The main draw here are the Elephants.
Facts About the Greater Addo Park
Addo is a year-round destination just an hour drive from the Port Elizabeth (PE) airport. Many visitors fly to PE from Cape Town and drive back along the Garden Route or vice versa. The best game viewing months are June to September. Due to the massive expansion of Addo and the park is still growing; you should bring plenty of time for the different sections to explore the rich biodiversity. Continue reading our full seasonal guide and what you may see along with the different loops in Addo.
The best time for the main Addo National Park is the driest time of the year from May to September when elephants gather in numbers around the waterholes. During these months, day temps are pleasant nights cold. This is the low season and the park is quieter. During the summer holidays in Europe in July and August, there are slightly more visitors.
From October to March, migratory birds arrive from the north, particularly in the Zuurberg section like the European stork. Overall there are more than 400 different species of birds in the Greater Addo National Park. More information about birds in Addo.
Weather | Seasons | Crowds
The seasons in Africa are not comparable to the seasons in the northern hemisphere. Summer and winter last longer, while spring and autumn are very short. The climate here is different. During winter day temps are usually pleasant more like spring temps. Overall it's drier; South Africa was suffering a drought in 2018.
September is one of my favourite months. Although the morning and evening are still cold day temps are pleasant. It is not too hot, and the game is easier to spot. It is the end of the drier season, and wildlife depends on the waterholes. The first babies get born easy prey for the predators, which increases the chance to spot them. September is the shoulder season. It’s not too crowded, and accommodation prices are lower.
Summer (October-March) – Wetter Season
The morning and evening are lovely, but during the day, it’s unpleasant hot. The wildlife is resting and difficult to spot at midday. During summer, more precipitation occurs, but it seldom rains for days. There are two precipitation peaks; February/March and October/November. It is more often overcast and thunderstorms built up in the afternoon. Day temps can reach 40°C while nights are cooling down below 20°C. During October, many animals give birth to their young ones. This causes an increase in predator activity and your chance to spot lions and hyenas. Due to the increasing rain, wildlife is not depending on the humanmade waterholes. You spot fewer game active and drinking. Rain can always occur. If it is raining in summer game is not any longer hiding at midday. Addo is Malaria free; however, because of the high temps and rainfall, take precautions for mosquitos at dusk.
Decreasing precipitation in April. Day temps are getting more pleasant still around 25°C and nights are cool. It’s getting quieter in Addo; discounts and special rates are offered.
Winter – Drier Season (May-August)
Days are pleasant, usually with a clear sky. Day temps can reach almost 20°C from June to August, but night temps can be near freezing. Occasionally, cold fronts occur in the winter. The morning and evening are chilly, but it works well with a softshell jacket during your self-guided game drive, but it’s a little cold in open safari jeeps. Although the winter is excellent for game watching, it is the low season. Special rates and discounts are offered for many accommodations.
Gate Times for the Addo Game Area
In summer the gate is opened before sunrise but very view people get up that early. Unfortunately, gate closure already one hour before sunset. It is not allowed to drive through the park in darkness.
- Oct-March 5.30 -18.30
- April-May 6.00 - 18.00
- June-July 6.30 - 18.00
- Aug-Sep 6.00 - 18.00
Accommodation Tips Addo
There are two large male lions in the Nyathi section of Addo. Therefore, our top accommodation tip is River Bend Lodge. It’s a bit pricey but it guarantees an excellent stay and private game drives. The game drives are not included in the price but utterly worth to book. The lodge has it's own private areal and waterhole. I highly recommend ranger Christiaan not only for the big five also for birding. It's all included at Riverbend Lodge with lots of privacy. Just eight rooms are available.
Our budget tip is the Addo Main Rest Camp with different types of accommodation. Most of them are for two people, some chalets for three or four people. These are basic self-catering cottages, nothing spectacular but beautiful located. A caravan and camping area is also existing. Addo Main Camp types of accommodation
Overall, plenty of accommodations are offered outside and inside of the park; camping in the wild, basic self-catering cottages to five-star luxury lodges. To get the most out of your visit stay inside the park: early booking is advisable, and you might hear roaring lions or laughing hyenas in the night. Lodges inside and around Addo
Helpful Link: Maps of Addo Elephant National Park
Yala designated as National Park in 1938 is the oldest one of Sri Lanka. It is divided into 5 blocks, four of them are open to the public at the moment (Feb. 2019).
Yala is a must if traveling to Sri Lanka. The National Park is popular for the biggest leopards, lots of wildlife and it's birders paradise. Of course, everybody wants to see a leopard at Yala, but to increase the chance of a sighting stay at least two nights! What is the best time to spot them? Read on for our detailed tips:
Yala has the highest density of leopards. The best chance to spot them is around new moon combined with a safari/tour in the afternoon when it’s also less busy. They are more active around dusk during new moon days.
It’s often very busy with many jeeps. It's super crazy if a leopard got spotted. Avoid weekends and public holidays. The morning safaris are the busiest. You can't enter the park immediately; first, your driver has to queue to get the ticket. Many tourists stay just for one night and leave at midday. The afternoon is much quieter.
The best time to spot leopards, as well as other wildlife such as elephants and wild boar, is from May to August. More animals gather around the waterholes during the drier months. From October to December it’s more likely to spot deer, crocodiles, and birds. The park is often closed in September until October (too aggressive animals after a heavy drought). The best time of the day to spot wildlife is either early morning or from afternoon till evening. From late morning until afternoon they usually hide under thick foliage.
Opening Hours and 3 Gates at Yala
The park is open from 6 to 6. Yala is divided into five blocks. Block 4 is not open for safaris. Most visited are Block 1 and 2 with two entrances. Hundreds of jeeps seek for a leopard in Block 1.
- Palatupana: Main entrance for Block 1 and 2 is the busiest - waiting time up to one hour in the morning.
- Katagamuwa: This entrance to Block 1 and 2 is far less crowded.
- Galge: Entrance for Block 3 and 5 and less known. Therefore, you do not need to queue at the Galge entrances.
Our driver Amare was checking the depth of a waterhole.
In general, you can visit Yala year-round. It's never really bad. The dry season runs from May to September. Increasing precipitation in October. The ‘mild’ rainy season runs from November to January and some more rainfall again in April.
Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for Yala from 1991-2015
Top Tips Where to Stay
First of all stay at least two or three nights to increase the chance of spotting a leopard. Choose an accommodation which is nearby. Pro; you can go on safari in the morning and afternoon and spend the lunch break at your hotel.
Declared as a National Park in 1997 to protect the water reservoir and the wildlife of the area. Minneriya is famous for the largest gathering of Indian elephants.
Watching "The Gathering" is an outstanding spectacle and takes place in the dry season from July to October with its peak in August and September. The elephants gather in high numbers up to 300 around the water reservoir due to the lack of water. To enjoy this vast amount of elephants try to book a tour for the late afternoon with fewer off-road cars. Usually, the males are only around during the mating season in June - July. The elephants wander around between three different parks, so it's not guaranteed to spot them in high numbers.
The last tripadvisor reviews are deterring. The jeep drivers don't show any respect for these majestic animals; almost chasing. Better go to Udawalawe. We'd been here as well. The drivers stay on the path and don't drive like crazy to the bush. Also, many other animals can be spotted.
Samba Deer in Udawalawe
Showers can occur throughout the year. During May decreasing rainfall while June to September are the driest months. It's often overcast from June to August. The tropical climate has a humidity of around 80 % most of the time. Most precipitation from October until December. January to April it's frequently sunny. You may experience the most pleasant weather conditions between January and September.