We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Best area in Park to see wildlife

rsa
australia
Level Contributor
873 posts
39 reviews
Save Topic
Best area in Park to see wildlife

This might be a silly question, but I have looked through the forum, and connot see where anyone has mentioned the best areas to see the wildlife in the National Park. I have looked at the San Paks site, and the main camp is in the middle of the park (or therabouts) Does this mean this is a better area to stay, for wildlife viewing?Have looked at the new San Paks Camp, which is at the bottom of the National Park, which has now made me wonder, and raise this question. I do like the idea of staying right in the National Park, but I have seen some very nice guesthouses, close to entrances to the park. We will only be staying here for 2 nights, before we head off to Kruger, where we will be staying within the park at Sanpaks camps. Can I say that I have received great response from my previous posts,and I thank all involved. Looking forward to replies.Thanks RSA

Mentioned in this post
Hillcrest, South...
Level Contributor
16 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Best area in Park to see wildlife

Hi, Addo is actually small enough that you can easily cover the whole park in a day. Obviously animals are wild and move all over the place, and also in the park there is varying terrain, so cheetahs etc will favour open plains, kudu in the thick bush.

We always stay in the main camp - there is a wonderful waterhole hide to have evening drinks and watch the animals come to drink. The sounds at night are also wonderful. Neither of these will be available to you if you stay at B&Bs outside the park. Also what is nice about the camp is that at reception there is a board where people indicate where in the park they have seen ele, rhino, lion etc.

No matter if you stay in guesthouses or in the camps, nobody is allowed in the park at night unless with organised night drives.

Kruger camps are a lot bigger than Addo, so you will get a different experience at both. Depends really what level of comfort you fancy as well. I would stay in the park.

Mentioned in this post
rsa
australia
Level Contributor
873 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Best area in Park to see wildlife

Hello, Thank you for your reply to my post. Good to hear that Addo is a small park. Should be good for us first timers from Australia. Now all we have to do is make our Booking with San Paks. Any thoughts as to the best cottages in Main Camp. ? We would like one with a good outlook, so looking over the waterhole might be a good thought .Which ones are those? Looking forward to replies. Thanks RSA

Cape Town
Level Contributor
10,308 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Best area in Park to see wildlife

Was just about to say that I posted this information for you just a day or two ago. Then I remembered that I then suggested that you to start a new thread about Addo to avoid confusion!!

Here is the information again about the accommodation and different camps! Nowadays we always book a 2bd+Dsc chalet (code CH2/4) in the main camp. These are the biggest chalets with full kitchens and bathrooms. Nearly all have their terrace with a good view of the game area and you can watch Elephants and Kudu over breakfast.

As I say below the Rondavels are also good, although they are smaller and don't have their own kitchens. Closer to camp though and you can look out over the floodlit waterhole at night for some extra game viewing!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is a copy of the outline camp information in Addo that I have posted previously with a bit of updating - prices are somewhat out of date but you can check on the SANParks website:

There are four camps in Addo and these are very different. The Main RestCamp is a normal type of SANParks camp. A varied range of accommodation, from camp sites up to very well equipped chalets and cottages with bathrooms, airconditioning and private terraces. The camp has a wide range of facilities, including a good restaurant, shop, petrol station and swimming pool. You can be self driving in the game area within 2 minutes of leaving your chalet. The park also offers Open Vehicle game drives – particularly in the evening and at night when the park is closed for general entrance.

The Matyholweni camp is a new small camp (just nine chalets) in the Southern Area of the Park. It is very easy to get to being just a few minutes from the N2 highway and only 30 mins from PE. Probably about 20-30 mins quicker to get back to the airport. The chalets are modern, well furnished and in a lovely quiet situation. There is no restaurant here so you will need to self cater. However there is a Spar Supermarket in Colchester just 5 mins drive away - next to the BP service station on the N2.

