Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park, formerly Hluhluwe–Umfolozi Game Reserve, is the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa. It consists of 960 km² (96,000 ha) of hilly topography 280 kilometres north of Durban in central KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and is known for its rich wildlife and conservation efforts. The park is world reknown for its conservation efforts and history. The Umfolozi was previously used as King Shaka's private hunting grounds. The conservation efforts have contributed to this park having the largest population of White Rhino in the world.
How on earth do you pronounce that, I hear you ask! Hluhluwe-iMfolozi is one of those amazing Zulu names which sounds completely unlike how it is spelt. “Shooshloowi Imfolozi” is set in the heart of Zululand in KZN and not only is it the oldest proclaimed parks in Africa but it is also home to a tremendous amount of wildlife which is why people far and wide flock to visit. The National Park is actually a tremendous conservation success, so the core activity that one can enjoy here is taking it all in, including the big five which is quite a unique element of this park as it’s the only park which is state run which has big five bragging rights! The park also boasts a nice number of cheetah and wild dog, as well as a beautiful variety of birdlife. No matter what, you’re in for a treat.
This beautiful park consists of 960 km² hilly topography, just three and a half hours shy by road north of Durban in central KwaZulu-Natal. Durban has lots of great flight connections from around the country including Cape Town, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and further away spots like Gaborone in Botswana. As part of a trip with us at Tailormade Africa, we will help you to get to the park, either giving you a lovely vehicle to drive at your leisure or indeed with a private driver/guide who can whisk you over for your stay here. The park is also just over an hour and a half’s journey from Richard’s Bay which has daily arrivals from Johannesburg so is perfect when combining more than one part of this beautiful country in an itinerary.
We think that you can visit Hluhluwe-iMfolozi at any time of the year, as no matter when you go you’ll have an incredible wildlife experience. The park is absolutely stunning, and as one of the only state-run parks to be home to the big five (so named as they were the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot ‘back in the day’), you really will be in for a treat. It’s worth bearing in mind that the summer months (November to March) will bring higher temperatures and therefore thunderstorms and rain to cool the earth off, but that just means that the park will be absolutely gorgeous and lush with bright greens in contrast with sunshine and black skies – a photographer’s paradise. In the winter months (June to August) the temperatures will plummet during the evenings when the sun goes to sleep, and this can make for some nippy nights however the earth will be dry and therefore the bush will be thin, making spotting those animals a little easier than when it’s in full growth. Regardless, the animals will be there so get ready for some brilliant game sightings!
Hluhluwe-iMfolozi is a popular choice with locals and tourists alike, particularly given it’s just under a 3 hour journey from the buzzing city of Durban, and in the heart of the magnificently culturally rich KwaZulu-Natal. The park is celebrated for the role it has played in conservation, specifically related to white rhino whose numbers were dwindling at an incredibly fast pace before the park was established in 1895. The park is also very well known for the many signs of Stone Age settlements and evidence of the royal hunting ground it used to be for the Zulu kingdom. You’ll also find the park is incredibly rich with wildlife, including those most iconic African mammals (giraffe, zebra, hippo) as well as the big five (lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino and even the elusive leopard). The park is also a prime birding destination and is home to roughly 340 bird species – perfect for those twitchers out there!
Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park is partly in a low-risk malaria area, therefore we recommend you check in with your travel doctor to discuss your personal needs when visiting this part of the country.
We absolutely ADORE Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge which is the only private lodge in this iconic park. It gives you direct access to the park (being located right within it), which means you can enjoy the wealth of game the park has to offer, including 46% of the birdlife found in the entire Southern hemisphere, 86 different mammal species, all of the Big 5, and the world’s densest white rhino population. It’s also one of the best places to see the African wild dog, one of the continent’s most endangered large carnivores. The lodge itself has just 16 rooms, 2 of which are dedicated honeymoon villas which are nestled right in the bush with private plunge pools – ideal for some luxurious alone time! There are also two gorgeous safari family suites which are perfect for those with little legs in the family. In addition to all of this (and not by any means the least important bit!) the founders of Isibindi Africa Lodges, Brett and Paige Gehren, both come from a strong conservation background and this is evident throughout the property and as a visitor you will feel truly inspired by the work they do. You won’t be disappointed!
Established to protect the previously endangered white rhino, now numbering over 1000 in the park, Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve is a triumph of conservation efforts. Celebrate this legacy in exclusive luxury at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge - the only private lodge in the reserve - offering exceptional safari experiences in the heart of Big 5 territory... Learn more