Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve


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  • African traveller African traveller

One of SA's most beautiful parks

Written on: August 25, 2013   |   I visited in May 2013 I've been lucky to visit Hluhluwe and Umflozi a few times in 2013 and absolutely loved every visit. In addition to having the full big 5, this park has some truly spectacular landscapes and is, by SA standards, fairly quiet and easy to navigate.

Hluhluwe, the northern half of the park, is certainly the more beautiful half. The landscape becomes quite hilly and there are little offshoots from the main tar road that lead to rivers and ponds. We were surprised by quite a large heard of elephant at one river and sunset, who allowed us to stay fairly close to them and their calves.

Umflozi perhaps has better game viewing. We quickly came across numerous rhino, loads of impala and zebra. The highlight of this park was certainly crossing the river near the main gate where two elephants were having a drink as the sunset. The paved road in Umflozi doesn't extend as far as it does through Hluhluwe, but the dirt roads generally do not require 4x4.

We did not see any larger predators, and I heard of few people that did. I would recommend a guided tour if looking to see lions and leopards.

We opted to stay at a backpackers just outside the park, since accommodation in the park begins at about USD 100/night. The backpackers (Hluhluwe Backpackers) sits a few km outside the Hluhluwe park gate offers rooms and camping, with a great kitchen and bar. No restaurant. I believe they run tours during high season. We also visited the park as a day trip from St Lucia which is possible but makes for a fairly long day in the car. I'd definitely recommend staying closer and spending a few days in and around the park.

As a point of interest - I understand you can do 4-day hikes through the park in areas inaccessible by road along the southern river. We didn't have the time to do it, but it is supposed to be spectacular.
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(5/5 stars) Written on: Sep 18, 2014   |   Visited: Aug 2014.
I speak to a lot of tourists who didn't realize how 'rustic' Hluhluwe-umfolozi is and didn't come prepared and therefore didn't enjoy it as much.
The density of carnivores in this park is insane, it's not a busy as Kruger and it really is a beautiful area.
There is only one restaurant (Hilltop camp) but I will 100% recommend staying at Mpila, although no restaur... read more
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(5/5 stars) Written on: Jan 14, 2014   |   Visited: Aug 2012.
Some people say that if you've seen one game park you've seen them all. Not true! Each game reserve has its own personality and distinct character that will make it simultaneously attractive to some and unattractive to others. While some may criticise Hluhluwe Umfolozi for being small, for instance (compared to the Kruger National Park), I on the other hand, partic... read more
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(4/5 stars) Written on: Apr 23, 2013   |   Visited: Feb 2009.
The Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve in Northern Natal has a reputation (in South Africa) as a great location to choose if you want to see Elephant and Rhino; of course, they have all of the Big 5, but there are really large herds of elephant and you are sure to see quite a few. We saw a large herd of at least 40 ellies on several occasions. It is a great park for d... read more
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Spend a week split between H/I and St Lucia - you won't regret it.

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