When in South Africa you definitely gotta do a Safari but what Safari should you do? It is hard to decide since there are so many options to choose from.
Kruger Park is of course one of the most famous parks probably world wide and I totally guess it is worth it, but we couldn’t make the time up to fly there and spent a hell of a money so we decided to go to Addo Elephant Park.
Which was by far one of the greatest experience ever.
So there is a thing about Safaris. You either go to a private park, which means that they have a huge area and they put a lot of animals in there which you will find in the country such like lions and giraffes. I doesn’t matter if they live in this specific area usually, so it kinda is a „fake“ Safari where the animals live their normal life and since it is „man-made“ you have the chance to go closer to the animals since you don’t have to take care of life on the ground like small bugs.
A national Park instead is a park where animals are home to the area and they just put a fence around them, mostly to protect them. So everything is wild in there, thats a reason why you need to drive the given roads and can’t drive Off-roads.
Addo Elephant Park is a National Park. It was created since in this area all the elephants where hunted and they where about to disappear. At the beginning they did put a small fence around it but the elephants decided to escape and run right into the arms of the hunters. They decided than to extend the fence around and created a huge area, by that time there were only 11 elephants left.
Addo Park is currently one of the biggest parks in South Africa.
You even have the chance to go there by your own which might sound like an awesome experience and if you have time you should do it AFTER you have done a guided safari.
This is by far the real experience since you have guides that have studied the animals for years and know exactly where to go. They keep each other updated where they have seen a lion or where the herds are drinking in the moment. They see small movements you wouldn’t even think about.
We did a Safari which was organized by our hotel. You can also go to a Safari Tour from the park. My tour was over 5 hours long and included lunch in a picnic area.
We weren’t very lucky with the lions since they took a nap in the shade and we could just see the shadows of the kings but never mind, we saw hundreds of elephants which was just incredible. I can’t even describe how amazing it looks and feels to sit in a jeep right next to a water whole where zebras are drinking and suddenly you see from the far hundreds of elephants coming closer and closer.
Lion King in real life.
I definitely recommend this park to everyone. The park experience is even greater because it is all about the search. you are sitting in the jeep, super excited and hoping to find some animals. And you will. Elephants are such incredible animals and having them walking right next to you in their natural habitat is definitely priceless.
But I think pictures say more than words so here we go.We stayed at the Hitgeheim Country Lodge & Eco-Reserve which is a little outside of the park but it is definitely a stay worth. But there are also hotels right in the park. Just check the park homepage to find more.
You can find more information about Addo Elephant park here. The park is located not far from Port Elizabeth.