|Location: South Africa » Kwazulu Natal » Zululand » Elephant Coast » Hluhluwe|
Hluhluwe is situated in the North Eastern region (Zululand) of the Kwa-Zulu-Natal province. KwaZulu-Natal is one of the nine provinces or local regions that make up South Africa.
Only a two hour drive from Durban and four hours from Johannesburg the entire area around the Hluhluwe Reserve, right down to the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, now a World Heritage Site, has been given over to animal conservation and game farms.
Hluhluwe is central to many of the regions splendid Game Reserves and so is a hub for game and wildlife viewing.
Hluhluwe is considered to be the hub of tourism in KwaZulu-Natal. This charming town on the banks of the Hluhluwe River has tourism as its principal industry, as it acts as a perfect base for visitors to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve and St Lucia Wetlands area.
The town's name comes from the Zulu word (umHluhluwe) for the thorny rope climber (Dalbergia Armata) which is found among the forest vegetation types in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve.
Mtubatuba: 54km South
Mkuze: 55km North
Municipality: The Big Five False Bay Local Municipality
District Municipality: Umkhanyakude District Municipality
Hluhluwe/Imfolozi Game Reserve
Formely separate, the combined size of the two reserve is now over 96 000ha, and it was here that the white rhino was saved from extinction by the Kwazulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service.
The Hluhluwe - Imfolozi Game Park is acclaimed internationally for its conservation efforts. Besides the Big Five (Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant, and Buffalo), there is an astonishing variety of wildlife to ensure an unforgettable african encounter for the visitor.
The park is also home to the largest population of the southern white rhino.
Bird species also abound here, with more than 350 species to be found, including fish eagle, kingfisher's, heron's, ox-pecker and vulture's to name a few.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park formerly Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park
A very special slice of Africa, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park St offers ecotourists some of the most diverse wildlife and outdoor experiences imaginable.
Besides Lake St Lucia - a unique, 38 000 ha expanse of lake, islands and estuary - the park incorporates an astonishing variety of habitats ranging from the Ubombo mountains to grasslands, forests, wetlands, mangroves and vegetated dunes, with magnificent beaches and coral reefs.
Hluhluwe and the surrounding area is fast becoming a major tourist attraction. It is best known for it’s close proximity to the Hluhluwe / Umfolozi Game Reserve which is only 14 km off the N2. The Hluhluwe / Umfolozi Park was proclaimed in 1895 making it one of the oldest game reserves in South Africa. The park is well known for it’s black and white rhino population. It was here that that white was saved from extinction. A visit to this world renowned park may also bring you into contact with the Big Five – lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino. Another major attraction to this area is the greater St Lucia Wetland Park which was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999. This park boasts the largest natural body of water in South Africa and it’s eco systems range from subtropical seas, coral reefs, lush forests, grassy plains, dry savanna and reed and papyrus wetlands. The Hluhluwe area is steeped in the history of the Zulu people and their culture and there are a number of cultural activity centres awaiting tourists to the area. There is so much to see and do in the Hluhluwe area that visitors should ideally spend at least a few days in the area. To satisfy this need there is a range of accommodation facilities ranging from country chalets and cottages, game farms and lodges, to hotels, bed and breakfasts and rustic bush camps.
How to get there - Durban 290 km, Empangeni 109 km, St Lucia 78 km, Pongola 170km
Banks – Fnb
Bonamanzi Game Park
Bonamanzi Game Park, a Mondi owned reserve close to Hluhluwe in Zululand, was declared a Natural Heritage Site in 1995 to preserve it’s unuasual combination of three adjoining eco systems grassland, woodland and coastal forest. The 4100 ha reserve, near the sensitive St Lucia Wetland, is a birder’s paradise renowned for it’s wealth of over 300 recorded species, including 29 of the 102 Red Data birds in Southern Africa. It is the ideal place to see three of the five East Coastal littoral endemics – Rudd’s Apalis, Pinkthroated Twinspot and Lemonbreasted Canary. The reserve also hosts a number of mammals, including wild dog, white rhino, leopard, spotted hyena, cheetah, elephant, nyala, red duiker, reedbuck, wildebeest, hippo, zebra, impala, giraffe, the rare suni (one of Africa’s smallest antelope), the four toed elephant shrew, various indigenous bats and a diversity of insects.
