Much Addo about nothing
After a cool weekend hanging with my peeps and some much-needed stay in one place after a series of one night … go, one night … go adventures up the Garden route, it was time for the Going Homeless Project to slow things down and Addo was just down the road. The perfect place to get my chill on.
I arrived fairly late in the day with the intention of striking out early for the Addo National Park, a mere 10kms down the road from the Aardvark Guesthouse & Backpackers run by Daniel and Claude, my hosts for the next couple of days.
The next morning i set out as the sun was coming up and made my way to Addo National Park, where the always paying Wild Card got me in free and after a quick coffee stop i headed in to the park amped for some actual animals in the wild and not a cage.
It didn’t take long to run in to my first elephant, which was to become a common theme throughout the day, nonetheless it was an epic encounter being chased down the road in reverse, this encounter was followed shortly by some ribs on legs otherwise known as warthogs and after heading up to one of the viewpoints, I started tracking a herd of elephants and eventually had a peaceful one on one session with the herd at Carols Rest waterhole before the rest of humanity arrived.
After that i headed back to the main gate for a caffeine infusion, before encounters with Kudu, a small fox, some other buck and lots of humans all trying desperately to see Lions. Addo National Park is well worth a visit.
You get amazing sightings of a variety of animals without having to venture to far into the park … but the further you venture the more you benefit. Aside from the wildlife the views from the various look-outs are tre impressive. Don’t rush your visit there is a lot to see.
After a full day of driving I was ready to get out of the car and just chillax for a bit and there are few better places than the Aardvark Guesthouse and Backpackers.
Situated down the road from the park and set on a beautiful piece of land teeming with well established trees, hammocks hanging everywhere, catching beautiful afternoon sunshine, it is the perfect place to grab a cup of joe and kick back.
Outside eating areas lead into the main house, accommodation comes in Dorms, Doubles, Rondavels, Safari tents that sleep five and family rooms. A super well equipped kitchen and the usual amenities round off an awesome place to stay.
The effort and detail that have gone into making the place a home from home is amazing, local artwork and sculpture, comfy couches and an in-house breakfast that you would be foolish not to indulge in make the Aaardvark the best place to stay if you are visiting Addo National Park.
Just a side note to Claude and Daniel, who graciously took me in for a night, fed me a meal and pointed out a few dirt roads worth exploring, many kind thanks for an amazing stay and unbelievable hospitality, the Aardvark is truly a great place to stay.
As per usual i had assumed that Addo and the surrounding areas were all about the national park, i assumed incorrectly, Daniel connected me with Chris and Terri of Crisscross Adventures, who kindly offered me a canoe trip down the Sundays River, i jumped at the opportunity.
The river came alive with Chris’s sharp eye and local knowledge which resulted in numerous fantastic bird sightings, most notably a half collared King Fisher , a Goliath Heron and a number of lizards which i never would have spotted.
I highly recommend this day trip, it’s a nice change from the usual and if you are into bird life you can’t really afford to miss it.
CrissCross Adventures also offer Safari Tours to the Addo National Park and the local knowledge that Chris and Terri offer, shed light on more than just the birds and wildlife but a truly beautiful area rich with history.
After deciding to spend another night at the Aardvark, its hard to leave the place, i spent the afternoon at the Daniell Cheetah breeding programme, it’s a guided tour with a difference – viewing Meerkats, Cheetahs, Lynx and Leopard, with a stop to visit Ola, a tame cheetah, being up close and personal with these cats is an amazing experience.
The tour ended with a little bonus … a chance to have a roll around with a couple of Lion Cubs that are super cute and come with five sharp ends that still mark my wrists.
I still cannot decide if this kind of facility is beneficial to the animals from a personal perspective, but the up close parts of the tour were truly incredible.
After a long day, a hot shower and a comfortable bed set me right for the next day, a drive over the Zuurburg pass, well worth doing if you have a vehicle with clearance, I made my way to my next destination, Hogsback and a few nights at Away with the Fairies.
Thanks again to Daniel and Claude of the Aardvark Guesthouse and Backpackers for a truly amazing stay, your hospitality was above and beyond, To Chris and Terri of Crisscross Adventures for an awesome canoe trip and to Hi Hostels.