Greater Addo Full Travel Guide (a bit more information)
Greater Addo Overview
Although dominated by the Addo Elephant National Park, there is much more than just elephants on offer in the Eastern Cape’s Greater Addo region. The Greater Addo region is home to some of the best wildlife safaris and safari lodges in South Africa and is the only place in the world where visitors can spot the famous Big 7 in one area – making the Addo region a must-see stop on many a trip to the Garden Route and Eastern Cape.
The Greater Addo region encompasses the incredibly attractive Sundays River Valley and extends from Darlington Dam in the north to the Eastern Cape town of Colchester on the coast and so offers a good range of outdoor activities and some stunning scenery to be admired. This incredibly diverse and strikingly beautiful region in the Eastern Cape is a great destination for anyone keen on seeing some African wildlife and looking for an experience a little off the beaten track, despite the many visitors to the Addo Elephant National Park, the remainder of the Greater Addo region remains relatively undiscovered. The farming community towns of Kirkwood, Jansenville and Addo itself offer a great insight into a more rural way of life in South Africa’s Eastern Cape and are well worth a visit and offer a glimpse into the less touristic side of Addo.
How to get to Greater Addo and Addo Elephant National Park
The nearest airport to the Greater Addo region is Port Elizabeth Airport, which depending on where you are staying in the Addo area can be anything from a 45 minute to a two hour drive away - the Addo Elephant National Park is about a 45 minute drive from Port Elizabeth. There are regular flights into Port Elizabeth Airport from both Johannesburg and Cape Town and many safari lodges will include a transfer.
The easiest way to get to Addo by car is probably from Port Elizabeth on the R335. Addo Elephant National Park is approximately a 45 minute drive from Port Elizabeth along excellent roads and is well sign-posted. If choosing to drive from Johannesburg, the N1 almost runs straight past Addo Elephant National Park and journey time is about 13 hours. Car hire is readily available in the Eastern Cape, at airports, in towns and cities or online, we would recommend booking car hire in advance as rates will be cheaper.
When to go to Addo
The climate in the Addo region is fairly similar to that of the rest of the Eastern Cape, so winters tend to be mild and dry and summers are warm, making it a good all year round destination. April to September tend to be the drier moths in the Addo region and are therefore, the best months for game viewing as animals congregate around waterholes and so are easier to spot. It can get very cold at night though in the Addo region during the winter months of June, July and August and frost is not uncommon, so if you intend to travel at this time make sure you bring something warm for the evenings. We would recommend April or May as the best time to visit Addo - the days are still pretty warm and game viewing is at its best.
Things to do in the Greater Addo region
There are plenty of things to do to keep visitors entertained in the Greater Addo region and nearby Port Elizabeth, many of which unsurprisingly involve African wildlife.
Nature, wildlife and family things to do
One of the must-do’s for anyone when visiting the Addo region is a trip to the Addo Elephant National Park. Whether you drive around yourself to spot the large range of wildlife such as lions, buffalo, elephants and more or whether you choose to take a guided tour, the Addo Elephant National Park is an excellent choice for a day or overnight safari.
The Greater Addo region is also home to a large number of private game reserves, many of which are highly luxurious and offer a great end to a Garden Route holiday. An Eastern Cape Safari at one of these top game lodges is highly recommended for a true out of Africa experience.
For families a trip to the Daniell Cheetah Breeding Farm in Kirkwood (about 45 minutes drive from Addo town) is a fun activity and canoeing or quad biking at the Sundays River are also a great way to keep the kids entertained when in the Addo region. The Lenmore Complex, located on Addo’s main road also has a Raptor Reptile Centre which offers an educational experience for all.
In the winter month of July the heaving annual Kirkwood Wildlife Festival also makes for a great few days entertainment when the quiet farming town of Kirkwood becomes the centre of fun and festivity and right on the edge of the Greater Addo region lies another farming town Jansenville which is also well worth a visit. The surrounding nature reserves provide some very striking and arid Karoo-like scenery and If you are a fan of Anglo-Boer War forts, there’s one from 1901 on the top of a hill just outside Jansenville. The Jansenville museum building, a well preserved art deco home, is also worth a stop.
Eating out and Nightlife in the Greater Addo region
Many of the Greater Addo region’s hotels and safari lodges have their own dining facilities in the premises and often provide great food for guests. A few of these resorts also open their restaurants to non-residents and there are a few places to eat within the Addo Elephant National Park itself. Nightlife in the Addo region is pretty limited, although you are bound to find a pub or two in some of the larger towns and again many accommodation facilities will have a bar. If you are looking for anything more lively, Port Elizabeth is the nearest place with an active nightlife scene. We would strongly advise having a set destination in mind before heading anywhere though, and driving around at night is not something that we would recommend. Generally evenings are spent enjoying a braai and a few drinks at your Addo accommodation whilst listening to the sounds of the bush around you.
Accommodation in the Addo region
Addo is very well known for its safaris and so it will come as no surprise that there is a good range of safari lodges to choose from. Many of these Addo safari lodges are based in and around the National Park itself or on private land adjacent to Addo Elephant National Park. It is not necessary to stay in the park itself to take advantage of great game viewing though and the Eastern Cape town of Colchester also has some good accommodation options and is a great base for exploring the area.
Book your trip to Greater Addo and the Addo Elephant National Park now using My Guide Eastern Cape!