Walk with the animals, sleep with the birds
The Bonamanzi Game Park is an unspoilt gift from the past, preserved for today, and for generations to come. It is a slice of Zululand wilderness where guests are able to experience the magic of the untamed bush; to walk with the animals, and to sleep in isolated treehouses nestling in the foliage alongside the birds. There are no ‘Keep off the Grass’ signs at Bonamanzi – visitors are free to walk the wilderness trails by day or night in search of their own special experience.
A must for nature lovers and wildlife photographers
Careful stalking of antelope such as nyala, red duiker, reed buck and impala will bring the grace, beauty and gentleness of these animals almost within touching distance. At every turn there is a sight to savour, and an image to capture on film. Patience and care in the deep shadows of the pristine and unique sand forests could well be rewarded with a close up look at the rare and shy suni, a small antelope found in the area. A stroll along any of the game paths will inevitably lead to a friendly encounter with wildebeest or zebra.
Eco tourism at it’s finest
The carefully managed 4200 ha park not only contains a wide variety of antelope, but also, in the conservation area beyond the free ranging wilderness section, there are giraffe, white rhino, elephant and even leopard. Game drives can be arranged to view the white rhino, browsing giraffe and elephant. For bird lovers there are more than 400 species to view, from pelican and flamingo on the shores of Lake St Lucia, to the petite Lemonbreasted Canary that inhabitats the lalapalms. And for lovers of flora, the park combines a fascinating blend of undisturbed grassland, sand forest, palm stands and thorn bush.
Accommodation at Bonamanzi is another unique feature of this wilderness paradise.
Nestling in the foliage of selected forest trees that are part of the unspoilt character of the beautiful coastal sand forests, the Tree Houses offer a unique living experience high above the animals that pass by below. Each Tree House, specially sited in silent isolation, has two double bedrooms that lead off a viewing verandah shared only by the birds. Beneath each Tree House is a kitchenette, shower and toilet facilities, and braai area. The Tree Houses have electric lights, and linen, crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils, and a cooker and refrigerator are provided. Visitors must bring their own provisions.
The Lalapanzi Camp comprises ten thatched twin bed cottages providing excellent accommodation for families or groups of people. It is ideal for delegates using the Bonamanzi conference centre. The camp is set amongst shady trees and giant lalapalms, and has it’s own sparkling swimming pool and braai area. Because visitors to Bonamanzi bring their own provisions there is a refrigerator in each room, and a fully equipped communal kitchen. The dining area overlooks a picturesque dam and serves as an ideal vantage point for viewing of game and birdlife right on your doorstep.
Built into the treetops for absolute privacy, the Tree Lodge enjoys wonderful views of the surrounding Zululand terrain, including a water hole that abounds with game in the early morning and late afternoon. The ‘five star’ luxury and air conditioned comfort of this spacious lodge is the ideal location for pampering your loved ones (or for impressing important business associates). The Tree Lodge, which accommodates six people, has three bedrooms, each with it’s own en suite bathroom and separate balcony. There is a central lounge with sliding doors opening onto a treetop verandah, and a fully equipped kitchen where visitors may either cater for themselves, or enjoy the services of a resident cook. Visitors must bring their own provisions.
The Game Lodge also accommodates up to six people. It has two air conditioned double bedrooms, as well as two single rooms. The lodge overlooks a water hole that teens with game in the early morning and late afternoon.
Set alongside a picturesque stretch of water in the conservation area of Bonamanzi, the Dinizulu Camp is an opportunity to experience Africa at it’s wildest. The isolated camp, with it’s safari atmosphere, is far off the beaten track and can only be reached by 4 x 4 vehicle. Wild animals and birdlife abound, which makes it an ideal site for wildlife photography – but visitors must be aware that there are crocodile in the area, and they could come face to face with white rhino, and even leopard. The self contained four bed facility has a fully equipped kitchen where visitors can either cater for themselves, or enjoy the services of a resident cook. Visitors must bring their own provisions. All styles of accommodation at Bonamanzi Game Park include fully equipped kitchens and braai / barbeque facilities. Cutlery, crockery, linen and towels are provided. Three swimming pools, one for each complex, provided refreshing relief after walks along the wilderness trails – and also the ideal excuse for lazy, sun drenched relaxation in absolute peace and tranquility.
Bonmanzi offers fully equipped air conditioned conference facilities. All meals, including mid morning and afternoon snacks and refreshments, are catered for. And when the work is over there is a braai area and a sparkling pool for relaxation. Be sure to take a drive or walk through the park, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the variety of game and birdlife.
