Book in advance for wildlife drives, horse riding and other activities, especially during the high season (October to March). Also bear in mind that for most SANParks activities and accommodation, you must pay the park's daily conservation fee on top of SANParks' quoted price.
During summer it’s best to arrive at the park by mid-morning and stake out one of the waterholes, where the elephants tend to gather during the heat of the day. In winter, early mornings are the best time to see animals.
The elephants of Addo were once addicted to – and even fought violently over – the oranges and grapefruits fed to them by the park’s first rangers to encourage them to stay within the park’s boundaries. A fruit ban has been in place since the late 1970s; however, as the old adage goes, ‘elephants never forget’ and the smell alone could provoke an old-timer. And, of course, do not get out of your car except at designated climb-out points.
As at most parks in Southern Africa, it's not compulsory to hire a guide to explore Addo in your own vehicle. You can just turn up, pay the entrance fee and try your luck spotting elephants between the trees. For novice wildlife watchers, hiring a hop-on SANParks guide (R210 plus park entry fee; available 8am to 5pm) to ride along can be a helpful way of picking up a few tips for spotting animals.
Morning and afternoon rides are offered by SANParks in the park's Nyathi section (two hours, R540). For mountainous scenery but not wildlife, rides are also offered in the Zuurberg section: there are one- (R240), three- (R330) and five-hour (R350) rides and an overnight trail to Narina Bush Camp. Prices do not include park fees.