We went to Elephant's Footprint on a recommendation and based on the reviews here. Not sure if we just caught them at an off time, but overall we were not impressed. bad game drive advice, little willingness to accommodate changes in plans, and pretty bad food seemed to be the order of the day. at around the same price, you're much, much better off at the stable cottages just north of addo town.
I will say that the rooms at elephant's footprint are great and the setting is quite nice, although you can hear the traffic on the N2 a little too much in some rooms. Access to the south entrance of the park is also really close, which is great. Geoff was very hospitable when we arrived late our first evening, but from there things went downhill.
We asked when we should go for a morning game drive and he told us that it was "not an early morning/evening park - midday is the best" Don't the animals try to get away from the heat and disappear during the day? Everyone else we asked said we should go early morning and late afternoon because animals, like us, prefer not be active during the heat of the day and therefore would be harder to find. (we were later told this by park staff as well, and subsequently saw many, many more animals in the early morning and early evening versus mid-day during our time in the park). Retrospectively, I think that he may have been trying to avoid coming so early to have things ready for us to eat and then go on an early morning drive. But we agree to 8:30 am breakfast because of his advice, which was silly - we should have just gone to the park early and come back for breakfast. The breakfast food was not great for a 4-star place, and the coffee was downright terrible. Some german tourists are there too, and they had eaten at the in-house restaurant the previous night. They tell us they are going to eat somewhere else that night, with a look that says "you should go somewhere else too!" So that night we go to Lenmore, which was lovely.
On our second evening, Geoff tells us that he has been stung by a scorpion, which is unfortunate to be sure, and we are sympathetic. Based on what the park staff told us today, we say, we'd like to go on an early morning drive the next day. He re-iterates that it is really a mid-day park. We don't care to argue, so we simply state that we would like to enjoy the early morning light even if we don't see any animals. We had earlier agreed to an 8am breakfast again, but now we would like to change so we can go on an early morning drive. He cannot get the staff to come in that early, he says. Okay, we say, how about if we go on the drive and come back for breakfast at 10am or so? There are other guests having breakfast until about that time anyway, we say. But he needs us to be out of the room by 10 am (we are checking out the next day). Okay, we say, then we will vacate the room in the early morning and the return for breakfast at 10 am. But he needs the breakfast staff to help turn over the rooms. So despite originally offering to make breakfast between 7 am and 10 am, there is actually no flexibility. We go to our room frustrated and are not sure what to do. Why are *we* the ones trying to come up with options that will work for everyone in a four staff place?? Why is there no flexibility to accommodate our plan to go out in the early morning, despite this being beside a game park, which itself offers sunrise drives to see early morning animal activity? We then find a scorpion in our room, which we dispose of ourselves. We later find out that Geoff had been stung on the premises, and did not warn other guests that these insects were about (it's true that everyone should have known this was possible, but you'd think he'd warn everyone to be extra careful with such a recent sting)
The next morning, we are leaving early to go on our early drive. We are not sure what to do because we do not want to come back to complete check-out later in the day. Luck seems to be on our side though, as Geoff comes in about 6:45 or so. Great! We'd like to check out if that's okay, we say (since we already know that coming back for breakfast is not an option). Geoff lets out a big sigh like we have asked for him to complete a marathon this morning. We complete checkout in 10 mins and are trying to leave, but now he wants to talk about this part of south africa and what it's like living here. we can tell he's trying to get back in our good books by being friendly, but his situational awareness is pretty poor - we are trying to get out for an early drive! we don't want to spend 15 mins talking now! We leave. we do not intend to return. The day improves substantially when we see a herd of zebra up close and personal as they wander right by our car, a herd of about 40 elephants, a herd of buffalo, and a group of monkeys. All spotted before 9am.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Elephants Footprint Lodge offers excellent accommodation with 12 en suite rooms under thatch room in a lapa style. Situated 2km from the Greater Addo Elephant National Park Southern Gate. This makes it the gateway to the Route of the Giants and the ideal getaway for an unique and unforgettable holiday. Dinner is served upon request Booking Essential ... more less
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