Bonamanzi Game ParkLocation: South Africa » Kwazulu Natal » Zululand » Elephant Coast » St Lucia » Hluhluwe
Camping & Backpackers - Bonamanzi Game Park
Our Wilderness caravan and camping site allows you to be part of the wilderness being situated in the bush amongst the birds and safe game. These spacious sites offer superb ablutions, hot and cold running water and 220V power supply points. There are communal cleaning and braai areas for guests, with each campsite catering for a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 6 people.
Backpackers are welcome to come and stay in out new backpackers lodge with a fully fitted kitchen and bathrooms.
This catered for camp has a total of 26 rooms. A lounge built up on stilts over the dam provides one with breathtaking sunsets, excellent birding and game viewing day or night. Lalapanzi has its own private pool. All you need to bring along is a towel for swimming. Dinner and Breakfast are served at Lalapanzi Restaurant.
Vital Information about Bonamanzi Game Park The accommodation is as varied as the activities with catered and self catered accommodation from 3 star right through to camping.
How far is the nearest town?
The town of Hluhluwe is a 15 minute drive from Bonamanzi. The village has petrol/diesel facilities, banking, a pharmacy and provisions for self-catering guests.
Are there medical services?
The nearest hospital is at Richards Bay, an hour’s drive from Bonamanzi. The nearest medical help is fifteen minutes away in Hluhluwe where a doctor is permanently on call for Bonamanzi Guests.
What about Malaria?
Bonamanzi is located in a low-risk malaria area. All rooms have a cordless plug-in mosquito destroyer.
When is the best time to visit?
Any time of the year is good because Bonamanzi is a true all year round destination. The weather is almost always warm. Hot, humid days are broken by brief rain showers in the summer months of November, December, January and February. Winter months are mild and dry and you can walk around in a T-shirt and shorts during the day.
What about security?
Bonamanzi has trained security guards on duty 24 hours a day. A security boom monitors all vehicles entering the property and the entrance gate to Bonamanzi is locked at night.
How far are other wildlife reserves from Bonamanzi?
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park is renowned for Operation Rhino where the white rhino was saved from extinction. It is a fifteen minute drive to the Memorial Gate entrance to this world-class game park which has all of the Big Five; leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo and lion.
Mkuze Game Reserve is a 62km drive and Tembe Elephant Park up in the northernmost corner of the province, a 2 and a half hour drive away.
How do you pronounce Hluhluwe?
This zulu word derives its name from a thorny rope which is known as iHluhluwe by the Zulus. It is pronounced “Shloo Shloo wee”.
What can you do in the Hluhluwe area?
Bonamanzi borders the False Bay section Lake St Lucia World Heritage Site. This unique network of inland lagoons reaches its widest point at the coral reefs of False Bay. The False Bay park includes a sand forest where plant life grows on an ancient dune ridge resulting from a coastline formed in the crustaceous era about 14 million years ago. False Bay is home to pelican, flamingo, saddlebills, spoonbills, crocodiles and hippo.
Bonamanzi offers walks out onto the Lake St Lucia floodplains and birding boat cruises down the Hluhluwe River.
Close by are living Zulu villages where you can experience the culture, traditions, craft and music of local Zulu people and sample local dishes at well established restaurants. There is a wide variety of top-quality Zulu craft for sale at a number of craft and curio shops. This includes functional art and décor like beadwork, traditional pots, wood-carvings and woven mats. Basket weaving with the Ilala palm and dyes from roots and berries has been revitalized into an art form winning international recognition.
Bonamanzi Game Park offers you an array of facilities and accommodation to suit most needs. Our accommodation ranges from our comfortable 3-star chalets on the Lalapanzi camp to our 3-star luxury, private Dinizulu camp. Then there are always our well-known self-catering tree houses where one is really in touch with nature and able to completely unwind. Bonamanzi also caters for you whether you feel like doing business in the bush with our Conference and Event facilities to having the wedding of your dreams in the African wild. Whatever your need, we at Bonamanzi will do our best to make sure your stay is one to remember.
Please feel free to browse our facilities using the side menu.