The Southern section of the park has recently been much more opened up and new roads and viewing routes constructed. Quite a lot of animals have been located into this area - including Red Hartebeest, Zebra and, I think some Buffalo. There are naturally quite a lot of Kudu and smaller game there. They have now moved some Elephants down and have removed the fences between the two sections. So there is not concentrated viewing here but it is a pleasant 15km, half an hour's drive to the gate into the main Game Area. From there you will be in a among the main animal population so, although you could drive straight to the Main Restcamp in another half hour, you will be stopping all the time to look at things so it will normally take longer!

The newest camp is the Specknboom Hide camp. This is a small all-tented camp (only 5 tents) with a much more true bush experience. No Electricity or kitchens. You Braai your food and there are communal ablutions. Right next to a large Watehole and you will get unique animal viewing all through the night. Bring a powerful searchlamp.

For a first time visit to Addo I would recommend the Main RestCamp but if there is no accommodation available here then Matyholweni is a good alternative. On balance I would still book one night in the main camp so that you can go on a sunset or night drive – also see the tip about changing reservations.

Narina is something very different. It is not a game viewing camp but a Bush Camp in the more mountainous northern region of Addo some hour or so’s drive from the Main Camp. There is only smaller, forest game in this region. There are only four permanent two-man tents and there are no facilities at all – not even electricity. You need to book the whole camp. So it is for a group who want to have a totally bush experience in the forested mountains away from all trappings of modern life.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Then in the main camp there are differnt accommodation choices :

We have stayed in quite a few of the different Addo accommodations. In general they are all good an fantastic value for money (around R350 pppn). All the different types of accommodation are fine. The first tip is that as a first time visitor stay at the main Addo Rest camp. There is nice accommodation at the new Matyholweni camp down near the N2. But this is about 40 mins drive from the main game viewing areas (speed limit 40kph max) so stay at the main camp which is 2 mins into the game Areas.

For two people together - particularly if you don't want to cook a lot - my first choice would be a Rondavel. These are traditional style round thatched houses but with most mod cons. WC and shower, fridge/freezer, air conditioning. If you want to cook there is a separate kitchen with a number of electric cookers shared between the six Rondavels. They are situated next to the main Camp waterhole so you will see Elephants and sometimes Black Rhino and other game from your private terrace. The other advantage is that these are closer to the restaurant and shop - only 2mins walk across the road. One disadvantage to these is that they do get booked up first.

The next recommended type is the standard double bed plus sleeper couch chalet. There are more of these. These are around 4 mins walk from the restaurant. They are larger and more spacious. You have a full bathroom (bath and separate shower) and a full kitchen with cooker and microwave. These are also fine for two adults or adults plus two young children. There are a few semi-detached chalets which don't have the extra couch. These are obviously smaller but surprisingly both cost R700 so always book a larger one if you can.

The "cottages" are a little different they are now maybe 6 mins walk. These are the only type of accommodation with satellite TV - but, hey, that's what you've come here to get away from.

There are other types - the safari tents are more basic but cheaper and you have shared ablutions. I have never tried the Forest Cabins but again these are designed for 4 people and are a little more rustic and "outdoors".

The best accommodation at Addo are the two Guest houses - more luxury but again for 4 or 6 people.

Edited: 7:16 pm, October 20, 2011
Mentioned in this post
Addo Rest Camp
Addo Rest Camp
489 Reviews
Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa
rsa
australia
Level Contributor
873 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Best area in Park to see wildlife

Hello, Many thanks to Van de caab, for all the information with regard to AddoMain camp.We have now included Addo in our Itinerary, and are very excited ablut this. I have contacted Sanpaks, by email, and will make our Booking on the 1st of November, for October 2012. I have selected Chalet No 46 (CH2/4) after reading Van de caab's posting.Sanpaks, have advised me that if I send an email, they will hopefully secure No 46 (CH/4) for us. We are unable to make this special request as an online Booking. Can I ask if anyone goes to this much trouble, or do you just make an online Booking for a specific type of chalet, and hope for the best.? Not sure how an email will secure our Booking. We could also phone on the 1st of November,but the cost from Australia, might be a bit expensive, if you are on the phone for a while! I have allready registedred with Sanpaks. Do you recommend hiring a guide for a few hours, or should we just do it ourselves.? We plan to go on the a late afternoon safari on the first day, and maybe the sunrise one also.Looking forward to your reply. Regards RSA

Cape Town
Level Contributor
10,308 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Best area in Park to see wildlife

Hi RSA

Thanks for the pm but it’s better to reply here.

