About the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi
A reserve where Zulu Kings once Hunted and Game Capture was established when less than 100 White Rhino were left in the world. Be memorized by its rolling Hills, Pans, Hides, Loop Roads, and Rivers. The open Savannah grasslands and thick bush a true Reserve in Africa. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi is the oldest proclaimed reserve in Africa size 96000 hectares offers the wildlife enough space to roam freely from the Northern to the Southern reaches in the lower Umfolozi.
With numerous Accommodation's scattered in and around Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, due to popularity, it is vital that one books accommodation well in advance. The two main accommodation centres are namely the Hilltop Camp and Mpila Camp both offer self-catering and non catered for accommodation. The northern section Hluhluwe is far busier and this may cause frustration at various game sightings, smaller in size and easier access contributes to this side being busier. Therefore we would advise that you travel to the Umfolozi side not only is it larger in size but also less bush and open Savannah grasslands making for some amazing sightings. The Umfolozi Game Reserve offers some interesting history as one may still see hunting pitfalls dug out by the Zulu's used for hunting. Other interesting areas is the Centenary Centre, developed to showcase the various techniques used by the Game Capture team to translocate animal species. Also situated at the Centenary Centre is the Holding Boma's used for medical purposes and translocation of animals.
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi can be described as magical, the staff are passionate about conservation and the reserve is truly worth a safari. Just to think that only 100 Rhinos were once left in the world and it is the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi's efforts to safeguard these amazing creatures from extinction. In 1895 with only 20 surviving Southern White Rhino's left in the world, this invoked the proclamation of the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve's. By the 1960s the populations had recovered to such an extent that the Umfolozi faced overpopulation of White Rhino. Operation Rhino was created and this was the start of translocation and Game Capture. In the early days, rangers would dart animals by foot or horseback today Helicopters are used.
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve not only has the Big 5 but also offers sightings of Cheetah, Wild Dogs and much much more.
Tips for Game Viewing Hluhluwe-Umfolozi
With a lot of excitement and expectations, one enters the reserve, however with prior research one may be able to enjoy so much more. It is imperative that one tries to research before entering the reserve.
Key Points to take into consideration:
Duration of visit
Hluhluwe versus Umfolozi
Seasons play an important part in good sightings, dry season versus wet season. During the dry season (May to end June) less grass offers better sightings, in the wet season (August to end February) the grass is a lot higher making sightings a lot harder.
Duration and Time of arrival at the gates are also important as predators are very active early and late afternoon, try to enter the gate as early as possible, and when possible try to leave when the gates close. The more time spent in the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi the better your chances are of great sightings.
Hluhluwe versus Umfolozi the northern Hluhluwe remains busier and also offers a lot more dense bush, the lower Umfolozi offers open grass Savannah and a far better chance of sightings.
Take your time while in the reserve, it is not a race keep to the speed limitations (40 km/h). Ask other vehicles especially the tour operators as to what it is that they have seen and where it is that they have encountered the sighting. Make sure that you have purchased a map of the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve. The map indicates all pans, Loop roads, and hides. Please do not make use of the management roads.
The Big 5 are present within the reserve take your time and explore and enjoy this reserve.
Did you know that the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a mere 45 minutes away from South Africa's very first world heritage site.
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Access Gates
- Hluhluwe Access Gate: Memorial Gate
- Umfolozi Access Gates: Nyalazi and Cengeni Gates