‘Big Game’ reserves on your doorstep
Because visitors to Bonamanzi bring and prepare their own foof (or buy provisions from the nearby village) they are not restricted by set mealtimes. This is a distinct evening game trails, or who wish to take a day trip to some of the most famous ‘big game’ reserves in southern Africa (Mkuze, Umfolozi and Hluhluwe), or the coastal and lake resorts of St Lucia – all of which are within an hour’s drive. Bonamanzi Game Park provides a year round opportunity to experience nature first hand – it is indeed an unspoilt gift from the past, preserved for today, and for generations to come.
Remember that the behaviour of wild animals is unpredictable. Care should be taken. Because of bilharzias and the possibility of crocodiles it is very dangerous to drink or enter any water in pans, dams or water holes. Avoid strongly smelling firewood for your braai (Tamboti). Unaccompanied small children are not allowed at the swimming pools. Small children should not be allowed to walk in the bush unescorted. Water on tap is is filtered and chlorinated, but to be safe it should be boiled before drinking.
How to get there
Sodwana Bay 106 km, Cape Vidal 100 km, Mission Rocks 87 km, Umfolozi Game Reserve 80 km, St Lucia Estuary 72 km, Ghost Mountain Inn 63 km, Mkuze Game Reserve 62 km, Fanies Island 45 km, Charters Creek 37 km, Hluhluwe Game Reserve 22 km, False Bay Game Reserve 18 km, Hluhluwe Inn 10 km,
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 dirt road. Bonamanzi is the first turn to the left – approximately 6 km from the village.
Take the N2 North, go past Stanger, Empangeni, Richards Bay and Mtubatuba. Go past Charter’s Creek and Fanies Island turn off, over the Nyalazi River, through a tribal area and over the Hluhluwe River. After approximately 4,5 km take the bushlands and Bonamanzi offramp, turn right over the N2. After 2,5 km you reach a T junction, here turn left, Bonamanzi is the 2nd turn right.
Umziki Natural Heritage Site
Umziki Pan is an 80 ha island of indigenous Zululand sand forest, open grassland and vleis ensuring a wide variety of both fauna and flora. Comfortable accommodation in the form of rustic huts, as well as a self contained guest house is available. Umziki is the ideal base from which to explore the famous reserves, the marine sanctuary and coral reefs at Sodwana Bay and the beaches of Cape Vidal and Mapelane.
Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve
One of the largest game parks in South Africa, the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park is renowned for it’s wide variety of bird and animal life. Besides the ‘Big Five’, elusive cheetah, wild dogs and many other well known bushveld species inhabit the park, offering visitors a rich game viewing experience. The park covers 96 000 ha, and comprises three reserves: Hluhluwe and Umfolozi – two of Africa’s oldest game reserves, both founded in 1895 – and the linking Corridor Reserve, proclaimed in 1989.
Lodges and Camps
One of the largest developments in the Hluhluwe section of the park. Situated high on the edge of a steep forested slope, it commands breathtaking views of Zululand’s hills and valleys. Hilltop’s rustic thatch design merges tastefully with the natural surroundings, and at it’s high altitude, the camp is cooler than the rest of the reserve, a welcome retreat after a day’s game viewing. Comfort is the keynote of Hilltop’s chalets, with spacious bedrooms and wide verandas, ideal for sundowners. Some units are equipped with kitchenettes, but meals may also be enjoyed at the camp’s Mpunyane Restaurant, which caters for all tastes, while the relaxed atmosphere of the Uzavolo Bar Lounge lends itself to discussion of the day’s experiences. The camp’s self catering chalets are geared for convenience. Seven 2 bed chalets and twenty two 4 bed chalets each have a pull out bed for an extra guest, and for tour groups, there are twenty 2 bed units, each with a bar fridge and tea / coffee making facilities. Hilltop has 20 rondawels which provide attractive value for money accommodation with communal kitchen and ablution facilities.
Situated close to Hilltop Camp, Mtwazi Lodge is known for it’s quiet charm, offering visitors total privacy. The lodge has three bedrooms, each with private bathrooms, accommodating six visitors. An annexe houses three additional guests. A cook is in attendance to prepare food supplied by guests.
Centrally situated in the Umfolozi section of the park, Mpila Camp commands magnificent views of the Wilderness area. Twelve one room thatched rest huts accommodate four people each, and meals are served from a central kitchen with cooks in attendance. Communal ablution blocks are situated close by. Mpila also has two self contained three bedroomed cottages, each accommodating seven people, with a cook on hand to prepare food supplied by guests. For smaller groups, there are also six self catering chalets which accommodate five people each. Each of these has two bedrooms, a bathroom and a lounge / dining room. Petrol is available, and curios, cool drinks and camera film may be purchased from the Mpila Camp Shop, but no provisions or restaurant facilities are provided.
