Addo Story

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Addo Heritage

Here you walk in the footsteps on the ancient Khoisan tribes who roamed this region for centuries, hunting from the vast herds of wildlife and environment. They were joined by the Xhosa farmers and progressively moved south after rains to plant crops and find crazing for their cattle. They were then joined by the European Settlers moving North-East from the Cape in the mid 1700’s. They clashed with huge herds of destructive elephant and huge numbers were culled in order to create more space for the farmers. It was not until only 11 of this Big Giants were left in the valley, that the area and its wildlife were designated protected. Farming particularly citrus, is still a large part of the culture of the Sundays River Valley region of Addo.

Over the past 90 years, SANP and surrounding private game farms have works tirelessly to restore this magnificent region in all its biodiversity. The surrounding mountains still hold the tales of the stone-age people painted on the rocks and the wild animals, which were at one time, almost extinct, have flourished again. A true region reborn though conservation.

Addo, The Region

The Greater Addo Region encompasses the Addo Elephant National Park, serviced by the charming gateway villages of Addo, Kirkwood, Paterson and Colchester. Addo is the third largest National Park is South Africa and the only national park in the world to be able to boast with the BIG SEVEN.

• Lion
• Rhinoceros
• Cape Buffalo
• Elephant
• Leopard
• Great White Shark
• Southern Right Whale

The area stretches from the coastal waters and island home of penguin and gannets, past the towering sand dunes, through forests and bush to the majestic Zuurberg Mountains. Traversing the region is the Sundays River, forming a fertile, grassy path to the Sundays River Valley. The sheer biodiversity of the flora and fauna alone is breath-taking. With entrances to the park just 40 minutes from Port Elizabeth Airport, Addo is closer than you think and offering you more that you could ever imagine. Big Five Safaris, open-air adventures, natural attractions warm Eastern Cape Hospitality and so much more. You can explore on water and land, vehicle, quad bike, bicycle, horseback or on foot. Addo is a family-friendly destination, a place of Wild Beauty and the beauty of it all, it is a Malaria Free Area.

Addo Story

Meet the Big Seven

Addo Elephant National Park is the only Big Seven National Park in the world. The only place that you will be able to view the original African Big Five:- Leopard, Lion, Cape Buffalo, Rhino and Elephant in addition to the Great White Shark and the Southern Right Whale which round off the Big Seven. This means if you are in luck, you could just conceivably view the world’s largest marine mammal and the world’s largest land mammal in the same day…
Where else would you have this possibility, but in…. ADDO!

The Big Five were originally identified as the five most dangerous African animals to hunt, but thankfully these days, the only shots fired, are those through the lens of a camera. To view all seven, visitors can encounter the original Big Five inside the Addo Elephant National Park (accessed though the Main Gate outside Addo or the Mathyolweni Gate at Colchester. The Kabouga Gate outside Kirkwood, is only accessible by 4×4 vehicles or at several world-class Big Five Private Game Reserves in the area. Marine Safaris to view whales, sharks, dolphins, birds and much more launch from the Port Elizabeth Harbour in Nelson Mandela Bay…


Addo is located along the Eastern Cape Coastline, just north of Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha) in South Africa.
International flights arrive from Cape Town and Johannesburg International Airports arrive in Port Elizabeth with an array of car rental companies for self-drives or alternatively transfers can be arranged. Should you wish for a more immersive experience of the South African landscape, a popular route from Cape Town is through the Garden Route, or Route 62 up to Port Elizabeth. Alternatively, road trips from Johannesburg are either via Durban, the Wild Coast and the Sunshine Coast or through the Karoo Heartland.

Addo, The Town

The Hamlet of Addo was established in 1931 and is the crossroad where adventure, nature, hospitality and agriculture converge to create an action-packed, floral-scented destination for the whole family. The town is just 13km from main gate and reception area, of the Addo Elephant National Park. You can visit Addo any time of the year as the weather is excellent. Spring starts in September and citrus blossoms fill the air. From April to September, the town is abuzz with picking season and road stalls are jampacked with jams, tarts, cakes and all kinds of treats.
Distance from Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha) :60kms

Citrus and Farming

The towns of Kirkwood and Addo are home to a charming and hospitable citrus farming community who produce 12 varieties of citrus harvested between March and October. Visitors can enjoy the fruits of the farms and the citrus-scented air and even participate in a tractor tour of working farms, farm stays and sumptuous farm cuisine. The region is the largest lemon exporter in South Africa and employs over 3 000 locals workers within the Eastern Cape. There is a strong sense of social responsibility amongst the farmers. They are passionate about uplifting local communities, enabling emerging farmers and sustainable citrus farming.

