Gorah Elephant Camp: Our full report
When it opened in December 2000, Gorah Elephant Camp was the first private concession in a national park ...... in South Africa. This luxurious camp in Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape offers high standards of accommodation and service. Due to its location directly at a waterhole, even Gorah’s veranda is excellent for watching herds of elephants, which pass by or come for a drink.
Built in 1856, Gorah Elephant Camp is a National Monument which has been carefully restored and refurbished. With its polished silver, crystal, white linen and G&Ts in the afternoon, it gives a feeling of sedate elegance and nostalgia – with more than a touch of formality.
Gorah Elephant Camp consists of 11 tented suites beneath thatched canopies, all spacious and highly comfortable – and in many ways very different in character to the manor house. Each of the palatial tents has got a double bed or two singles, ceiling fans, a sitting area, an en-suite bathroom, which comes with a hairdryer, bathrobes, slippers and Charlotte Rhys body products, and a private deck. All rooms offer complimentary sherry and the possibility of in-house communication.
The communal areas of Gorah Elephant Camp centre around the historic manor house and contain a library of books donated by guests, a small curio shop, a lounge, dining areas, a veranda overlooking the waterhole and the plains and a swimming pool.
Relax with a book from Gorah Elephant Camp’s library by the large lounge’s fireplace or enjoy a tea on the veranda while watching elephants gather at the waterhole in front of the main house.
You can dine in the candle-lit dining room, which offers panoramic views over the Addo plains, or by the crackling log fire in the al-fresco dining area.
Other facilities at Gorah Elephant Camp include a spacious swimming pool with pool loungers on the surrounding sun decks and a luxury waiting room where you can wait while checking in.
Activities from Gorah Elephant Camp focus on game drives - usually two per day - in landcruisers, which are accompanied by qualified rangers and guides. These safaris can be booked as private game drives if travellers wish to. For keen photographers it’s also possible to hire an expert photography guide. Guided bush walks, horseback rides, mountain biking and bird watching are also available.
See our general page on Addo Elephant Park for more information about the flora and fauna, accommodation options and wildlife safaris there.
Even to a casual visitor, Gorah is clearly a good lodge run to high standards. At its heart, its central manor house is very historic, like a small stately home in the middle of the national park. Some will find this history intimidating; others will love it! Gorah’s tents are large, luxurious and about as formal as you can make a tent feel – but somehow they still feel incongruous next to the manor. If you can get over that, then it’s a lovely place to stay.
South Africa expert
- Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa
- Flights can be chartered from most major cities, e.g Plettenberg Bay, to a landing strip 20 minutes from the lodge. Or take a scheduled flight into Port Elizabeth and have yourself transferred to the lodge from there.
Self-drive: From Port Elizabeth Airport, travel east on the N2, then take the N10 north towards Patterson and then follow the signs directing you to Gorah Elephant Camp. This 70km-drive will probably take you about three hours.
- Accessible by
- Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- The cooking at Gorah Elephant Camp is mainly characterised by formal meals incorporating traditional African flavours.
Lunch is served between noon and 2pm Gorah Elephant Camp; high tea at 4pm, half an hour before the afternoon game drive leaves. Dinner starts around 7:30pm or 8pm, perhaps after some pre-dinner drinks on the lodge’s veranda.
For dinner, Gorah Elephant Camp usually offers a choice between a soup and a starter, and a choice between a red meat, white meat, fish or vegetarian dish. Dessert or cheese platters are also available, all complimented by carefully chosen South African wines.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Room service is not usual at Gorah Elephant Camp, but can be delivered on request. Travellers can choose to dine inside in the dining room overlooking the Addo plains or outside, either in the secluded boma area or on a deep veranda overlooking a waterhole and rolling plains.
- Drinks included
- While all soft drinks are included, alcoholic beverages have to be paid for extra at Gorah Elephant Camp.
- Wildlife safaris
- The luxurious tented Gorah Camp in South Africa’s Eastern Cape is ideally located for watching elephants: directly opposite a waterhole. In the adjacent Addo National Park you can go on guided 4WD wildlife safaris or self-drive through the wildlife area.
- See ideas for Wildlife safaris
- Attitude towards children
- Children aged 8 or older are allowed to stay at Gorah Elephant Camp.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Minimum age 8 years
- At Gorah Elephant Camp, there is no additional equipment for children, and no child-minding available.
- Generally recommended for children
- Gorah really has a very adult atmosphere and isn’t a good choice for families with children – unless the children are old enough to be very comfortable, and well-behaved, in a fairly sedate adult atmosphere. We would only recommend Gorah Elephant Camp to families with older children.
- Children should be kept under parental supervision due to game risks, especially when joining activities.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Gorah Elephant Camp
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Gorah Elephant Camp have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- On our last visit to Gorah Elephant Camp in May 2013 we got cell phone reception in the tents. Satellite connection for accessing the Internet is provided. Wi-Fi is complimentary throughout Gorah Elephant Camp, though speeds are limited and the connection can be intermittent.
Conservation of the Addo National Park
Established in 2000, Gorah Elephant Camp is located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, offering exclusive and luxurious African safari experiences.
The lodge was honoured with the SANParks Kudu Award for their contribution to conservation, and was furthermore awarded business partner of the year – a testament to the partnership with an organisation that values sustainability and abides by a ‘minimum interference’ philosophy.
Consistent efforts towards the conservation of the Addo National Park contributed to the re-introduction of elephants in the nearby areas, leading to an increase in numbers from 11 to 450 great grey giants. Daily game drives are led by local experts and guests are offered a spectacular display of the Big 5 including Cape buffalo, lion, black rhino, a variety of antelope and the flightless dung beetle, unique to the area. Moreover, the Garden Route in the Addo National Park – a popular day trip offered at Gorah Elephant Camp – is one of the exclusive destinations in South Africa with more than 25% of visitors exploring the area as part of their trip to South Africa.
At the end of the night, guests are welcomed back with intimate candle-lit dinners prepared by passionate local chefs who are committed to using fresh ingredients purchased from nearby markets or farmers.
Furthermore, the lodge’s work and additional donations from guests support the local Langbos Squatter Community Crèche which aims to provide education to underprivileged children in the community as well as raising awareness about the risks of HIV. Funds raised also helped with the construction of a vegetable garden and a soup kitchen for the entire community to use.
See more great sustainability projects in South Africa
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There is a doctor in Addo Town, about a 30-minute drive from Gorah Elephant Camp. The closest serious hospital can be found in Port Elizabeth.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Guests at Gorah Elephant Camp are escorted by an armed guard during the night.
- Fire safety
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry service is available at an extra cost. The washing will be done within 24 hours outside the camp, as there are no laundry facilities at Gorah Elephant Camp itself.
- Each tented suite at Gorah Elephant Camp has a safe.
- Accepted payment on location
- Gorah Elephant Camp accepts Visa, Mastercard and Amex cards.
Other lodges in Addo Elephant National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.