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Greater Addo, Eastern Cape

The Greater Addo Region and Tourist Route has the magnificent Addo Elephant Park as its heartbeat. The surrounding towns of Addo, Paterson, Kirkwood, Colchester, Cannonville and the Zuurberg Mountains encircle the park.

Addo Elephant National Park

The 180,000ha Addo Elephant Park is conveniently close to Port Elizabeth, and offers the most affordable wildlife viewing in the Eastern Cape.

This wildlife sanctuary, in a malaria free area, protects five biomes and all of the Big Seven – lion, rhino, elephant, buffalo, leopard, southern right whales and the great white shark as well as many other species like hyena, zebra and a wide variety of antelope and smaller animals.

The town of Addo is situated on the southern side of the Sundays River Valley, the biggest citrus producing area in South Africa.

This quiet hamlet is en-route to the main reception area of the Addo Elephant National Park, on the R335 from Port Elizabeth.

It offers pretty surroundings, great briding and excellent alternatives for accommodation. Addo is also known for its roses.

The rugged Zuurberg Mountains separate the northern section of theZuurberg Greater Addo Region from the arid Karoo interior. They consist of four high chains running parallel, but separated by very deep rugged kloofs. The Zuurberg Pass lies on the north western side of the Sundays River Valley in the Zuurberg Mountains, almost in the middle of the Addo Elephant Park. It was built in about 1850 to provide access to the interior of the country. When travelling north from Addo on the R335, the road first traverses the Doringnek Pass and then crosses the mountains through the Zuurberg Pass. If you are a 4×4 enthusiast, why not try the beautiful and well respected Slagboom Trail.

Paterson, Addo Tourist RouteThe little town of Paterson is situated in the Zuurberg foothills, midway between Shamwari and the north east entrance to the Addo Elephant National Park.

It is adjacent to the N10 national road, which links the Greater Addo Route to the Free State and ultimately Gauteng. It is a convenient stopover for game viewing enthusiasts, especially if you have arrived too late to enter Addo.

The tidal section of Sundays River meanders through the villages of Colchester and Cannonville and the famous Alexandria Dunes on its way to the ocean in Algoa Bay. Colchester is 3km from the southern gate and Matyholweni camp of the Addo Elephant National Park. Accommodation and campsite facilities near the river provide their guests with water activities like swimming, canoeing, fishing and ferry rides. This area is also popular with birders and is a good stopover option for Addo.

Kirkwood Oranges, Addo Tourism Route, Eastern CapeKirkwood is the municipal capital of the Sundays River Valley and the largest town on the Greater Addo Route. With the Zuurberg Mountains in the background, the quaint town of Kirkwood is a serious contributor to the citrus economy of South Africa. It is also the access point to the Kabouga section of the Addo Elephant National Park. During the harvest season (April to September), tractors groaning with oranges are a regular sight on the roads leading into Kirkwood and a buzz revs up the town.

An interesting side trip is to take the gravel road to the little village of Enon, which has a Moravian Mission built for the Khoi in 1818. Sacraments are still given in the little church – teak window frames, yellowwood rafters and brass hanging lamps still intact.

Kirkwood is also home to a small meat eating dinosaur nicknamed Kirky (Nqwebasaurus thwazi). The fossil was described in 2000 as one of the most complete and best preserved Cretaceous theropods described thus far in Africa.

For a great self drive route from Johannesburg to the Addo Elephant park visit ShowMe. For the ultimate guide on Port Elizabeth, visit ShowMe Port Elizabeth.

Towns of the Greater Addo Region

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