A small camp situated in the east of the park, a short distance from Mambeni Gate. Accommodation comprises six 4 bed units, served by communal ablution facilities and a central kitchen with cooks in attendance.
This secluded lodge sleeps six people in three bedrooms, one of which is en suite. The service of a cook are included in the tariff.
Muntulu Bush Lodge
Hidden in a wilderness setting overlooking the Hluhluwe River, Muntulu Bush Lodge affords guests total privacy while enjoying a superb enjoying a superb wildlife experience. Two 2 bed units and two 3 bed units each have private ablution facilities and secluded game viewing decks, and are linked by wooden walkways to the main lounge / dining area. A cook is in attendance, as well as a game guard, who is available to take guests to guided walks.
Gqoyeni Bush Lodge
Elevated, on a peninsula overlooking the confluence of the Black Mfolozi River and the Gqoyeni stream, this newly opened bush lodge offers excellent game viewing opportunities in an ideal setting. Four 2 bed units, each with individual showers and toilets, are linked by wooden walkways to a central living area. A cook is available to prepare food supplied by guests, and a game guard conducts walks into the surrounding bushveld.
Munyawaneni Bush Lodge
This new bush lodge overlooks the confluence of the Hluhluwe River and the Munyawaneni stream. Set in parklike surroundings, it commands splendid game viewing conditions. An open plan lounge / dining area adjoins four 2 bed sleeping units, each with en suite showers and toilets. A cook and game guard are in attendance.
Rustic but very comfortable accommodation is provided at Sontuli and Nselweni Bush Camps, situated on the Black Mfolozi River. Each has four two bed units, a communal ablution unit, an open plan lounge / dining room and fully equipped kitchen. A cook is in attendance as well as game guard, available to accompany guests on walks. Situated in Umfolozi’s Wilderness Area.
Mndindini Tented Bush Camp
Has ten beds. It is available from December – February, and acts as a base camp for Wilderness Trails from March – November.
In the Hluhluwe Umfolozi park are designed for the convenience of visitors who wish to discover the secrets of the bushveld from the seclusion of their own vehicle.
Self Guided Trails
The Umfolozi section of the park has three self guided foot trail, at Emoyeni Mpila Enkulu and Masinda Ncane.
Short day walks of approximately two hours are conducted from Mpila and Hilltop Camps under the supervision of an experienced game guard.
Open vehicle night drives provide unique opportunities of viewing nocturnal species by spotlight. A knowledge guide is at hand to answer questions.
Available from March – November, Wilderness Trails in Umfolozi offer an unforgettable bush experience. The trail is a three day hike into the heart of the 25 000 ha Wilderness area. The first and last nights are spent in tented camps in the heart of the Wilderness area. Trailists are accompanied by an experienced game ranger through this utterly unspoilt terrain. All food is included in the tariff.
Weekend Wilderness Trails
Weekend Wilderness trails begin at 15:00 on Friday afternoons and end on Sunday afternoons, with two nights spent in the bush, as opposed to four nights. Designed for those unable to find time for the full wilderness trail, these value for money trails cost half the price of the traditional trail, and also run from March to November.
Dumazulu Cultural Village
Zulu dancing, crocodile pool, snake pit, aviary
Emdoneni (16:30 daily). By arrangement only. Cheetah breeding project
Falaza Game Park
Horse trails, boat trips, game drives, guided walks
False Bay Park
Relax or go on one of more of their walking trails, there are 3 to choose from
Zulu Craft Village Traditional Zulu baskets and beadwork. Khaki club clothing for all occasions. Savannah Restaurant
Designers of womens’ leisure wear
Travel to Sodwana Bay which is about one and a half hours away. Swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving.
Travel to St Lucia for the day and go on a boat trip up the Estuary on the ‘Santa Lucia’, plenty birdlife, hippos and crocodiles. There is also a crocodile Park. Stroll along the beach. Cape Vidal is also a beautiful spot for snorkeling.
Boat trips Falaza Game Park, Canoeing, Game Drives Falaza Game Park, Hiking Trail Falaza Bay Park, Nthaba Ye Zulu, Horse Rides Falaza Game Park, Scuba Diving, Snorkelling, Swimming.
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