The Addo Elephant Park Vs Kruger National Park both boast an impressive number of wildlife and activities, but which is the better an African safari?
Deciding which African safari park is best can be a daunting task. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll compare Addo Elephant Park and Kruger National Park and give you our verdict on which is better. Read on to find out everything you need to know before making your decision.
Kruger National Park Safari Experience
One of the most visited and iconic Photo Safari destinations is Kruger National Park, a region in South Africa you can explore for its historical areas and spectacular wildlife. It is home to a fantastic range of animals. Its two million hectares of land are home to an impressive number of species. Visitors to this famous conservation area will be thrilled by the variety of beautiful creatures on display. There are over 150 large species, including zebras and antelopes, besides the big 5 of Africa. The natural beauty and stunning wildlife of this region are unquestionably among the finest on the continent.
Activities and Highlights:
Activities that are available at Kruger National Park include game drives, bush walks, and night drives balloon rides. Be prepared to see lots of different wildlife on a game drive. Take in the incredible views of the giraffes, zebras, and impalas. Plan on at least one night drive, keep your camera ready to capture nocturnal animals like owls and hippos. Overall, it’s an incredible experience with so much wildlife to see and photograph!
What can you expect to see
The king of the jungle. Did you know at last count there are 16,00 lions in Kruger National Park, which is best known for seeing Big Five Game: lion, leopard (also called panther), rhino, buffalo and elephant. They were mostly sleeping or lazing around in the sun but we did see a few hunting and even witnessed a kill.
These gentle giants are some of the most impressive animals in Kruger National Park. you will see them bathing in rivers, or walking through the bush and even playing with their young.
Another one of the big five animals, buffalo are often seen in large herds throughout Kruger National Park. They can be dangerous, so it’s best to give them a wide berth!
There is approximately 1,000 leopards in Kruger. Take not it is one of the most elusive animals in Kruger National Park. With luck on your side you might see a leopard
Highlights of Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19,633 square kilometers (7,580 sq mi) in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa, and extends 360 kilometers (220 mi) from north to south and 65 kilometers (40 mi) from east to west.
What you will see
The park is home to an abundance of wildlife including lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffaloes. Visitors can also expect to see a variety of antelope, zebra and other animals.
What to do:
There are a number of activities that can be enjoyed in the park including safari drives, bush walks and bird watching.
- Game drives at Phalaborwa Gate in Kruger National Park
- Wolhuter Wilderness Trail
- Napi Wilderness Trail
- Olifants Wilderness Trail
Kruger National Park is a much larger park than Addo Elephant Park, and offers a greater variety of wildlife viewing opportunities. Also Kruger National Park has a better developed infrastructure than Addo, with paved roads throughout the park and a wider range of accommodation options (including luxury lodges). However, this also means that Kruger can be more crowded than Addo during peak tourist season.
Addo Elephant National Park
Kruger National Park is well known, but less well-known is Addo Elephant National Park. Addo park, is less visited than its more famous neighbour, but is home to a plethora of wildlife. There are seven species of large animals. Southern Right whales and Great White sharks in the marine reserve, and zebra, warthog, various antelope, and spotted hyena, and of course, elephants. At last count, there were over 500 roaming the park. The lion and leopard populations are smaller than Kruger National park.
Features of Addo Elephant Park
Addo Elephant National Park features the unique flightless dung beetle (which regularly impedes traffic as it wanders through the streets). There are dedicated pathways reserved for the dung beetles.
The Addo Elephant National Park is located in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.
Size: The park covers an area of 180,000 hectares (444,722 acres).
Animals: The park is home to more than 500 elephants, as well as a variety of other animals including lions, rhinos, buffalo and leopards.
Activities: There are a number of activities available in the park including game drives, bush walks and elephant-back safaris.
Accommodations: There are a number of accommodation options available within the park, ranging from camping sites to luxury lodges. Why not read our blog on accommodations in Addo Elephant park
Why choose Addo Elephant National Park?
Addo Elephant National Park is located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, about an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth. The park covers 164000 hectares and is home to the big 5 of African including 600 elephants.
The Addo Elephant National Park is the place for elephant nuts. This untamed paradise is the third-largest safari park in South Africa. It’s rated as one of the greatest places in Africa to observe these gentle giants up close. It also offers an enormous range of animals and native plants.
In 1931, Addo was declared a protected area. At that time the park only had16 elephants. This demonstrates how South Africa places value on the elephant population. Today, it is a well-known mega park with around 600 elephants, making it one of Africa’s densest elephant herds.:
Addo Elephant Park – What to expect
Addo Elephant park has an abundance of wildlife to photograph, including black rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, buffalo, hyenas, antelope and birds. However, elephants are the park’s principal attraction.