2 Bed and 4 Bed Tree Houses:
Bonamanzi is well known for their Tree Houses, these wooden units, on stilts, are privately situated amongst the trees of the sand forest. There are units that offer one or two bedrooms and all have self catering facilities.
The Tree Lodge offers 3 bedrooms, lounge, dining room and kitchen all on a raised deck with wonderful views of a nearby water hole. Sleeping 6 adults in total the Tree Lodge is perfectly positioned in the sand forest.
The more conventional Game Lodge offers self catering accommodation for 6 adults.
Dinizulu Lodge has three individual units sleeping six adults with a charming dining room / lounge / entertainment area. This lodge is situated on the banks of the Dinizulu Dam and is very private.
Lalapanzi Camp offers catered en-suite accommodation for fifty two guests. The restaurant serves either buffet or set menu meals, depending on the number of guests in the Camp. Saturday evenings at Bonamanzi are “Bush Braai” evenings, a treat not to be missed. Lalapanzi Camp is the “hub” of Bonamanzi as this is the area where guests meet for activities, there is an amazing lounge area with it’s “feet” firmly planted in a very large watering hole! The perfect spot to enjoy sundowners or a “night cap”.
Finally, Bonamanzi has 7 exquisite camp sites, very privately situated in the sand forest with ablution facilities and electrical plug points.
Bonamanzi Game Drives in open land rovers are offered at sunrise and sunset and at other times throughout the day, depending on guests’ needs. Bonamanzi has many different antelope species, elephant, hippo, crocodile, giraffe, warthog, wildebeest, zebra, wild dog, hyena and a world famous collection of birds.
For something quite different, book the night game drive when you can see the lesser-known nocturnal animals and maybe catch a glimpse of the elusive leopard. There’s a good chance that you’ll see the hippos down at the marshes by the river Hluhluwe and lake St.Lucia. Snack and refreshment breaks are part of all the activities at Bonamanzi and there is nothing quite as pleasant as watching the sun set over Lake St Lucia with gin and tonic in one hand, biltong, cheese and biscuits in the other.
Guided Walks at Bonamanzi Game Park Birding Walks at Bonamanzi Game Park
At Bonamanzi, no guided walk is the same; one day you could sight elephant, the next you will find out why that fruit is called the black monkey orange or why the beetle rolls its dung.
Our experienced local guides will walk you safely through the bush, whilst explaining all you wish to know about the wildlife and vegetation. A close encounter with the giraffe is often possible and the guides will pass on all the tales and folklore about the bush.
Muthi" is the Zulu word for medicine. The Zulu people believe very strongly in natural cures and antidotes for anything from a stomach ache to a broken heart. On our walks you will find out how the Ilala palm is used to make beer, learn how the Fever tree got its name or discover which tree bark cures hay fever.
Guests can also enjoy guided walks out onto the floodplains leading into Lake St Lucia where your ranger will lead you to the habitat of rare birds like the vividly coloured Pink Throated longclaw and you can view pink-backed flamingos, spoonbills and pelicans.
Walks can be arranged for 1 ½ hours to 5 hours depending on hour keen a walker you are.
Bonamanzi is consistently rated one of the top birding sites in South Africa.
Three different habitats of sand forest, grasslands and woodlands have resulted in a rich diversity of species and it is because of the special nature of the area that Bonamanzi was recognised as a Natural Heritage Site in November 1995. There are few places where you can find 29 birds on the red data list. Bonamanzi has over 349 recorded bird species. The endangered sand forest area is home to very special birds like the Pink-throated Twinspot, Lemon-breasted Canary and Rudd’s Apalis.
Some of the Birds you can expect to tick off your list during your stay at Bonamanzi:
- Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans
- Black-winged Lapwing
- Cape and African Yellow White-Eye
- Gorgeous, Orange-breasted and Grey-headed Bushshrike
- Three species of Longclaw – Yellow, Cape and Rosy-throated
- Three Robin-Chats – Red-capped, White-throated and White-browed
- Two Scrub-Robins – Eastern Bearded and White-browed
- Nine Weavers species
- Nine Flycatcher species
- Ten Swallow species
- African Pygmy-Goose
- African Cuckoo Hawk
- Collared Pratincole
Bird Safari at Bonamanzi Game Park
Bonamanzi Game Park is one of the top birding spots in South Africa. Enjoy birding cruises down the Hluhluwe River and guided walks through three different eco-systems. If you’re a casual birder, all you need is walking shoes and a dollop of enthusiasm while serious birders can look forward to unusual sightings.
