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.

reverse engaged

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.

Herds …

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.

Singular

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.

Ribs …

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.

Treescape

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.

Aardvark has its own wildlife

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.

Rondavels at Aardvark

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.

More than just a bed …

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.

details count

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.

Sundays River with Criss Cross Adventures

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.

Half-Collared King Fisher

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.

Sundays …

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.

Ola

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.

I never know if this is ethical or not … what do you think?

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.

after savaging me they turned on each other

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.

The Aardvark Guesthouse & Backpackers

Stylish, comfortable and affordable self-catering accommodation. Only a few minutes drive from the main gate of the Addo Elephant National Park. Relax in our stylish lounge or enjoy a refreshment on our deck outside. Make yourself at home with us.. Your friendly hosts: Daniel and Claude Boegli, proficient in German and French.

URL: www.theaardvarkguesthouse.co.za

Criss Cross Adventures

The tour company’s mission is to encourage visitors to enjoy the many different activities available in the Addo area, and to have a holistic experience of the diversity Addo has to offer. Specifically within the Addo Elephant National Park, whilst educating them about the environment and nature conservation.

URL: www.crisscrossadventures.co.za

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4 Responses

  1. mzansigirl says:

    Lovely pics! I’m also not convinced at how ethical many of these pet-a-lio-cub places are. Would love to know what happens to the lions when they aren’t cute and cuddly and have been familiarised with humans.

  2. stu says:

    Thanks 🙂

    Yea i tend to agree, i visited quite a few of these “breeding programmes” along the Garden Route and wasn’t convinced by the intentions of the various humans involved.

    • Jacques says:

      Great pics and blog. Majority of these pet-a lion “sanctuaries” in South Africa feed the canned lion hunting industry which also trades in lion bones to send to Asia for their ignorant beliefs becasue they think its cures diseases in China. Lion populations in the wild have decreased drastically over the years..Its a vicious circle where they treat the King of the jungle like a mere commodity. Its pretty sad really because these animals become pets and trust humans and then they get released in a small enclosure to be shot for a trophy! People should ask questions and not just visit any place because that pretty much means you are supporting this unethical barbaric hunting practice. There are sanctuaries out there that are good but you need to search for them and the one that comes to my mind is in Limpopo, Sanwild http://www.sanwild.org/ They do plenty of good work and have excellent reviews by people and conservationists. There are others, just do a bit of research.

What say you?