First of all Unit 46 is NOT a chalet (CH2/4) it is a “Cottage” (CO2Z). These face in the opposite direction to the Chalets and don’t, I think, have such good views over the game area. The chalets are high up and look outward over a wide open area below where you will often see lots of Elephants and Kudu especially. The map doesn’t show this well as each row is higher and looks over the ones below. 33-38 might be just the best.

I have not stayed in a Cottage for some time and they have been recently upgraded. They are detached but are a bit less spacious than the chalets. They have smaller bathrooms and kitchens. They do have TVs. But as I say don’t you come on holiday to get away from that! The Z designation means that this particular cottage is equipped for disabilities – mainly the bathroom. No problem booking it but otherwise better to leave it for someone who needs it.

Then there are lots of reasons to book by a different method than on-line. On-line has an advantage of being instant – especially if it is out of hours, you are booking late and there is only one unit of a particular type available.

Otherwise always book directly. I would always suggest by phone. International phone calls are nowadays cheap on most call plans. I know they are from SA, UK or USA and I think probably also from Australia. For even cheaper use an Internet VOIP calling system such as Skype, www.rynga.com or www.12voip.com which are often basically free. Although there is, of course a problem from Australia with time difference.

The three main advantages of booking by phone are :

1. You can make reservations a month earlier. Phone (and e-mail) bookings open for October 2012, as you are aware, on Nov 1st 2011. On-lines reservations won’t open until December 1st.

2. If you make a booking now by phone (NOT on-line) you have another 30 days to change your mind (even cancel) without any cost. You then pay a 30 percent deposit and the balance is not due until 30 days before you come. For your booking this means September 2012. Phone +27 12 428 9111. The people at SANParks reservations are the most helpful and efficient that I know in SA and if you know what you want they will complete everything for you and help you find what you need. However, if you book on-line you pay 100 percent straight away!

3. It is much easier to cancel bookings if you have booked by phone (or e-mail). Officially SANParks says that you can’t cancel if you book on-line but in practice if you have a reason they will definitely accept a cencellation. However, as I say, cancellation or change is much easier for phone bookings. So book asap to get some accommodation on the board - if you want to cancel or change later you can do this easily.

E-mail bookings should also work. Disadvantages to me are that there is no instant feedback as there is on the phone. If a booking is not available you don’t know until you get a return e-mail and then you have to start all over again. Obviously on the phone you can finalise things there and then – you normally get full e-mail confirmation sent to you within a couple of minutes.

However, AFAIK, you can’t reserve specific units by phone. It is good news that they say they will do this by e-mail – even 11 months ahead. If I want a specific unit I normally reserve later by phone directly with the camp, not central reservations. I do this in lots of Kruger camps but for Addo I don’t normally bother. But if you can just request on the same e-mail why not!

So for a booking a long time ahead I would expect e-mail to work fine – but I would still prefer phone!

The late afternoon (Sunset) drives are well worth it as you stay in the game area long after the gates are closed for self drive. You also get some night time driving before returning – better than the night drives IMO. Morning drives don’t offer much advantage over getting out into the park at 6am in your own car. You will already have some pointers of where to go from the previous evening. For the same reason I have never bothered to hire a self-drive guide.

Anyway I am sure you will have a great time. Ask on here if any more questions.

Mentioned in this post
Gold Coast...
Level Contributor
5,562 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Best area in Park to see wildlife

rsa

Regarding calling Sanparks from Oz we have done it several times in the evening here when it is morning in SA.

Check what phone plan you are on, we were concerned but when our bill arrived the calls were only $3 each, which we were very happy about, considering we are not on a specific plan for calling overseas.

7. Re: Best area in Park to see wildlife

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 5:16 am, January 27, 2013
Get answers to your questions about Addo Elephant National...