Completely overshadowed by the world-renowned Addo National Elephant Park, there is actually a little town about an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth, called Addo. This small citrus farming community serves mainly as a supplement to the park, offering accommodation and a place to shop before visiting the main attraction - the elephants. The town lies in the Sundays River Valley surrounded by the Zuurberg Mountains that offer some spectacular hiking and horse riding trails, and this part of the world is also a malaria free area, which adds to its attraction.
From its humble beginnings with just 11 elephants, the nearby Addo Elephant National Park is now the third largest national park in South Africa and a sanctuary to more than 500 wild African elephants. Set within a dense valley bushveld in the Sundays River Region, the park offers natural encounters with the much sort after Big Five - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and the elusive and nocturnal leopard (or Big Seven if you count the great whites and seasonal southern right whales in Addo’s marine section).
Expect to see warthogs, zebras, a variety of antelope, Cape buffalo, meerkats and the elusive black rhinoceros if you’re extra lucky. And when it comes to Africa’s ‘Small Five’, road signs warn drivers to give way to the flightless dung beetles, which are listed as vulnerable and are found almost exclusively in the mega-park.