rhino | Addo Elephant National Park: The Ultimate South African Safari Park Guide
Addo Elephant National Park Black Rhino

Activities that you can do at Addo Elephant National Park

In addition to going on safari rides, game drives and hiking, there are plenty of other outdoor activities that you can do at Addo Elephant National Park. There are a wide variety of different recreational activities to choose from, so you can find something that everyone in your group will enjoy.

Addo Elephant Museum

One of the best ways to learn about the history of Addo Elephant National Park is by visiting the Addo Elephant Museum. This museum is full of information about the park, and it is a great way to learn more about the elephants and all the other animals that call it home.

The museum is a great place to learn more about these majestic creatures and their importance in the world.

Self-Drive Safaris

Self-drive excursions are one of the most popular outdoor activities in Addo Elephant Park. They allow visitors to explore on their own for a fraction of the price of a guided tour.

There are detailed route maps available at each of Addo park’s entrances. Safaris led by an experienced guide can also be booked ahead of time, though they must be scheduled in advance.

Hiking in Addo Elephant Park

There are a number of different hiking trails available in Addo Elephant National Park, so you can find one that is perfect for your skill level. Hiking options range from easy trails that are great for families with small children, and to more challenging trails that are perfect for experienced hikers.

No matter what trail you choose, you are sure to see some amazing scenery and maybe even some of the park’s resident animals!

Pack a Picnic

If you want to spend the day at Addo Elephant park, pack a picnic and stop by Jack’s Picnic Site, a fenced-off area in the middle of the main park. You may also bring meat and firewood, and learn how to cook using the South African braai technique.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is available in Addo Elephant Park within the Nyathi area. Morning and afternoon rides depart from Addo Main Camp and last around two hours.

This is a great way to see the park from a different perspective and get up close to the animals.

Addo lion | Addo Elephant National Park: The Ultimate South African Safari Park Guide
Addo Elephant National Park Lion

What to bring with you to Addo Elephant National Park

When you visit Addo Elephant National Park in Eastern Cape, there are a few things that you should make sure to bring with you:

– a camera: There’s plenty of elephants and you will want to take pictures while you’re here!

– binoculars: These will come in handy for spotting animals from a distance.

– sunscreen and hats: The sun can be quite strong, so it’s important to protect yourself from the sun.

– comfortable walking shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so make sure you have comfortable shoes.

– water and snacks: It’s important to stay hydrated and fueled up while you’re exploring the park.


Addo Elephant National Park is a South African safari park like no other. With its unique mix of animals and stunning scenery, it is no wonder that this place is so popular with tourists from all over the world. So, if you are planning a trip to South Africa, be sure to add Addo Elephant National Park to your list of places to visit! You won’t regret it!

You can learn even more about the park and their conservation efforts on the South African National Park’s official website here.


Book your trip to South Africa’s Addo Elephant National Park with us! Check out our African safari itineraries and let us do all the planning for you.


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The “Big Five” Animals You Will See on an African Safari

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