“Elegant mountain-top lodge on the edge of Addo National Park, with affordable malaria-free game viewing for families and romantics alike”
Scattered around the grounds of a restored 1920s homestead, now housing a cosy lounge and dining area within its traditional tin walls, are 7 stand-alone suites. Some sit on stilts above a wooded slope, others have bunkbeds for children; there’s even a spacious family cottage sleeping 6-8 with its own pool and garden. All have private verandas, deep bathtubs and bird’s eye views in every direction. Daily game drives take you up-close-and-personal with Addo’s 500 or so elephants (as well as giraffes, zebras, leopards and more), while horse riding, mountain biking and guided nature walks allow you to explore the forest, bushveld and fynbos of the lodge’s 1,000-hectare reserve. Return for a dip in the pool, a sunset G&T and a hearty dinner served under a blanket of stars. We have yet to visit, but feedback tells us we’re in for a magical experience when we do.
- It's great value - the suites are well-priced, and you only pay for the activities you want to do (unlike expensive all-inclusive camps)
- Perfect for families, but four-poster beds and a spectacular setting mean there’s plenty of romance for couples, too
- The feel is utterly remote, with complete silence at night, yet it’s only an hour north of Port Elizabeth airport and easily accessible from the Garden Route
- Friendly and knowledgeable staff who can organise anything from elephant rides to lion-spotting trips
- Excellent food, with tasty local meat and plenty for vegetarians - plus weekly South African feasts around a boma (campfire)
- No electricity overnight (10pm to 6am), but solar-charged lanterns are provided and it adds to the fun of staying in the wilderness
- It's reached via a steep, bumpy road, though normal hire cars can manage it
- Addo can get very busy with visitors and vehicles, but Camp Figtree is 20 minutes from the entrance, so you’re away from the hubbub and can dip in and out as you please
- No air-conditioning, though the mountain-top location means you're unlikely to miss it
- There's a fairly hefty deposit to pay within 7 days of confirming your reservation
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Lodge
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
The 7 stand-alone suites, built from corrugated tin and local timber to match the original house, are scattered around the grounds. Inside, they’re refined and elegant, with polished wooden floors, Persian rugs, the odd colonial antique and earthy colours that reflect the African landscape outside. All have kingsize or twin four-poster beds swathed in mosquito nets, private verandas with a couple of chairs to lounge on, and large black-and-white tiled bathrooms with freestanding tubs and walk-in showers. But the star attractions are the views, which soar over the reserve to the undulating Zuuberg Mountains beyond.
Standard Superior Suites have spacious bedrooms with a couple of armchairs; one has an additional bedroom with a single bed - ideal for a family of 3. The Superior Boardwalk Suites also have dressing areas and wider verandas. They sit at the end of a raised walkway a little further away from the main lodge, providing perfect retreats for couples seeking privacy. The pricier Luxury Suites are perched on stilts above a wooded slope that drops away dramatically to the valley beneath, and come with separate lounges and wraparound verandas.
There’s also a spacious Family Suite sleeping 6-8 (+ 2 babies) in a double bedroom and 2 bunk rooms. It occupies a large cottage, with a lounge, 2 bathrooms (one with a tub, the other with a shower) and its own garden complete with a private pool.
All suites have bathrobes, hairdryers, and safe boxes, but no TVs (though with these views, you won't miss them). There's also tea and coffee, and flasks of hot water are delivered each morning on request. Bear in mind that electricity is turned off at 10pm, though there are solar-powered lamps for reading and night-time loo trips. There’s no air-conditioning, but you’ll only really notice in the hottest months (December and January) and the lofty location brings plenty of cooling breezes.
- Coffee tea making
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Mosquito net
- Safe box
Evenings at Camp Figtree kick off with aperitifs in the lounge or out on the veranda, as the sky turns from blue to orange to lilac. If you’re out on a guided walk you’ll be treated to sundowners and snacks in the bush.
