Accommodation in Addo
Originally the plan was to camp all the way on this road trip to save on cost but I was a little nervous about the weather along the Garden Route in winter and wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of having to put up tents in the rain. Also when it came to packing the car I don’t think we would have had enough space for all the camping equipment anyway. A search on the SANParks website, however, revealed the next best thing, Spekboom Tented Camp. Here we could camp, in the middle of the bush, without having to carry loads of stuff with us in the car.
What more could you ask for, arriving with your tent already put up. Inside are two beds with mattresses and enough blankets to keep you warm on even the coldest of nights. A braai, outside table and even a couple of solar-powered electric lights.
There are five tents altogether in the Spekboom Tented Camp but they are all hidden away from each other in a maze of Spekboom shrubs such that you can’t see any of the other tents. Following a trail of sign posts through the maze you come to the communal kitchen and bathroom facilities with a fridge and gas stove, kitchen sinks, clean toilets and hot water showers. Just enough comfort to make you feel at home while camping in the wild.
Inside your tent you are also provided with an ammo box filled with two bowls, two plates, two mugs, two glasses, two knives ….. two of everything you need.
We had taken along our own gas bottle which meant we didn’t have to go all the way to the kitchen when we wanted to boil water or have a fry up for breakfast. So if you can take your own gas bottle I would highly recommend it.
Staying at Spekboom, inside the park fence, was great as we got to hear the sounds of the bush with jackal calling every night and the one morning as I was washing the dishes I looked up to see an elephant walking past on his way to the watering hole in front of the camp. However for our last night we stayed in a Safari Tent at the Main Rest Camp (in order to do the night game drive) and while you aren’t in the park, it is right on the fence line and you have this spectacular view of a watering hole, a perfect spot for a sundowner after a day of game viewing.
The Safari Tents are similar to Spekboom with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities but they are larger and more comfortable and have electrical points, your own fridge and even a heater. If you haven’t done a lot of camping then the Safari Tents may be the better option for you, but if you’re the adventurous type I think Spekboom is worth the experience even if just for one night.
I’ll leave you with this long exposure, taken from the balcony of our Safari Tent, showing the floodlit watering hole and starry skies above Addo Elephant National Park.