Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park, formerly Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Park, is a park covering 960 km² of hilly terrain in Zululand, in KwaZulu-Natal province. It is known for its rich wildlife and conservation efforts. The park is the only state-run park in KwaZulu-Natal where each of the big five game animals can be found.
Due to conservation efforts, the park in 2008 had the largest population of white rhinoceros in the world.
It is about 250 km north of Durban. Gateways to the park are the towns of Hluhluwe (pronounced Shloo Shloowee) and Mtubatuba, all of them easily accessible from the N2, which runs all along the east coast of South Africa. It connects the park with nearby Durban, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Eswatini (Swaziland).
Follow the N2 north from Durban and turn west at Mtubatuba. About 30 km west you will come to the entry gate to the park.
The next larger airport is in Durban.
The next larger railway station is in Durban.
Public buses run from Durban along the N2 but services are limited so the best option is your own transport. Alternatively take the Baz Bus which runs from Durban to Eswatini via Hluhluwe and St. Lucia.
For flexibility, the best option is your own car which can be rented at St Lucia or Durban or Ballito. Avis have online deals- some from R300 per day. Alternatively, First Car rental rents out cars on a countrywide basis.
Umhlanga Explorer (tour-operating company that has countrywide representation and based in Umhlanga Rocks, ☏ ) rents out cars on behalf of National Alamo/First Car Rental which has coverage throughout the country and offers great deals.
Another option offered is that of a driver/guide and vehicle. It is a more expensive one but gives you the convenience of being driven there by someone who knows the region and is a pretty safe and recommended. Companies like Umhlanga Explorer will pick you up at your place of lodging (Durban and surrounding areas) and drop you off on return.
This is the oldest protected wilderness area in Africa, second oldest in the world. The park was formed by combining the two parks of Hluhluwe and Umfolozi in 1989 into one park of nearly 100,000 hectares. The national park has a great diversity of animals and is optimal for game-viewing. It's much less crowded than the Kruger National Park and has the biggest population and highest density of rhinos of all South African parks.
Game viewing is the thing to come for. It's worth considering a guided tour at least for one day as the rangers know where to go. There is also a trail system where several-day-hikes are available with a ranger (book ahead as they are popular)
Eat & drink
Hilltop Campsite offers some food and drinks within the park. The town of St. Lucia is a popular tourist destination and offers the broadest range of food and some pubs in the area.
- There are several camps in the park but you should book ahead at KZN Wildlife. Alternatives are the nearby towns (esp. Hluhluwe and St. Lucia) which offer various types of accommodation (from luxury lodges to budget bed & breakfasts).
- KZN Wildlife, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, ☏ , email@example.com.
- Hilltop Resort, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Situated within Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. Gate time: Nov-Feb 05:00-19:00; and Mar-Oct 06:00-18:00. Gate times are strictly enforced. Conservation Levy to be paid on arrival at the gate. International Visitors pay a conservation levy of R210 per person per night (1 Nov 2016 - 31 Oct 2017). South African Visitors are discounted by 50%. Children aged 3 to 12 yrs pay half the adult rate. Bookings made on the RACKBB rate, include a complimentary breakfast. A curio shop is available which sells basic food supplies. Unleaded petrol, diesel and oil are available at the camp. Game drives and walks are booked on arrival on first come, first served basis. Hluhluwe is a low risk malaria area, however visitors are urged to consult their doctors. A restaurant and bar facility is available at Hilltop. If you are going to be late arriving at Hluhluwe iMfolozi Game Reserve, a Late Entry will be charged of R500 per vehicle. Late entries will only be collected from gate from 19:00 until 22:00. All late arrivals must contact Hilltop Resort on +27 35 5620848 until 19:00 and +27 82 722 6885 after 19:00 to make arrangements to be escorted to Hilltop as no-one may drive without an escort after gate closing times.
- Mpila Resort, ☏ , email@example.com. Situated within Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Gate Time: Nov-Feb 05:00-19:00 and Mar-Oct 06:00-18:00. Gate times are strictly enforced. Conservation Levy to be paid on arrival at the gate. International Visitors pay a conservation levy of R175. per person per night (1 Nov 2015 – 31 Oct 2016) or R210pppn (1 Nov 2016 - 31 Oct 2017). South African visitors are discounted by 50%. Children aged 3 to 12 yrs pay half the adult rate. Please bring your own drinking water. Pets are not permitted in the reserve. Mpila is not fenced. Guests are advised to stay within the parameters of their units after sunset. Unleaded petrol is available at Mpila. Mpila Camp has generator power from 07:00-22:00 daily. Masinda Lodge and the Bush lodges have power from 06:00-10:00 and 17:00-22:00. Basic food supplies are available at the curio shop. Wood is not supplied, it can be purchased in the curio shop or guests can bring their own. Imfolozi is a low risk malaria area, however visitors are urged to consult their doctors. If you are going to be late arriving at Hluhluwe iMfolozi Game Reserve, a Late Entry will be charged of R500 per vehicle. Arrangement must be made with the resort before 16:30 Tel: +27 35 5508477/ +27 79 7647129, as no-one may drive without an escort after gate closing times.
- Umfolozi Big Five Game Reserve (northern tip of the park), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Comprising two lodges: Mthembu Lodge opened in October 2018, and Biyela Lodge will open in February 2019. Both lodges are on tribal land owned by the Mthembu and Biyela clans of the Zulu Kingdom. Enquire with reservations directly for South African Residents' special offers. Accommodation rates exclude a compulsory community and conservation fee of R 460.00 per person per stay. Accommodation rates start from R 11,500.00 per person per night..
- iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a World Heritage Site and really worth a visit. Around 60 km south.
- Durban in the south
- Eswatini in the north