During a recent family holiday, we made a last-minute decision to get out of Cape Town and experience a little taste of Africa. Because we hadn’t planned anything in advance, we were scraping together a few ideas as to what/where/how we could give the kids (and ourselves) a quick, easy, affordable and enjoyable safari. My main goal was for us to see some really great animals in the wild, and make sure we didn’t drive all day to do it!
From Cape Town, we booked a quick flight to Port Elizabeth and rented a car. After a couple of hours, we were well on our way to Addo. Since the park reached a list of conservation milestones in recent years (introducing lions, proclaiming the extended Marine-protected area, and amalgamating the main game area and Colchester areas of the park) it is now the third largest National Park in South Africa. It is a massive game park, and yet it doesn’t feel huge when driving through; in fact, it offers easy driving in lush green surrounds, making it accessible and relaxing.
The best part of our time in Addo was the wildlife viewing. Within minutes of entering the park, we stopped two feet away from a couple of munching buffalo, who appeared completely disinterested in us as they carried on eating. Lots of wart hogs, various species of buck, a recent leopard-kill, and several zebras were a feast for the eyes in such lush surroundings. And then there were the elephants. Scattered throughout the park, we were able to spot several elephants, during each of the three days we drove through. On our last day, we met “Tusks”; an elephant bull we named. He was on his own and looked a bit agitated as he walked toward us, flapping his ears and raising his trunk in a dominant stance. We high-tailed it out before he got too close – after lots of fun squeals from the kids – but not without a few photos taken by dad!
During our three days at Addo, we stayed at the cozy DungBeetle River Lodge, which is located five minutes from the southern gate of Addo Elephant National Park and across the Sundays River. Named after the unique Addo flightless dung beetle, which is found almost exclusively in Addo, DungBeetle River Lodge is so close to the park; it is comfortable and the staff are welcoming. Our trip to Addo National Park turned out to be one of our best family-safari experiences, and highly recommended.
– Written by: Sandra Jenman