Garden Route Safari

by John Montfort

Getting close to elephants at Addo

Getting close to elephants at Addo

We saw so much more than any tour operator could have shown us. We stayed 4 hours by Carol's Rest waterhole (your suggestion) and saw two ostriches chase a jackal across the field, saw two Cape Buffalo fight it out, as well as elephants, kudu, warthogs etc.


Bontebok NP - rest camp with self contained cottage

Wilderness - rest camp with self contained cottage

Storm river - ocean self contained condo unit

Addo - rest camp with thatched roof self contained cottage.

All booked online through SANParks.


We mostly cooked simple meals for ourselves in the parks themselves. Did not use the BBQ grills.


At Bontebok NP we saw bontebok, hartebeests, mountain zebras.

Storm river - deer, many birds.

Addo - elephants, lions, Cape buffalo, warthogs, ostriches, jackals, many birds, kudu, hartebeests.

Typical Day

Up early in Addo. Stayed at watering hole for 4 hours, drove some, then stopped at 2nd watering hole for 2 hours.

Lunch at camp then went to bird blind. Afternoon drive. Dinner at the cottage with nice wine!

Other Activities

Only did a (guided) night safari drive. Not very exicting.


Wilderness camp was not really wilderness. The only disappointment of the whole trip.

Tips and Advice

Do it yourself! Make sure car has comfortable seats. Would rent maybe a van next time.

My camera was the most useful item in my luggage.


I purchased your guide not knowing that I would be getting a large PDF file type book rather than the usual printed one.

I must say that after reading the on-line book I was very, very impressed. Just the links you had made it all worthwhile. We booked Addo, Bontebok, Wilderness, and Storm River through SANParks and were very impressed.

Your ability to convince us that we could do our own safari in Addo was brilliant.

No tour operator would have stayed that long at the watering hole. We also parked just 30' from three lions another 2 hours. (Got their location from the gate keeper.)

Folks here still have a hard time believing we could just drive on our own in the parks. I show them the photos and they are amazed.

Thanks again for the excellent guide book.

Addo animals
Lion, hartebeest and kudu bull - Addo Elephant National Park

Dassie et al
Clockwise from top left: Orangethroated Longclaw, elephant (note my car mirror), cormorant seen on section of the Otter trail, Cape mountain zebra at Bontebok NP, always cute rock hyrax/dassie

Garden Route scenery
Garden Route scenery - clockwise from top left: Storms River (note SANParks condos), Otter hiking trail, golden hour on the Otter trail, Storms River mouth and suspension bridges

More Addo animals
Clockwise from top left: ostriches in Addo chasing the jackal, Knysna turaco, bontebok, elephant calf

John's Safari Details:

Rating: 10/10

Safari company used: Self-guided how to guide your own safari or ask for help

Parks visited: Bontebok, Wilderness, Storms River and Addo National Parks - South Africa

Date of safari: January 17 for 12 days

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