Dinner is a 3-course affair served in the privacy of your suite or in the cosy colonial-style dining room, where individual tables are laid with crisp white linen and a fire crackles in the cooler months. Dishes are hearty, unpretentious and, by all accounts, very tasty - perhaps succulent Karoo lamb shank with sweet potatoes, ostrich steak with root vegetables, or chicken stuffed with herby risotto. Accompanying salads are organic, and the bread is home-baked. Vegetarian menus are available on request, and there’s a choice of South African wines to wash it all down.
Once a week, a traditional South African meal is served in the boma - an open-air space centred around a campfire, where you can listen to the calls of nocturnal creatures drifting up from the reserve. It includes a range of local specialities such as umgqusho (samp and beans), isonka esibhakwe emalahleni (roasted bread), ibobotie (a dish of minced beef) and imalva (a dessert similar to sticky toffee pudding).
Breakfast sounds equally appealing - a mix of continental fare (pastries, juice, cold cuts) and the Full English, complete with freshly made muffins. Lunch is available at the lodge or as a picnic if you’re out on an excursion. And come afternoon, high tea is served up in old-world silver pots.
- Coffee tea making
- Organic produce
- Picnics on request
- Vegetarian menu
- Meet the elephants of Addo - the entrance to the park is 30 minutes away and Camp Figtree runs daily 3-hour game drives in open-top Land Rovers. You might also encounter leopards, lions, buffalo, zebras, hyenas, giraffes, black rhinos, jackals and antelope, which have all been successfully reintroduced since the park opened in 1931
- You can also book extended morning drives, complete with brunch in the wilderness
- Or you can get even closer to Addo’s gentle giants on an elephant-back safari. You’ll be able to touch, feed and water rescued elephants, before riding through the bush with them
- Join an evening lion-spotting safari at the nearby Schotia Private Game Reserve. Big cat sightings are guaranteed, and afterwards you’ll be treated to a barbecue around the reserve’s boma
- View game by horseback (from a safe distance, of course). The lodge offers treks for novice and experienced riders, taking in sections of Addo National Park and the Zuurberg Mountains
- Accompany one of Camp Figtree’s rangers on a guided walk around the lodge’s private reserve, which spans 3 different habitats - Afro-montane forest, valley bushveld and Cape fynbos - and is home to safe native species such as buck. You’ll learn all about the extraordinary bird, butterfly and insect life (kids will be enthralled by the flightless dung beetles, unique to this part of the world), with a stop for sundowners and snacks in the bush
- Borrow a mountain bike and head off to explore the lodge’s reserve on your own. Staff can pack up a picnic to enjoy along the way, and there are some fantastic cycling trails to wheel along
- Between adventures, sit back on the veranda with a book or cool off in the pool as the sun plays on the valley beneath
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Elephant rides
- Mountain biking
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
Malaria-free Addo is perfect for families seeking safe safari adventures, and Camp Figtree welcomes children of all ages. There are no specific facilities for kids, but the friendly staff will tailor game drives and guided walks to suit different ages and interests, and there’s plenty to thrill little ones, including the opportunity to ride, feed and water elephants. What’s more, the suites are spread out around the grounds, so there’s no need to worry about noisy youngsters disturbing other guests.
Children under 3 stay free of charge; those aged 4-12 pay 50% of the nightly adult rate. The full rate is charged for teenagers aged 13+.
Family friendly accommodation:
The Family Suite can accommodate 6-8 adults and 2 babies, with a double bedroom, 2 bunk rooms, 2 bathrooms, a lounge, space for extra beds and baby cots, and its own pool and garden. Smaller families can book Superior Suite 3, which has a double/twin bedroom and a single room. Rollaway beds and baby cots can be added to any of the suites, and all have bathtubs.
Babysitting is available on request. Alternatively, staff can set up a dinner table on your suite’s veranda if you want to keep an eye on the kids while you eat.
- Baby cots
- High chair
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Kids Activities on site:
- Mountain bikes to borrow
- Guided nature walks through the reserve
- Swimming pool
Kids Activities nearby:
- Daily game drives into Addo National Park
- Elephant-back safaris
- Lion-spotting safaris
- Horse riding
- Airport: 1 hour (Port Elizabeth)
- Hospital: 1 hour (Port Elizabeth)
- Shop: 5km