This is a self-drive, unguided route that must be booked via Addo Main Camp Reservation. It can be attempted from Kabouga or from Darlington. You can drive here throughout the year, but check the river conditions with the ranger if you want to attempt the optional river crossing. Various accommodation options and camping are available at Kabouga and Darlington. This is the only 4×4 option within the Addo Elephant National Park.
However, some neighbouring farms also offer excellent 4x4ing (see the Slagboom Trail). The Addo Elephant National Park offers a variety of activities – from standard game drives to horse riding and hiking trails, including the exceptional 2-day Alexandria Hiking Trail. Swimming, fishing and canoeing are allowed at the Mvubu Camp site. The Bedrogfontein Trail is a historic route between Darlington Dam and the Kabouga section of the Addo Elephant National Park. This route was once used by the Boer commandos and British soldiers during the Anglo-Boer War. Driving here will immerse you in breathtaking scenery and early 20th-century history. The rugged mountains will test your vehicle while increasing your respect for the early pioneers’ perseverance as they crossed these mountains in ox wagons.
The route travels through a variety of vegetation types: from riverine thicket, to afromontane forest, to fynbos on the peaks and into the arid Nama Karoo vegetation of the Darlington area. Two species of ancient cycads grace the mountain slopes, while towering yellowwood trees pierce the sky and offer much needed shade during the summer. This is not an extremely technical or challenging 4×4 route, but the scenery and views are spectacular, particularly along the Sundays River section. Remember to keep a look out for black rhino while driving through the Rhino Camp on the Darlington side.
As water is scarce and summer temperatures regularly tickle 40°C, 4x4ers should carry enough drinking water. No fires may be lit along the route. A maximum of six vehicles are allowed on the route at any one time, and it is strongly recommended that at least two vehicles travel together for safety purposes. The route is only suitable for vehicles with 4×4 and low range facilities, both because of terrain and to cause minimum impact on the environment. Remember to check the river conditions with the ranger should you wish to attempt the river crossing.
At Kabouga you can opt for the six-sleeper, fully equipped, self-catering Kabouga Cottage (-33.3046,25.3831) or head for the Mvubu campsite. The latter has six stands, accommodating a maximum of four people per stand. One hot water shower, one flush toilet and braai facilities are available. Bring your own firewood and drinking water. Canoes are available for use on the Sundays River and can be obtained by contacting the ranger on duty. Swimming and fishing is allowed in the Sundays River, but please note that there may be hippos in the river and they can be dangerous.
At Darlington the luxury Darlington Lake Lodge is available; otherwise the four-bed rustic Fisherman’s Cottages provide a fully equipped, self-catering option. The easiest access to the Kabouga section of the Park is from Kirkwood. Travel up Sonop Street past the Kirkwood Golf Course and the cemetery till you see the access gate on your left.