Elephant House

Elephant House: Our full report

7 bedrooms & one family suite
Traveller's rating
Good (80%) From 5 reviews
Fine for children.
All year

Elephant House is a comfortable lodge just 8km from the main entrance of Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. It offers a very homely, country-style ambience and its location in the fertile Sundays River Valley is well-suited as a base for different activities, both inside and outside Addo Park.

Elephant House consists of seven standard rooms and one family unit. Each thatched room comes with air-conditioning and heating and has a king-size bed in a bedroom that opens out onto a private veranda and grass yard. The spacious en-suite bathroom provides a hairdryer and bathrobes.

The main areas at Elephant House include a club room with DVDs, games and a laptop with complimentary internet access, two pools set in a large garden and a restaurant. Persian-style rugs and old photographs and the comfortable, striped and flower-printed armchairs and sofas on Elephant House’s wide verandas overlooking grassy courtyards create a very homely, country-style atmosphere.

Elephant House offers a broad variety of activities, although naturally wildlife safaris in Addo Elephant National Park are the big draw. Most travellers will drive themselves here, and spend much of their time exploring Addo in their own car; the national park’s main gate is less than 10km from here.

That said, if you don’t want to drive yourself, then there is an in-house field guide who conducts two game drives per day in the national park with drinks and snacks provided.

Other activities within a 45-minute-drive of Elephant House include bird-watching on a guided paddle tour, or perhaps a half-day safari in one of the many relatively small private game reserves in the area. Some of the closer options include:

  • The tiny Schotia Safaris Private Game Reserve claims to be the oldest private game reserve in the Eastern Cape, and may well be one of the most densely stocked.
  • Amakhala Game Reserve is east of Addo, covers 75km² and has 11 lodges of its own.
  • Pumba Private Game Reserve is north-east of Addo and covers about 65 km² which is shared by two lodges of its own.
  • Lalibela Big 5 Game Reserve is east of Amakhala, covers 75 km² – which, refreshingly in this region, isn’t subdivided into different areas for different animals – and has three lodges of its own.
Other possible activities include visits to the Sundays River Valley’s citrus groves, encounters with the local community in the Nomatamsanqa Township and visits to Port Elizabeth. Sporty travellers might like to hike in the scenic Zuurberg Mountains, go on a quad bike tour through a farmer’s orchards, have a round of golf at one of the nearby golf clubs or play tennis, polo or squash at Addo Polo Club, which is only 3km from the lodge. (NB: It’s essential that you read the Quadbike warning in the ‘Health & Safety’ section below for our comments on insurance issues regarding this activity.)

Our view

Expert Africa team have visited the Elephant House several times over the last ten years – the last time in 2016. We’ve always found Elephant House to be comfortable and welcoming. We generally view it as a base for our own activities, although when we have taken a game drive in Addo with the guide, it’s been good.


Location: Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

Directions: Take the N2 from Port Elizabeth towards Grahamstown, then turn left onto the R335 towards Addo Elephant Park. You will reach Elephant House 5km before Addo National Park, on the left hand side.

Accessible by: Self-drive

Food & drink

Usual board basis: B&B

Food quality: The concept of cuisine at Elephant House is to combine typical African and international cooking, incorporating local products whenever possible. There is a good selection of South African wines on offer.

On our last visit we were surprised to have to wander over the road to have breakfast at ‘the Stable block’ – whilst dinner was served in the dining room at Elephant House.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Further dining info: A room service is available 24 hours a day.

Special interests

Family holidays: With a spacious family unit, a large garden, two pools and a relaxed atmosphere, Elephant House is well prepared for families. Set just outside the malaria-free Addo Park, it provides a convenient base for family safari holidays in South Africa.

See more ideas for Family holidays in South Africa


Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are most welcome at Elephant House.

Property’s age restrictions: None

Special activities & services: Baby-sitters are available on request – although they’re likely to be local women who work at Elephant House rather than qualified child minders.

Equipment: There is a club room with a selection of DVDs and a library.

Notes: Children under the age of 4 stay free of charge at Addo’s Elephant House.


Power supply: Mains Electricity

Communications: There is a telephone in each of Elephant House’s rooms as well as dial-up internet access.

Water supply: Mains

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: No

Medical care:

Quadbike warning: quad-biking is sometimes available as an activity from Elephant House. As with any potentially dangerous activity, it’s vital that you take responsibility for ensuring that you have adequate travel insurance prior to getting involved. Be aware that some insurances cover quad-bike activities only for bikes with lower engine ratings: check such clauses particularly carefully before you get on a bike.

Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk


Money: Each bedroom at Elephant House has got a safe.

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