The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve in the KwaZulu-Natal province is a safe haven for endangered black and white rhino, along with the rest of the Big Five, namely lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo.

Did you know?

Established in 1895, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is the oldest game reserve on the African continent and one of South Africa's largest.

Among South Africa's largest game reserves, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is one of the best places in the country in which to see the endangered rhino. The reserve has both black and white rhino, along with other members of the Big Five, namely lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo.

It falls under the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, a provincial conservation body, and is divided into two distinct areas. The northern Hluhluwe region of the reserve is forested and mountainous, markedly different to the undulating open savannah common to the southern Imfolozi region. This varied habitat attracts over 340 bird species, including the endangered bateleur eagle and ground hornbill.

Aside from black and white rhino, elephant, too, are plentiful here and many visitors to the park rate a close encounter with the world's largest land animal, on a reserve road or at a waterhole at twilight, as a highlight of their visit.

Photographers are spoilt for choice as the reserve also has cheetah, hippo, hyena, jackal, giraffe and wild dog. Nor should one discount the scaly and shelled denizens of the reserve, such as crocodile, tortoise, terrapin, snake and lizard, which also abound.

Well-disguised viewing hides overlook pans and waterholes where the birds and animals gather to drink, so you'll be able to see plenty game at an unusually close range.

You can experience the diversity of flora and fauna in this majestic reserve via 4x4 game drives or guided walks. Whatever your choice, this particular South African wildlife experience is guaranteed to be a memorable one.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Central Reservations
Tel: +27 (0) 33 845 1000

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve
Tel: +27 (0) 35 562 0848
Fax: +27 (0) 35 562 0113

How to get here

From Durban take the N2 north for 220km. Pass the Mtubatuba off-ramp. Take the next off-ramp, the R618 west, for 25km to the reserve gate.

Best time to visit

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi has hot, humid and rainy summers between September and April. From May to August conditions are dry and warm during the day, cooler at night. During winter the vegetation is sparser and watering holes busier, so game spotting is easier.

Tours to do

Evening game drives offer an exciting alternative to day drives, since many predators hunt under cover of darkness.

Get around

Options include self-drive, guided 4x4 tours or walking, both guided and self-guided.

What to pack

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is a low-risk malaria area, but consult your doctor before travelling. Ticks are prevalent so insect repellent should be used when walking in the reserve. In summer, sunblock is a must.

Where to stay

Accommodation options range from self-catering rondavels (round thatched huts) and chalets to fully-catered luxury lodges.