The question comes up more often than you’d think…Did you know that there is an entrance to the Addo Elephant National Park at Colchester?
Yes, that’s right! Colchester lies just 40 minutes from Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha) on the banks of the wide, meandering Sundays River and the Southern Gate (Matyholweni Gate) of Addo Elephant Park is just a sho’t left off the national road (the N2). It’s not a secret, it’s just that many people don’t realise the enormous size of the Addo Elephant National Park – from the Zuurberg Mountains to the Alexandria Dune Fields at the coast. It’s a veritable feast of biodiversity and game viewing opportunities!
However, Colchester offers visitors much more than access to the Matyholweni Gate, it’s a coastal and adventure paradise with long stretches of beach, enormous dunes for sandboarding, the Sundays River for fishing, cruising, paddling, birding, and swimming and a wonderful, laid-back coastal vibe that will have you relaxed and unwinding in no time at all.
Friendly residents and hosts will welcome you to the riverbank with easy grace, making the village feel homely and relaxed. Birders are in for a treat as the riverbanks, mudflats and dunes attract a fantastic mix of bush birds and waders for birdwatching. Greater Addo has over 400 different bird species and sightings in Colchester include African green pigeon, southern black tits, black-headed oriole, Knysna woodpeckers, herons, duck, and up to four types of kingfisher.
With a 100 000-year-old dune field and the coastline on one side, and a river and national park running a protective arm around the town, we think you may want to stay awhile, so we’ve rounded up some comfortable and convenient accommodation options to spend some fun days at Sundays.
It’s possible that Pearson Park resort offers an almost perfect slice of Addo for outdoor enthusiasts, campers and family travellers. Situated on the banks of the Sundays River, this unspoilt slice of Eastern Cape wilderness offers easy access to the beach (and Addo’s marine protected area), the river and its many activities and a short trip to the entrance of the national park. It’s quite possible to enjoy an early morning game drive, an afternoon on the beach and an evening casting a fishing line and toasting the setting sun. Guests will find a fully stocked supermarket, petrol station and fully licenced restaurant on their doorstep for convenience while fun and adventure await in the forms of boating, kayaking, fishing, sandboarding, birding, game viewing and beach trails. Pearson Park is a paradise for camping and caravanning enthusiasts offering 150 very spacious, grassed and shady sites and a few self-catering huts.
For all of the attractions of Colchester and Camp Matyholweni in addition to indulgent comforts and complete serenity, Settle Inn offers self-catering accommodation in the Sundays River village of Colchester, just 40km east of Port Elizabeth. It’s just 3km from the gate of the national park while still on the banks of the Sundays River – what more could you want in self-catering convenience? Whether you’re travelling with the family, taking a girls’ weekend or meeting up with friends, this is a fantastic choice with five modern units to choose from and all of Colchester’s many charms: surf or river fishing, sandboarding, relaxing on the jetty, paddling or taking a river cruise. Additionally, the new Settle Inn Beauty & Massage service offers an extra layer of indulgence for those needing a bit of rejuvenation and pampering.
If you’re looking for a warm Eastern Cape welcome then look no further, you’ve found your perfect stay in Colchester at Sundune Guesthouse where they “receive guests as guests, but our guests leave as our friends.” Comfortably nestled on the banks of the Sundays River, Sundune offers five well-appointed and neat guest rooms with a communal lounge for the social traveller. A scrumptious breakfast can be expected every morning to set you on your way to exploring the region and, in addition to tranquil settings and great hospitality, guests are a short distance from Colchester’s adventures and natural attractions, and the Camp Matyholweni Gate.
If you’re looking for a convenient variety of self-catering options, then Addo Accommodation Colchester should have something to suit your needs. Properties offer options catering from 1-2 people and up to 12, so whether you’re travelling solo or having a little family get-together, you’re spoilt for choice in Colchester. The Adventure Addo House sleeps up to ten people and is perfect for a family getaway close to the action with a small pool and entertainment area. Other properties include luxurious cottages and smaller flats with the most popular the Addo Park View Vista Cottages bordering the national park where it’s sometimes possible to spot elephants and other wildlife from the 360° balcony.
If turning some boerewors on the braai, with a beer in your hand after a day of fishing or game viewing is your idea of heaven, then we’d recommend giving Addo Riverview Lodge a try. Nestled on the banks of the meandering Sundays River, Riverview Lodge offers both self-catering and en-suite options so you can stay for a night or set up for a week of comfortable holiday time in Colchester. You’re encouraged to make use of the facilities and feel right at home and, with the river on your doorstep, the beach down the road and the entrance to Addo Elephant National Park a little further along, you’re going to want to stay awhile.
A place where we receive guests as guests, but our guests leave as our friends.
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a unique overnight stay, hop onto the houseboat, Maggie May. You’ll fall asleep the sounds of the river and wake up to the sounds of the gulls – there’s nothing like spending a night on the water. Maggie May is moored on the Sundays River with a beautiful restaurant and adventure bookings just a short distance away and can sleep up to six people (two in a double bed, two on a sleeper couch and two in the tent on the upper deck – can you imagine waking up to views of the 100 000-year old Colchester dunes? Maggie May is a rustic and charming way to really get in touch with the natural wonders of the river and its wildlife.