There are few places where you can find 29 birds on the red data list and Bonamanzi has over 349 recorded bird species. The endangered sand forest area is home to very special birds like the Pink-throated Twinspot, Lemon-breasted Canary and Rudd’s Apalis.
Guides take you out on boat cruises down the Hluhluwe River while you drink in the scenery and idly watch the world go by. Its a wonderfully relaxed way of identifying birds like the African Fish Eagle, African Jacana, Spur-winged Goose, Grey Herons, Collared Sunbird and the vivid Malachite Kingfisher and there's also a good chance of spotting Hippopotamus and Nile Crocodile. More energetic but equally rewarding, is a guided walk out onto the St Lucia Floodplains where you can see different birding habitats, rare birds like the Rosy-throated Longclaw and a whole host of waterbirds like Greater Flamingo, African Spoonbill and Great White Pelican.
Our Famous Bush Braai at Bonamanzi Game Park
Boat Cruises at Bonamanzi Game Park
Bonamanzi Game Park is one of the top birding spots in South Africa. One the unique qualities of Bonamanzi Game Park is the fact that we have such a water front, hence the name Bonamanzi which means, ‘see the water’.
One of our most popular activities is our boat cruise where you enjoy a leisurely trip down the Hluhluwe River spotting jacana, kingfisher, crocodiles, spurwing geese and a whole host of river birds and animals. The boat trip activity also includes two short games drives to and from the river Hluhluwe.
Snack and refreshment breaks are part of all the activities at Bonamanzi and during the boat cruise one will have the opportunity to sit and reflect on the banks of the river Hluhluwe, sipping a glass of sherry, whilst watching the sun set over Lake St. Lucia.
Do make a point of booking for the Bonamanzi Bush Braai (BBQ) during your stay. Guests meet at the Lalapanzi camp to be escorted down to the water’s edge of Dinizulu Lake where you are met by a candle-lit path leading to an array of local foods and smell of meat on the braai. Served by candlelight, you sample local delicacies and venison dishes, savour South African wines and linger with other guests around the campfire.
Due to the organization required, there is a minimum number of guests required to lay on the Bush Braai. Please enquire when making your reservation or at reception when checking in.
Horse Trails at Bonamanzi Game Park
Another great way to experience the bush and see the wildlife is on horseback, and it is available to all levels of riders. Our professional guide will take you around our park and you will be able to enjoy a slow walk around the park or maybe a brisk canter for the more able.
Conference and Event Facilities at Bonamanzi Game Park
The biggest headache for conference organisers is finding a place where people aren't going to head off on their own in small groups. It’s really important to forge a group spirit with no outside influence. That’s what makes Bonamanzi so ideal - top class facilities and loads for delegates to do in their leisure time.
At Bonamanzi we understand that there is nothing worse than sitting around all day in conference, eating and drinking and feeling sluggish after getting no exercise for two or three days. So to keep your group bright eyed and responsive during the day, we lay on plenty of energetic and enjoyable activities.
DirectionsBonamanzi Game Park is an easy three hour drive from Durban and an hour from the Golela border with Swaziland. (Transfers can be arranged from the Richards Bay Airport.)
Go past Ogies, Bethal, Ermelo, Piet Retief, Pongola, Mkuze. Take the off-ramp from the N2 to Hluhluwe village. Drive to the end of town and at the junction turn to the right. You are now on a dirt road. Bonamanzi is the first turn to the left - approx 6km from the village.
Take the N2 North, go past Stanger, Empangeni, Richards Bay and Mtubatuba. Go past Charters Creek and Fanies Island turn off, over the Nyalazi River, through a tribal area and over the Hluhluwe River. After approx 4.5km take the Bushlands and Bonamanzi off ramp, turn right over the N2. After 2.5km you reach a T-junction, here turn left, Bonamanzi is the 2nd turn right.