Spekboom Tented Rest Camp, Addo Ele­phant Na­tional Park

go! - - Tented Camps Take Five -

When you park your car at Spekboom and close the gate be­hind you, it feels a lit­tle like Christ­mas: You’re deep in­side Addo and only 10 peo­ple are al­lowed to stay in the camp at any one time. Best of all, you don’t even have to pitch a tent! Carry your things to your tent along the foot­path, pop into the com­mu­nal kitchen to turn on the ket­tle and go and have a look to see if any­thing is hap­pen­ing at the Spekboom Hide. ( We didn’t see any­thing dur­ing our brief stay, but other guests re­ported sight­ings of ele­phants, hye­nas and rhi­nos.) Or sit on the deck in front of your tent with some­thing cold to drink, en­joy the quiet and say hello to a cu­ri­ous red-necked spur­fowl. The five tents are far apart from each other and sur­rounded by spekboom thicket typ­i­cal of the park. You won’t see your neigh­bours. Each tent has two beds, a so­lar-pow­ered lamp on the bed­side ta­ble, a wardrobe, two camp chairs, a camp ta­ble and a braai. Bed­ding and tow­els are sup­plied. The com­mu­nal ablu­tion fa­cil­i­ties have two hot show­ers and two flush toi­lets, and the kitchen has a stove, a fridge and a freezer, which all run on gas. It’s func­tional, not lux­u­ri­ous. But the best thing about stay­ing at Spekboom has noth­ing to do with the fa­cil­i­ties. Late in the af­ter­noon, when all the other peo­ple at Hapoor Dam (2 km from Spekboom) have left to make sure they get to the gate be­fore clos­ing time, you can stay a lit­tle while longer and watch the ele­phants drink. In the morn­ing, fill a flask with cof­fee, pack some rusks and take a slow drive to Jack’s Pic­nic Site only 1,5 km from Spekboom, where you can sit at one of the 20 pic­nic ta­bles, each with its own braai. Late af­ter­noon, watch the sun­set from the Kadouw Look­out. Nig­gles? You’ll find all the ba­sic utensils in your tent, but it’s wise to bring your own bot­tle opener and can opener, chop­ping board, sharp kitchen knife and tea tow­els. And braai wood! A head­lamp will come in handy for walk­ing to the bath­room in the dark. Rates: R1 019 per night for two peo­ple. Daily con­ser­va­tion fee R69 per adult; R35 per child; free with a Wild card. Con­tact: 042 233 8600; sanparks.org What else? Tent 5 is the fur­thest from the park­ing area but clos­est to the hide. You’ll have to lug your cool box an ex­tra dis­tance when you un­pack, but it’s eas­ier to check if there’s any ac­tion at the wa­ter­hole.

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