A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE - HIKING ADDO
Tuesday, 25th June 2019
Your guide to hiking and walking the Greater Addo region.
You may be surprised to learn how much more there is to Addo than elephants...
The elephants are only a fraction of what is on offer, not only in the park but in the area as a whole, and if hiking is your go-to form of relaxation then wave the game drives goodbye for a spell and pull on your boots.
The close proximity of Addo and Sundays River Valley to Port Elizabeth makes the area a firm favourite amongst hikers who want to escape to the bush (or the sea and river) for either a day trail or a multi-day hike.
Although you’re not able to walk inside the national park’s game-viewing area, there are still kilometres of trails to explore where you may spot smaller game along the way!
DORINGNEK HIKING TRAIL (ZUURBERG)
The Doringnek Hiking Trail in the Zuurberg section of Addo Elephant National Park is a 12km trail that takes approximately five hours to complete. The trail starts at the top of the Zuurberg Mountains (where you’ll need to obtain a permit and pay the park’s conservation fee) and takes you down into a green valley with forest streams and yellowwood trees, to the Blougat Pool which is roughly the halfway marker and the perfect picnic spot. Of course, every downhill is met with an uphill battle, so expect some steep inclines before you reach the top again! You’ll be rewarded with panoramic Zuurberg mountain views and rolling hills. The landscape is diverse, with biomes such as fynbos, grasslands, forest and subtropical thicket; three cycad species and two yellowwood species – all endangered - can be found here. If you don’t have five hours, or aren’t up to the walk, there is a shorter 2.4km Cycad Trail that should take about an hour to complete.
ALEXANDRIA HIKING TRAIL (WOODY CAPE)
The two-day, circular Alexandria Hiking Trail takes hikers on a 32km, coastal walk in the Woody Cape section of Addo National Park. The first day of the trail is the longest, at 18.5km, and meanders through the indigenous Afromontane forest (keep an eye out for bushbuck and forest birds such as the Knysna turaco) before veering towards the coast, where whales and dolphins are a common sight. You’ll find yourself shuffling over the dunes and sand - the ultimate test of perseverance - as you make your way through the largest dune field in the Southern Hemisphere – but oh, the views! On the second day, a shorter 13.5km trail skirts the deserted coastline on the way back to the Langebos huts. A minimum of three hikers is allowed on the trail (maximum of twelve).
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY: YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIKING, SLACKPACKING & WALKING THE WILD COAST
PPC DISCOVERY TRAIL (ADDO NATIONAL PARK)
The PPC Discovery Trail is a short walk in the main camp of Addo Elephant National park and the easy terrain leans more toward a stroll than a hike with information boards about the park, its fauna and flora, along the way. The PPC Discovery trail also offers a 620m loop that is wheelchair-friendly.
THE TREE DASSIE TRAIL (WOODY CAPE)
The 7km Tree Dassie Trail in the Woody Cape section of Addo Elephant National Park is the perfect day hike: it’s a circular trail, there is plenty of shade under tall yellowwoods and the walk is well-marked. The trail starts and ends at the Woody Cape offices and as it meanders through the indigenous forest, hikers can look forward to spotting some forest residents such as bushbuck, narina trogons, crowned eagles and monkeys. There is also the shorter 1.4km Duiker Trail.
A WALK WITH THE GIRAFFES AT BELLEVUE FOREST RESERVE
As one of Bellevue Forest Reserve’s speciailty excursions on a 2,500-hectare private game reserve, this is a wildlife experience like no other. Filled with breath-taking moments, a maximum of 10 guests have an intimate walk through the heart of the Addo Valley bushveld, accompanied by a highly experienced FGASA-trained armed trail guide. The walk lasts about 45 minutes and enables visitors to spend time watching the serene giraffes in an unhurried natural environment.
NUKAKAMMA OVERNIGHT CANOE TRAIL (SUNDAYS RIVER)
So this one is more of a paddle than a hike but, as South Africa’s only Green Flag Status canoe trail, it deserves a mention. Nukakamma means ‘grassy water’ and it is the Khoisan name for the Sundays River with its green, grassy banks and slow-moving water. This two-day trail begins at the jetty of Sundays River Adventures and the 13km trip to the rustic overnight hut is undertaken in 4m double canoes. There are more than 200 recorded bird species in the area, fish have been known to jump into the canoes and the sharp-sighted may even spot some game from the water! It’s a lovely way to explore Addo.
Find out more about the GREATER ADDO REGION