First of all Addo is a national park, not a game reserve, so if your expecting to see giraffes, hippo, cheetah and herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain, don't go to Addo!!!
Right now I've got that out of the way :) I loved my 4 days at Addo, I stayed for 2 nights in the safari tents at the main rest camp, and 2 nights at the Spekboom camp, the safari tent was clean comfortable and overlooked a floodlight waterhole, would definitely book one again, on my first night there I ate at the restaurant, food was lovely and very reasonably priced, then retired to my tent with a bottle of wine to watch the wildlife.
The next two nights I was at the Spekboom site (I was late booking and couldn't get 2 nights back to back at the safari tent, book early!!) the tent was comfortable, each tent has its own braai and there is a communal kitchen with gas hobs and a fridge, the showers at Spekboom need attention, one door didn't close properly as the wood had swollen and the other shower leaked so much I barely got a trickle on me, Iiked spekboom, but don't think I would stay there again, it does have its own waterhole which you get exclusive access to then the park is closed though.
Right on to the wildlife Addo is home to the 'big 7' however this claim is a bit tenious, the marine reserve sight is poorly signposted and I gave up trying to find it, there are only 9 lions in the whole park and only a few leopards (2-3 I was told) so they are almost impossible to find, in 4 days driving round for upto 10 hours a day for 3 of those days I saw 3 lions.....!!
However most people got to Addo for the elephants, and boy of boy they did not disappoint, I spent many happy hours parked up in my hire car watching the elephants :) they wander past the cars literally within touching distance (I had one knock my wing mirror!) I only felt unsafe once amongst the elephants, when whilst driving to spekboom I encountered a solitary bull elephant in musth (hormanal state making them unpredictable and potentially aggressive) I just had to pull up on the side of the road and hope he didn't attack the car, thankfully he was more intent on getting his nuts wet :o)
I was lucky enough to see 2 black rhino as well, including one magical moonlit sighting that i'll never forget, and one that was just having a doze in undergrowth literally at the side of the road, I'm not giving away exact locations though as poaching is ripe in SA.
Other notable wildlife spots for me were water buffalo, jackal, meerkat, caracal, yellow mongoose, eland (only found in the southern section, also best place to see the leopards apparently!) you will however be sick of the sight of warthog, kudu, zebra and hartebeest if you stay for a few days like I did.
As already mentioned I self-drove in a hire car, this meant I was able to pull up and watch the animals I wanted to see, and in some cases just park up at one of the many waterholes for an hour and watch the wildlife come to me, I would do this again as and when I return to Addo, then only downside is that there are tracks that only the safari trucks can go down, so this improves the chances of seeing some species, I would perhaps do one game drive and a night drive in the future!
The shop facilities I thought were pretty good, a range of souvenirs, wide range of food and drinks, only niggle is all the meats the sell are frozen, so you have to buy them in advance to allow them to thaw prior to cooking, and their range of fruit and vegetables is sparse, so shop in advance, or enjoy a largely carnivorous diet like I did :)
You really do need spend a couple of days at addo to get the best out of it, I saw many many people just drive round at the 40km speed limit, these are probably the ones that are in and out of the park within a few hours, then moan that they didn't see anything!!
If you want to see the big 5 there are better places to go then Addo, but when it comes to elephants there is nowhere like it in the world!
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