Breakdown of costs for 3 nights and 3 full days for a family of 4 in Addo
Accommodations – $184 for 3 nights at the amazing river cabins.
Excursions – $56
Groceries – $41 (lasting 4 days)
Eating out – $39
Total cost: $320
What to do in Addo with Kids:
Addo is all about the elephants!
Addo elephant park is truly an “out of this world” experience. It will go down in the record books as one of the most mesmerizing and delightful experiences of my life.
For our two small children, it was a bit “too much time in the car”. Either way, Addo and the elephant park is a must for anyone planning a trip to South Africa, especially for families.
Addo is a State run park and offers it’s own paid 2-hour drives on the game reserve in Land Rovers. But as we have found just like most state parks here in South Africa, for safety reasons, your children must be 6 or older to book a guided drive through the park itself. Because we were traveling with our 4-year-old son we chose to self-drive the park, so just remember this if you are traveling with younger children and wish to go on a guided tour.
*You do not need to book with a tour group to go to the elephant park. You simply drive to the entrance, pay the entrance fee and you are all set.
What is the best part of being 4 people crammed into a tiny car just a bit bigger than a male bull rhinoceros? When the elephants quietly sneak up behind the car, you can just imagine the looks on your kids’ faces!
A self-drive offers scheduled potty and food breaks and allows you to enjoy the park at your own pace, it is also free apart from the small admission fee. Because the locations of animal spottings are posted on the main board as you enter the park you don’t have to worry about missing much.
If you are traveling with younger children and would like to book an expedition through an agency I would recommend Schotia Safaris. They have several options available and they have a friendly staff!
Elephant play time
Watch out for elephants walking down the road
Mom and baby
Brother and sister
When I was a young warthog!
We were intending to go on an evening safari with our entire family with Schotia Safaris, but it rained for 2 days straight so we decided to wait till we got to St. Lucia and Hluhluwe & Umfolozi Game Reserve instead.
That being said I still think Schotia would have been an amazing adventure and a good deal for the family. I spoke with the owner who was very helpful, offers pickup from the Avoca river cabins and gives 1/2 price discounts for small children.
This may also be your only chance to see lions or leopards on safari, especially if you go on the evening tour.
Where to stay in Addo with Kids:
Avoca river cabins
The Avoca river cabins are about 15 minutes away from the Elephant Park. Hands down this is the very best place we have stayed in all of South Africa (and that is saying a lot!).
Free kayaks for use on the river
Amazing river front cabins with a heater during the winter months!
A beautiful pool with a slide
A full kitchen
Two playgrounds each equipped with a ground level trampoline, zipline, tire swing and a jungle gym.
Less than $65 US per night!
Let me say it one more time as well to make sure you get this down. There is a free and amazing kid size zipline! So cool.
Breakfast was 5 dollars for adults and free for children, and because the property is on an orange orchard you can help yourself to all the oranges you would like. Because of this we ate oranges and drank fresh squeezed orange juice for 3 days straight!
Our daughter on the free playground zipline
Squeezing fresh OJ picked from the free orchards
Trying to get work done poolside
A view from below
A view from above
Our 4 year old on the zipline
In front of our cabin
Jumping in the rain
Inside our room (not including the upstairs)
Playing with the local kittens
Where to eat in Addo with Kids
My wife and the kids enjoyed the food at a wonderful restaurant nearby. Although the roof blew off she 🙂 she said the food was inexpensive and excellent. When I get the name of it I will post it here!
NOTE: Addo the town and the elephant park is confusing, but it really isn’t once you get there. We thought the only way to enjoy the park may be to stay at one of the park’s cabins, but this is not at all the case. There are other bigger resort type areas as well such as highly regarded camp fig tree which are expensive and absolutely not necessary. There are several “self-catering B&B’s in the area which all are very close to the park. The park itself is simply a large fenced off nature reserve with lots of amazing animals. Addo the town and the small towns outside such as Kirkwood are not really tourist towns. In fact, if you are driving from the south and emerging from the Garden route you will find this to be the first time you are submerged in Xhosa culture. Where white skin becomes the minority and the towns definitely
To teach our children the meaning of gratitude, to grow as a family through love, adventure, service community and of course travel.