A more unique attraction is the dung beetles. Their survival depends on the excrements from the elephants and buffalos.
The male follows the female as she rolls the dung to a suitable location where she will bury the ball with the male on top. A single egg is placed inside the ball after mating. The lava stays in the ball for three to four months, feeding on it, before emerging as an adult.
The park is filled with signs cautioning visitors to keep these unusual animals safe.
Keep an eye out for the meerkats that snoop and the black-backed jackals. The shifting topography provides the ideal habitats for a variety of species, which contributes to the popularity of birding in this area.
Self-drive fans will value Addo’s availability of this affordable pastime. The park may be reached through several gates depending on where you are, and there are a variety of picnic areas and affordable self-catering cottages to enjoy if you’re doing it alone.
Canoeing, cycling, deep-sea fishing trips, and other activities are also accessible. Horseback riders will appreciate that there are lovely pathways to explore.
Addo Elephant Park – tips for Your African adventure
- Entering through the main gate if you are self-driving it provides a stunning panoramic route.
- Maps are available at the main gate.
- Elephants drink lots of water, so I suggest you travel from water hole to water hole.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing as you will be spending a lot of time walking or driving around the park.
- Bring along binoculars to get a better view of the animals.
- Bring your camera. For tips on how to photography wildlife check our other posts.
- If you are driving, be sure to stay on designated roads and keep your doors and windows closed at all times.
- Addo park has a stay in the vehicle at all times rule.
- Keep your distance from the wildlife and be as quiet as possible. Don’t scare the animals.
- Speed limit in the park is 40 kph.
- Avoid driving over the elephant poo/dung. The park is a breeding ground for the endangered flightless dung beetles.
- Stay on the designated paths and roads,
- Pets and drones are restricted inside the park.
Getting to Addo Elephant Park
The best way to get to Addo Elephant Park is by vehicle. There are several companies that offer safari tours from Port Elizabeth, and the cost of a tour varies and depending on type of safari your looking to attend. For example day trips or multi-day camping excursions.
Some of the most breathtaking elephant sightings in the world are at Addo Elephant park.
In late 2003, six lions were reintroduced to the Park, and they have settled in nicely. The best times to spot lions are in the morning or during dusk, or night safaris.
Because of the effect of lion being reintroduction, the Cape buffalo are now frequently observed during the day.
In order to restore the ecosystems’ natural balance in the Park, spotted hyenas were also reintroduced in 2003. By regulating the population of herbivores, they have a similar role to lions.
Leopards are cautious and secretive creatures that are relatively seldom observed, yet they exist in most sections of the Park.
Red hartebeest, eland, kudu, and bushbuck are among the several antelopes that can be photographed in the park.
Burchell’s zebra live in the Park, several of which have pale rumps similar to those of the extinct qwagga.
Lots of warthogs within the park boundaries
The flightless dung beetle rules the highway, and visitors are cautioned to give way to this recycling machine. Beetles, which are only visible when the weather is neither too hot nor too cold, are crucial for recycling nutrients and promoting the development of dense flora.
Why travel to Addo Elephant Park?
Addo Elephant National Park is a hidden gem in South Africa that is home to an abundance of wildlife. The park is known for its 600-strong elephant population, but also has the big five animals (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, and elephant), as well as zebra, warthog, a variety of antelope, and spotted hyena. The lion and leopard population is relatively sparse in the park; however visitors have a good chance of spotting other animals such as zebras, Cape buffaloes, and elephants.
Can you do a self drive at Addo Elephant Park
Yes! you can self drive at Addo Elephant Park. A self-drive safari is a great way to see the wildlife up close. You can expect to see elephants, lions, giraffes, and many other animals.
There are advantages and disadvantages to self driving.
On a self-drive safari, you’ll can explore the Park looking for the wildlife at your own pace.
No need for reservations in advance. You are free to spend the entire day exploring the Park while driving around with camera at the ready..
Best time to visit Addo Elephant Park
The dry season (May–Sept) is the best time to visit Addo Elephant National Park because wildlife congregates near waterholes to satisfy their thirst, making it the ideal time to see the greatest number of animals. You could even see all five of the big five if you’re lucky.
Bob Wild is a professional photographer and the former owner of African Photo Safari, having led guided photo safaris to numerous destinations including Namibia in western Africa. He owns Who Said Photography and continues to help introduce newcomers to the joys of photography.