Budget Safari at Addo National Park
Mar 02, 2023 By Daniel Jackson

Going on a safari in South Africa is a dream for many travelers, but it can also be expensive. However, that doesn't mean it's impossible to experience the beauty and wonder of the country's wildlife. Several affordable options are available, including a budget safari at Addo National Park. Located in the Eastern Cape, Addo National Park is home to the Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and rhino) and various other wildlife species. Here's what you need to know about planning a budget safari at Addo National Park.

Getting there

Addo National Park is about an hour's drive from Port Elizabeth, the largest city in the Eastern Cape. You can fly into Port Elizabeth from major cities in South Africa or take a long-distance bus. Once in Port Elizabeth, you can either rent a car or take a guided park tour.


There are several options for budget accommodation both in and around Addo National Park. The park has several campsites offering basic facilities such as communal kitchens and ablution blocks. You can also find affordable chalets and cottages within the park, although these tend to fill up quickly during peak season. If you prefer to stay outside the park, there are several budget guesthouses and lodges in the nearby towns of Colchester and Addo.

Safari options

Addo National Park offers a variety of safari options to suit different budgets. The most affordable option is a self-drive safari, car renting, and driving through the park independently. The park has several well-marked roads, trails, and opportunities to spot wildlife. Another option is to take a guided game drive, which is more expensive and informative. Guided game drives are led by experienced rangers who can help you spot wildlife and provide interesting information about the park's flora and fauna.

When to go

The best time to visit Addo National Park is from May to September in the dry winter months. During this time, the vegetation is less dense, and the animals are more visible as they gather around watering holes. However, this is also peak season, so you must book your accommodation and safari well in advance. If you're looking for a more affordable option, consider visiting during the shoulder season (March to April and October to November) when the weather is still good but the crowds have thinned out.

What to bring

When going on a safari, it's important to pack appropriately. Here are some items you should consider bringing:

  • Sunscreen and a hat: The sun can be intense, so protecting yourself from harmful UV rays is important.
  • Warm clothing: Even though the days can be hot, the nights can get chilly, so bring warm layers.
  • Binoculars: These can help you spot wildlife that may be far away.
  • Camera: Of course, you'll want to capture all the amazing sights you see on your safari.

Malaria precautions

Addo National Park is malaria-free, so you don't need to take malaria tablets. However, if you plan on traveling to other parts of South Africa or neighboring countries, it's important to check the malaria risk and take appropriate precautions.

Visa requirements

Visa requirements for South Africa vary depending on your nationality. Visitors from most Western countries (including the US, Canada, and the UK) do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days. Morning game drives and depart. Start your day early with a morning game drive to catch a glimpse of the animals before they retreat to the shade during the day's heat. After the game drive, return to your accommodation for breakfast and check out. Depart for your next destination or go back to Port Elizabeth.

Tips for a budget safari at Addo National Park

  • The best time to visit Addo National Park is during the dry season from May to September, when the animals gather around waterholes, making them easier to spot.
  • There are several types of accommodation within the park, ranging from camping sites to luxury lodges. Camping is the cheapest option; you can bring equipment or rent it from the park.
  • Bring your food and drinks to save money. There are no restaurants within the park, but there are picnic sites where you can eat.
  • Book your safari in advance to secure your spot and get better rates.
  • Be respectful of the wildlife and keep a safe distance from them. Do not leave your vehicle unless you are in a designated area.
  • Bring warm clothing, as the temperatures can drop significantly during the evening and early morning game drives.