Pause to watch the sun set while on game drives from Gorah Elephant Camp.

Gorah Elephant Camp | Addo Elephant National Park Luxury South African Safari Lodge

Encounter one of the world’s densest population of elephant at Gorah Elephant Camp, a luxury South African safari lodge set on a private conservancy in Addo Elephant National Park. You’ll have many opportunities to view these gentle giants (and other wildlife) here: on game drives, while relaxing on your verandah or during dinners overlooking the much-visited waterhole.

The place

We’re met by our guide on arrival at Port Elizabeth International Airport and driven to Addo Elephant National Park, 70km northeast of the city and just past the famous Garden Route. Driving through the park to Gorah Elephant Camp, which is situated on a 5,000ha private concession within the park, is a safari unto itself. An elephant family blocks our way – and allows us some exciting photographic opportunities – before lumbering off into the thick bush of the Eastern Cape’s Sundays River region. We’re elated to have experienced our first sighting, although our guide assures us there’ll be many more; Addo is said to be home to the densest elephant population on earth, and our camp overlooks a waterhole where they come to drink and play.

We’re met by our guide on arrival at Port Elizabeth International Airport and driven to Addo Elephant National Park, 70km northeast of the city and just past the famous Garden Route. Driving through the park to Gorah Elephant Camp, which is situated on a 5,000ha private concession within the park, is a safari unto itself. An elephant family blocks our way – and allows us some exciting photographic opportunities – before lumbering off into the thick bush of the Eastern Cape’s Sundays River region.

We’re elated to have experienced our first sighting, although our guide assures us there’ll be many more; Addo is said to be home to the densest elephant population on earth, and our camp overlooks a waterhole where they come to drink and play.

The room

Our tent is more like a luxury hotel room, with a thatched roof and thick canvas walls as well as a king-sized four-poster bed dressed in the softest linen. African themed, it’s spacious and airy, allowing in plenty of natural light and opening up to a verandah for that special out-in-the-wild feeling. We decide to take a quick shower before heading to the stately manor house for its traditional high tea, thrilled to discover double shower heads in the bathroom. The manor house is casually lavish, a product of a time when opulence was the byword of the African safari. We learn that it’s a National Heritage Site; built in 1856, it was named after the natural spring known as ‘de Goras’. We can’t help admiring how beautifully restored and period furnished it is, with large verandahs reaching to the African plains. Here we enjoy Earl Grey and snacks, just like in days past. Although we could go on a safari, we decide to laze on the terrace and watch for elephant visiting the waterhole, which we’ve been promised is a regular occurrence.

Our tent is more like a luxury hotel room, with a thatched roof and thick canvas walls as well as a king-sized four-poster bed dressed in the softest linen. African themed, it’s spacious and airy, allowing in plenty of natural light and opening up to a verandah for that special out-in-the-wild feeling. We decide to take a quick shower before heading to the stately manor house for its traditional high tea, thrilled to discover double shower heads in the bathroom.

The manor house is casually lavish, a product of a time when opulence was the byword of the African safari. We learn that it’s a National Heritage Site; built in 1856, it was named after the natural spring known as ‘de Goras’. We can’t help admiring how beautifully restored and period furnished it is, with large verandahs reaching to the African plains. Here we enjoy Earl Grey and snacks, just like in days past. Although we could go on a safari, we decide to laze on the terrace and watch for elephant visiting the waterhole, which we’ve been promised is a regular occurrence.

What sets it apart

There’s something incredibly romantic about being out in the middle of the wild with no electricity other than candlelight and solar power. The green status of Gorah Elephant Camp is what drew me here in the first place, because I believe conservation is synonymous with sustainable practices. Gorah is not only dedicated to the protection of Addo Elephant National Park, but it supports the community through the local crèche and soup kitchen, while still providing an authentic safari experience that is the epitome of luxury. Special touches that stood out for me included excellent guiding, hot-water bottles in our bed at night and handwritten notes, as well as a decanter of sherry for those colder evenings. Then there were memorable dinners – not least the one where we saw two hyena and a buffalo drinking from the waterhole – and the countless beautiful grey giants that visit here in peace.

There’s something incredibly romantic about being out in the middle of the wild with no electricity other than candlelight and solar power. The green status of Gorah Elephant Camp is what drew me here in the first place, because I believe conservation is synonymous with sustainable practices.

Gorah is not only dedicated to the protection of Addo Elephant National Park, but it supports the community through the local crèche and soup kitchen, while still providing an authentic safari experience that is the epitome of luxury.

Special touches that stood out for me included excellent guiding, hot-water bottles in our bed at night and handwritten notes, as well as a decanter of sherry for those colder evenings. Then there were memorable dinners – not least the one where we saw two hyena and a buffalo drinking from the waterhole – and the countless beautiful grey giants that visit here in peace.

At a glance

  • Colonial-style safari camp with 11 tented suites under thatched canopies. The lodge has a swimming pool and restaurant overlooking a waterhole, as well as a curio shop and library.
  • Private concession within a national park, private dining and guaranteed elephant sightings.
  • Game drives, birdwatching, swimming and sundowners.
  • Children of 10 years and above are welcome, with specially-adapted children’s safaris.

  • Colonial-style safari camp with 11 tented suites under thatched canopies. The lodge has a swimming pool and restaurant overlooking a waterhole, as well as a curio shop and library.
  • Private concession within a national park, private dining and guaranteed elephant sightings.
  • Game drives, birdwatching, swimming and sundowners.
  • Children of 10 years and above are welcome, with specially-adapted children’s safaris.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

The weather in the Western Cape, and along most of the Garden Route, is almost the inverse of the rest of South Africa. These warmer summer months are the driest time of the year. The beginning of summer ushers in the end of the whale-watching season, but game drives in Addo Elephant Park and Bushmans Kloof can be even more rewarding as the vegetation dies back. For ideal beach weather, you should look to be here between January and March.

If you’re from the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll find that winter in the Western Cape and Garden Route is much like spring back home: mild, sunny days interspersed with wet, windy ones. At it’s coldest, from June to August, daytime temperatures are usually 14–18°C. Southern right whales migrate into the Cape’s waters from June to November to give birth and nurse their young, with peak calving season being in July and August, easily seen from land.

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