On the east coast of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, 450 km (280 miles) north of Durban, is Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, the oldest established park in Africa. Located on 960 km² (370 miles²) of Zululand between the two Umfolozi Rivers—Mfolozi emnyama and Mfolozi emhlophe—Hluhluwe Umfolozi boasts mountains, rolling savannah and stone age settlements.
The park is the oldest game reserve in Africa, established in 1895; its history includes protection of the white rhino through “Project Rhino” in the 1950s and ‘60s, and it has since been known for its efforts in rhinoceros conservation. Today, Hluhluwe Umfolozi retains the largest population of white rhino and remains a haven for black, hook-lipped and white, square-lipped rhino as well as the rest of the big five—lion, elephant, leopard and buffalo. Game viewing is popular in the park as a result, where crocodile, lion, cheetah, hyena, blue wildebeest, jackal, giraffe, zebra and a host of pigs, baboons, monkeys and reptiles also meander and speed. More than 300 bird species flit within the reserve, particularly near its floodplains.
Visitors can walk wilderness trails—self-directed and guided alike—tool around on self-guided driving trails (no off-road or night driving) and take guided boat tours on the Hluhluwe dam.
The winter dry season, from May to August, is pleasantly temperate. Rain falls from September to April, up to 1,000 mm (39 inches) annually.