What to do

Adrenalin Activities:

Adventure and the outdoors is a part of the culture of the Eastern Cape and Addo embraces that sense of Adventure through exploration, outdoor activities and adrenalin dares. Addo is home to the longest and fastest zipline in South Africa and this together with the Big Swing can be experienced at Adrenalin Addo. The Alexandria Dune Field which stretches from Alexandria to Colchester is the largest and least-degraded coastal dune sea in the Southern Hemisphere – perfect for sand-boarding and sand-sledding. Alternatively, just take a leisurely cruise or paddle down the Sundays River and admire the beauty of the dunes that surround you, as you sit quietly and wait and listen for the call of the Fish Eagle and feel the rush of the African air on your face.
Adrenalin Addo
Sundays River Adventures is waiting to take you away….

Walking, Biking and Hiking:

Follow the steps of the Khoi and San clans, the nomadic Xhosa tribes and the vast herds of wildlife by exploring Addo at a slower pace. From the panoramic Zuurberg Mountains, the coastal forests of the Woody Cap or trail along the seashore, so much is waiting for you, just around the next bend. Biking and hiking options range from an hour to multiply days, some within the national park.


Addo is also the Birder’s Paradise… With 5 of South Africa’s 7 biomes represented in the Addo region. These are namely Albany thicket, fynbos, forest, Nama-Karoo and Indian Ocean Coastal Belt. Birders are able to travel the biodiverse area of the Addo Elephant National Park and surrounds with the opportunity to spot 417 species. Guests can enjoy birding within the park and around Addo on a canoe safari, a hike, river cruise, horseback safari or guided birding walk.


For those that enjoy a little extra special pamper, why not take time out to relax and enjoy the outdoor option of a treatment in the open air of Africa. So often the classic question asked in Africa, Beach or Bush? In Addo, they ask why choose, you can have both… All you have to do is Come & Explore.

The Big Five

Immerse yourself in our timeless SA landscape, viewing enchanting variety of wildlife on safari. In addition to the Addo Elephant National Park, Addo is home to several world-class game reserves. Here visitors can choose from a stay at the Addo Elephant National Park or a stay at one of the other Game Reserves in the area. Either having a day drive into the Addo Elephant National Park or staying within the confines of the Game Reserve or do both.

Imagine sitting comfortably in a safari vehicle surrounded by the warm Eastern Cape, Malaria Free air and the barely heard sounds of the bushveld surrounding you. This is a paradise that you will wish to return to again and again. Listen to the bird-calls, sit in awe of the endangered rhino, search for that elusive leopard, marvel at the herds of antelope, the night-time roar of the mighty lion and learn the true size of the African elephant. Africa is calling you to slow down to the rhythm of the African Wilderness and come explore.

While game drives are most popular, visitors can also choose a canoe safari, marine safari, or a horseback safari. Addo is reborn through conservation and the Big Five, Big Seven are waiting for you to come and visit!

History of Addo Elephant National Park

The Addo Elephant National Park is the heart of the Addo Region and the Eastern Cape. It is South Africa’s 3rd largest national park and the only Big Seven National Park in the World. Encompassing five of South Africa’s eight biomes and a remarkable array of African Wildlife. The park stretches from the Zuurberg Mountains to the coastal dunes of Alexandria. It is a region reborn through conservation – a vast, diverse area that is open to welcome you and is yours to explore.

In 1931, 2000 hectares were proclaimed as protected area to preserve the remaining 11 elephants of Addo. Today the park is home to an elephant population that has grown to more than 600. The Park has expanded to include the Alexandria Forest, Woody Cape Nature Reserve, The Coastal Breeding islands of Algoa Bay, and the Darlington Dam. It is a slice of South African Paradise with a variety of habitats accommodating species that once roamed freely through these parts.

Why Addo? It is a Game-Rich, Big Seven & Malaria Free Destination of Choice.
The Marine protected area is home to 60% of the world’s African Penguins and more than 200 000 Gannets to name just two of the 23 Pelagic bird species on the park’s 400+ birding list.

The Sections of the Park

The Addo Main Camp:

• This is situated between the towns of Addo and Paterson and is the main hub of the park
• Perfect for day visitors.
• Offers activities, wheelchair friendly PPC Discovery Trail, birding, underground viewing hide, restaurant and picnic area.
• Also does offer accommodation.

Nyathi Rest Camp:

• Exclusive self-catering options, nestled at the foot of the Zuurberg Mountain range and surround by the rolling hills, breath-taking views of the river and game viewing options.

Camp Matyholweni:

• Is just 3km from the town of Colchester Village at the Sundays River Mouth providing access to both the inland and the coastal sections of the park. Fishing, canoeing, river cruises and other activities are offered in the area.

Woody Cape:

• It is situated within the indigenous Alexandria Forest, about one and a half hours from the main camp. It is a popular choice for hikers and birders and the coastal dune fields are the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.


