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Philip lives in South Africa and has authored many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa.
Philip lives in South Africa and has authored many Africa guidebooks, including the Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa.
Philip is the author of many Africa guidebooks, including the Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa.
Philip is author of the Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa.
Addo Elephant NP has recently been expanded and is now the third largest national park in the country. It is one of the best places in South Africa to see large herds of elephant. The elephants are incredibly relaxed, and the numerous waterholes offer very good opportunities to observe their social behavior. The other Big Five species are also present, but not as regularly seen.
Addo encompasses five distinct vegetation areas: Albany thicket (dense woodland), fynbos (fine-leaved plants), forest, Nama Karoo (dry shrubland) and Indian Ocean coastal belt. The characteristic vegetation of the main area open to tourists is Albany thicket, which is dominated by spekboom (literally ‘bacon tree’), a low-growing succulent shrub that forms the main food for the elephants.
Weather & Climate
Unlike in most other parks elsewhere in South Africa, the summer rainfall (October to April) at Addo doesn’t entirely cease in the winter months (May to September). It just diminishes, along with the heat. In fact, the midwinter nighttime temperatures can sometimes drop to freezing.
To avoid the crowds and increased prices of the park’s high season, not to mention the heavier rainfall, visit during the drier months (May to September). You will need to bring your warmest clothes to deal with the low temperatures on early-morning game drives. But at least the elephants and other animals will be easy to find, being needy of the local waterholes. In the wetter months, the wildlife disperses among the park’s thick vegetation.
Philip is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many guidebooks, including the Bradt guides to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.
Elephants up close and personal
This is a difficult park to rate fairly because it can come across as a bit of a one-trick pony. Along with Amboseli in Kenya, I would rank it the best place anywhere in Africa for exciting close-up encounters with elephants – which are...