This malaria free national park is best known for its robust elephant population, considered one of the densest elephant populations in the world.
Another special feature of Addo Elephant Park is that it is home to the ‘Big Seven’(elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, the southern right whale and the great white shark). Addo Park is said to be the only game park in the world to host the 'Big Seven' in the wild.
Addo game park is also a unique wilderness area, because it encompasses both land-based and marine habitats, and includes five of South Africa's seven major vegetation biomes (zones).
Addo Elephant National Park is currently the third largest national park in South Africa, covering about 170 000 hectares (444 700 acres), including the Bird and St Croix Islands.
Addo was proclaimed a national park in 1931, to protect the last 11 elephants remaining in the area. Today the park is home to over 550 elephants, having expanded to conserve a large array of habitats, hosting a variety of fauna and flora.
The original national park has since grown to include the Woody Cape Nature Reserve and a marine reserve, incorporating the St. Croix Island and Bird Island. These islands serve as important breeding habitats for gannets and penguins, as well as a wide variety of other marine species. Bird Island is inhabited by the world's largest breeding colony of gannets (at around 120 000 birds) and the second largest breeding colony of African penguins. St. Croix Island is said to be home to the largest breeding colony of African penguins.
The South African National Park's Board plans to expand the approximately 1 640 km² Addo Park into a 3 600 km² area to form the Greater Addo Elephant National Park.
Addo Park is home to lion, Cape Buffalo, Black Rhino, spotted hyena, leopard and zebra (Burchell’s and Cape Mountain zebra), in addition to its large elephant population.
The most unique of the game park's residents is the Addo flightless dung beetle, which occurs almost exclusively in the Addo region.
Other wildlife includes baboons, aardwolf and red rock rabbit, along with numerous antelope species. Atelope species include the mountain reedbuck, eland, springbok, blue duiker, red hartebeest, eland, kudu and bushbuck.
As the Addo Park expands to incorporate more habitats so does the diversity of its birdlife, growing to include coastal, woodland and grassland bird species. In Addo Park you can expect to see many Bokmakierie, as well as perhaps sighting Martial Eagle, Black Korhaan, Blue Crane, Black-headed Heron, Denham's Bustard and Secretary birds.
Addo Elephant National Park is located in the rugged, laid-back and less touristy Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Situated one hour's drive from the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, Addo is an accessible yet authentic safari destination.
The national park stretches from the semi-arid karoo area to the north (around Darlington Dam), spanning the rugged Zuurberg Mountains and the Sundays River Valley. To the south Addo Park extends down to the east coast, between Sundays River Mouth and the Bushman’s River mouth.
Addo's location adds to the appeal of this game park, as it lies in a malaria free area, in a remote and rural part of South Africa. Visiting this province gives you more of a truly African experience, than travelling to relatively westernized areas, such as the Western Cape. Addo Park is conveniently located between the scenic Garden Route and unspoilt Wild Coast areas of South Africa.
Addo Elephant Park experiences mild and pleasant weather throughout the year, making it a good safari destination year-round.
The best time to visit Addo Park for game viewing is from April to May when the weather is warm and mostly dry.
Addo is in a semi-arid area, receiving an average rainfall of less than 445mm per year. There are two peak rainfall seasons, from February to March and from October to November, but the rainfall is generally evenly distributed throughout the year.
Daytime temperatures range between 15°C and 32 °C in January and between 5 °C and 18 °C in July. Frost is quite common in winter, June to early August when nights can get chilly.
Use the Google map to explore Addo Elephant Park. Feel free to Print the Street Map when you're ready.