Addo Main Camp: Our full report
The easily accessible Addo Main Camp is on the north side of the main game area of Addo Elephant National ...... Park in South Africa’s Cape, and is the main hub of the park. It provides a variety of mostly self-catered accommodation types and facilities, so that it feels almost like a proper little village. One attraction here is a waterhole, which is floodlit at night, allowing guests to watch the animals coming for a drink.
Within Addo Main Camp you have a wide choice of accommodation options, from chalets and rondavels to tents and camping pitches. The different types of accommodation include:
- Caravans and 30 campsites with a maximum of six per site, close to ablution facilities and a camp kitchen
- 5 safari tents, each with two single beds, bedding, fan and towels, communal ablution facilities and kitchen
- 2 guest houses, each for up to six people, called Hapoor and Domkrag, which overlook the floodlit waterhole (two bedrooms, en-suite bathroom, living room, fully equipped kitchen, fan in the lounge)
- 6 rondawels overlooking the waterhole and sleeping two travellers each (two single beds; shower, toilet, hand basin; communal kitchen shared with the other huts)
- 22 chalets, which can accommodate three adults or two adults plus two children (bedsitter with two single beds and a sleeper couch, bathroom with bath and shower, fully equipped kitchen). Two of them are accessible for disabled people.
- 6 semi-detached chalets sleeping two travellers in a twin configuration (bathroom and kitchenette)
- Chalet 16 for a family of up to six people (one bedroom with a double bed and a bedsitter area with two single beds and a sleeper couch; bathroom; kitchen)
- Chalet 15 with 2 single beds in an open-plan area with mini-kitchen, shower, toilet and hand basin
- 13 cottages for a maximum of two travellers each with two single beds, bathroom and a kitchenette with microwave and fan
- 10 wooden forest cabins with four single beds each, a table, chairs, toilet, shower and hand basin in an open area; communal kitchen
Within easy distance from all of the rooms the main areas at Addo Main Camp consist of:
- A swimming pool open from November to February,
- A lookout platform overlooking a night-lit waterhole and an underground hide opposite it, which allows close views of wildlife,
- Picnic and braai area overlooking the waterhole,
- A bird hide offering views of a small wetland,
- The PPC Discovery Trail where you can learn about the thicket vegetation during short walks,
- The Ulwazi interpretive centre, which informs visitors about the park’s history and wildlife and displays e.g. a great wall of horns,
- A shop selling curios, snacks and basic supplies (opening hours 08:00-18:00 in winter, 08:00-19:00 in summer)
- An al-la-carte restaurant open from 07:30 to 22:00 (bookings advisable)
- And a fuel station selling petrol and diesel between 07:30 and 16:30.
Activities in the area concentrate on 4WD wildlife safaris, which are offered by the camp. Nevertheless most visitors will drive themselves without a guide, enjoying the freedom to explore as they wish to.
Other activities around Addo Main Camp include horse riding and some short walks, for example on the educative PPC Discovery Trail. A bird hide overlooking a small wetland area allows birding enthusiasts to get a closer view of some of the 200 bird species that have been reported in the main area of the park.
Main Camp is a classic South African restcamp, with no airs or graces and absolutely no feeling of exclusivity. It makes a very good value base for self-driving visitors who prize their autonomy. The shop is well-stocked; the restaurant serves basic fare at prices to match; the interpretive centre is well worth a an hour’s visit; and the accommodation is clean, functional and great value.
Country manager: South Africa
- Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa
- Ideal length of stay
- We’d stay for two to four days, perhaps combining it with Camp Matyholweni further south in the park.
- Addo Main Camp is easily accessible by self-drive. It’s about 75km away from Port Elizabeth. First take the N2 northwards, then change on the R335 towards Addo. Enter Addo Elephant National Park and just follow the road to get to Ado Main Camp.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Room Only
- Food quality
- Addo Main Camp’s restaurant is continuously open from 7:30 am until 10 pm. Food here is generally good and modestly priced.
Visiting in 2013, the breakfast menu ranged from R29-55 (UK£1.80-3.45; US$2.95-5.60); with an English Breakfast for R45 (UK£2.73; US$4.34). For lunch you could for example have an Addo Burger for R45 (UK£2.73; US$4.34), some kalamari or fish and chips for R69 (UK£4.19; US$6.66).
However, Addo Main Camp clearly majors on steaks and burgers. In the evening steaks with a variety of sauces were on offer as well as some vegetarian options and a small kids menu for R35 (UK£2.12; US$3.38). We chose a delicious 300g chargrill sirloin for R105 (UK£6.37; US$10.13) with a sauce mushroom pepper monkey gland for R12 (UK£0.73; US$1.16) once and a kudu grilled to medium and served in red wine sauce, with rice and vegetables at a cost of R420 (UK£25.50; US$40.52) another time.
Beverages include a fairly extensive menu of bottled wines ranging from R90 to R120 (UK£5.46-7.29; US$8.68-11.58) as well as soft drinks, teas, coffees and espressos.
Travellers who prefer self-catering can buy a relatively good selection of food at Adoo Main Camp’s shop. Here, there are for example some high-end pickled vegetables on offer, lots of crisps, biscuits and sweets, a small range of canned vegetables and fruits, a very limited selection of bread, a couple of rice, couscous and pasta options, hot and cold drinks, bottled water, oils and sauces. Fresh ingredients like tomatoes, a bit of salad, apples, ham, milk and yoghurt are available too, although the choice of those is very limited.
- Family holidays
- We are increasingly including Addo’s Main Camp in family safari holidays to South Africa; it’s great for self-drive visitors. Children will love their own barbeque, whilst Main Camp has space to run around – as well as an excellent interpretive centre to explore.
- See ideas for Family holidays
- Addo Main Camp appeals to birders in South Africa due to its bird hide which overlooks a little wetland. Look out here for 200 bird species reported in this section of the park. The whole park hosts over 400 bird species.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Wildlife safaris
- Addo Main Camp offers both guided 4WD safaris and a self-drive base. Its biggest attraction are the park’s very relaxed elephants, whilst other game includes endless zebra, kudu and warthog. It’s good, but don’t expect the most game-rich wildlife safari in South Africa.
- See ideas for Wildlife safaris
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome at Addo Main camp, although there are no services or equipment specifically for families with young children.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no cots or high-chairs available.
- Generally recommended for children
- As Addo Main Camp is fully fenced, you can think of it as relatively safe. Nevertheless we advise to keep children under parental supervision since no fence can stop dangerous animals of a smaller size, say for example snakes.
- Power supply notes
- All accommodation units at Addo Main Camp provide plug points with a 220V electricity supply. Nevertheless travellers will need their own international or two-point plug adaptors.
- A public telephone is accessible at the reception and during our most recent visit in May 2013 we had strong mobile reception at Addo Main Camp.
For more traditional messages, the post is collected from the post box near the reception every week day morning. A post office can be found in Addo Town, approximately 15km from the park.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Water supply is very reliable here.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Addo Main Camp is fully fenced off, with the gate to the wildlife area at its north-west end and an entrance gate in the south.
- Fire safety
- Disabled access
- In Place
- Laundry facilities
- Addo Main Camp does currently not provide any laundry service.
- The First National Bank with ATM is located in Addo Town, 15km from the park. For other banking facilities head to the town of Kirkwood (35km distance) or Port Elizabeth (75km from the park).
There are no safes at Addo Main Camp.
- Accepted payment on location
- For paying cash you will need South African Rand at Addo Main Camp. Alternatively credit cards are accepted for payment of accommodation and most activities, shop purchases and restaurant meals.
Other lodges in Addo Elephant National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.