• Kabouga is surrounded by the rugged mountains of Zuurberg and densely fragrant vegetation and is located near the town of Kirkwood.
• There are two camps situated here. Please note that Kabouga is only 4×4 accessible and has no electricity Mvubu is a campsite on the banks of the beautiful Sundays River – an excellent choice for birders and nature lovers.


• Is centered around the Darlington Dam offering a remote experience amongst the nama-karoo vegetation and wildlife of the Addo Elephant National Park.
• Activities include camping, fishing in the dam and 4×4 trails.

Remote Zuurberg

• This is an adventurous choice with hiking and guided horse trails on offer. Day visitors can enjoy 2 shorter day hikes.
• Narine Bushcamp provides a secluded rustic forest getaway on the banks of a mountain stream at the foot of the Zuurberg Mountains. It is only accessible for high-clearance vehicles are there is no electricity.

Algoa Bay Marine

• Protected area was declared around Bird Island to protect important marine resources and along with the St Croix Island Group, joined the national park in 2005. The coastline is home to the largest coastal dune field in the Southern Hemisphere and the ocean is a biodiverse as the land.

What could you expect to Experience

• African Elephant
• Zebra
• Buffalo
• Kudu
• Warthog
• Flightless Dung Beetle
• Springbok
• Waterbuck
• Lion
• Spotted and Brown Hyena
• Baboon
• Vervet Monkey
• Blue Duiker
• Black Rhino
• Bat-eared Fox
• Ostrich

• Thresher Shark
• Cape Fur Seal
• Cape Clawless Otter
• African Penguin
• Cape Gannet
• Cape Cormorant
• Albatross
• Oystercatcher
• Skua
• Kelp Gull
• Tern
• Petrel
• Shearwater
• Southern Right Whale
• Humpback Whale
• Bottlenose Dolphin

Dining Out


Cnr of Darling & Jetty Street, Colchester
Serves up delicious, favourites such as a range of breakfasts, pizzas, burgers, pastas, steaks and the well know SA Braai (barbeque on request)
Open every day of the week


C/o R336 and Zuurberg Road, Addo
Art on a plate is home to exquisite country cuisine and Addo’s only Sushi Bar.


1 Main Road, Addo
The Kraal’s pub is known for its friendly and jovial atmosphere and great pub meals.


Addo Wildlife, R335, Addo
The Tangelos Restaurant puts a contemporary spin on the traditional SA fare, with a citrus theme reflecting the area’s farming bounty and using local produce as far as possible.


Caesar Avenue, Addo
Enjoy a fine-dining experience at Molo Lolo Restaurant. The recipes are made with home-grown vegetables from our organic garden and local products. Our motto is to contribute towards a responsible cuisine by offering fresh and organic products from local suppliers.

Additional Story

An interesting bit of Addo and Kirkwood History from Tracy Stratford of Avoca River Cabins…

Sir Percy Fitzpatrick (24 July 1862 – 24 January 1931) played a big role in the early development of the Sundays River Valley, but is best known for writing the classic book, Jock of the Bushveld.

After coming to the Sundays River Valley, he founded the Sundays River Settlement Company which encouraged people to settle in the area. Sir Percy Fitzpatrick played a key role in the establishment of the citrus industry, including the incredible irrigation system – which was his brain child. His idea was to channel water from the Orange River, six hundred kilometres away from Sunland (and the Sundays River Valley), into this arid area thus enabling agriculture to flourish here, as it does today, providing employment for the many and in a thriving citrus export industry.

Fitzpatrick bought a piece of land next to the river from where his guests could enjoy the stunning view of the surrounding valley. He even had a lookout platform built where visitors can still go marvel at the view – Sir Percy Fitzpatrick Look Out – today, known locally as “Percy’s Place”.

His later life was clouded by a series of personal tragedies. His wife dies in 1923. His eldest son, Nugent, had been killed in France in 1917 and his other two sons died within a week of each other at Christmas 1927. Alan from an accident in Johannesburg and Oliver from typhoid fever in Mexico. This left him with his only daughter who married in 1923 to Jack Niven. Sir Percy Fitzpatrick is buried at “The Look Out” with his family, overlooking the Sundays River Valley. The burial place has been declared a National Monument.

This historical National Monument overlooking our beautiful valley is approximately 8km from Avoca River Cabins. At Avoca, whenever there was a celebration, it was customary to cooler box, pile into the bakkie and cruise over the rhythmic bridge towards “Percy’s Place” for sundowners or “sunuppers” and a Kodak moment. History has a funny way of repeating itself as we now watch our children head to “Percy’s Place”, enjoying the same views whilst sipping on a G&T and having a selfie moment. Happy memories are still being made…