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The tiny town of Addo is the gateway to the renowned Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The town was first established as a railway junction in the 1930s and the area is today a major citrus producer. The origin of the town’s name is unclear. Aside from offering accommodation for visitors to the adjoining park, Addo has also become an adventure centre. The gorgeous Sundays River Valley nearby is the perfect setting for water- and acrophobic-related escapades.
Addo is an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth, the region’s largest town inclusive of an international airport. There are several Big 5 reserves along the route.
Eastern Cape weather is temperate, the regional road to Addo is fairly well maintained and scenic, and visitors can expect a pleasant stay in Addo.
Top 6 reasons to visit Addo
1. Self-drive the Addo Elephant National Park to see the more than 600 elephants roaming the park. The best time to visit is in the early morning when elephants and other mammals are most active. A few lion and hyena were introduced several years ago. One of the smallest – and most rare – creatures in the park is the flightless dung beetle which has right of way on the roads.
2. Take a helicopter flip over Addo to view the animals from overhead and to see the stark white Alexandria dune field, a dune sea that stretches for 80km.
3. Travel to the Zuurberg Mountain Village to ride the horse trails through the spectacular hills and valleys. Provision is made for riders of all skill levels.
4. Learn about the various resident wild cat breeds on a tour of the Daniell Cheetah Project, a rescue and breeding facility. Tour participants are given the opportunity to interact with a tame cheetah.
5. Looking for adventure? Adrenalin Addo offers ziplining along a 500m cable, a canoe trip on the Sundays River and a giant swing over the valley. Other adrenalin-filled sports include sandboarding and quad biking.
6. Lighten your adventure and game viewing schedule with a trip to Port Elizabeth to enjoy the café scene along the beachfront and stay for late night clubbing at one of the many hot spots in the city.
The nearest international airport to Addo is Port Elizabeth International, 70km away. Car rental companies operate out of Port Elizabeth and the airport, however, a vehicle can be ordered online. To best enjoy the Addo Park, hire a 4x4 vehicle. All major intercity bus lines run between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.
Did you know?
Two of the animals that starred in the Hollywood-produced movie Duma, were from the Daniell Cheetah Project.
The flightless dung beetle in Addo Park relies on large animals such as the elephant and rhino to feed. They roll dung into balls and bury them in strategic places to eat at a later stage, they are nature’s ideal recycling machine! Females use the balls – called brood balls – to lay a single egg to protect the larva and provide food. The dung beetle is regularly seen pushing a large dung ball using its hind legs.
Self Catering places can be found from rural to urban areas and can vary in what they offer. They allow plenty freedom and is a great inexpensive way to spend your holiday. They have been widely classified as a “Home away from home”. This is a good option for guests who don’t mind cooking their own food, and are looking for a more independent and flexible form of accommodation. For budget and large families, we would recommend self-catering for a more personalised experience.