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IINTRODUCTION AND HISTORY MPILA RESORT Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park lies in the heart of the Zulu Kingdom, where ancient trails lead through the thornveld and along the mighty rivers of Africa’s oldest established wilderness area. Once the exclusive royal hunting ground of King Shaka, (where the first conservation laws were put in place), this rich tapestry of natural and cultural history still beats with the rhythms of Africa. Hluhluwe and iMfolozi Game Reserves were formally established as game reserves in 1895 and today, along with the Corridor Reserve proclaimed in 1989, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park covers some 96 000 ha and contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora. The iMfolozi section in the south is characterised by wide open spaces and is a natural treasure store of fascinating fauna and flora. Species include the “Big Five”- • lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino (black and white), • As well as blue wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, impala, waterbuck, reedbuck, nyala, kudu, bushbuck, steenbuck, duiker, warthog, cheetah, wild dog, hyena and many others. Over 300 bird species have been recorded here. Other areas of focus for which Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is famed, include wilderness trails which originated in iMfolozi in the 1950s and today continue to attract tourists from all over the world. In this area the first true wilderness trails in the country were initiated. Renowned for its rich and diverse wildlife, the park teems with a wide variety of fascinating fauna and flora including elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, blue wildebeest, giraffe, cheetah, hyena, and warthog and over 300 bird species. Apart from game-viewing drives, there are self-guided auto trails which provide information on both the management and natural history of the reserve. Guided walks are also available, particularly rewarding in the early morning and late afternoon. During the 1960s a number of species were successfully reintroduced into iMfolozi. These included lion, cheetah and giraffe. Elephant, wild dog and yellow-billed ox pecker were introduced during the 1980s. CLOSE BY: ULUNDI AIRPORT It is 36 kilometers by car on the tarred P700 road to the Cengeni Gate of the Imfolozi section of the park which offers excellent game viewing. The airport has been upgraded, it has been serviced by Fedair airline and visitors can hire a vehicle from the airport and drives to Cengeni gate which is 27km to Mpila resort. This part of Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park is being called, Big Five paradise and due to this the occupancy of this facilities is more 90% year around. Mpila Resort is situated in the iMfolozi section of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and commands magnificent views of the Wilderness area. Mpila also has two self-contained 3-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. The Safari Tents at Mpila consists of thirteen 2-bedded and two 4-bedded units all with kitchen and bathroom en-suite. An optional third bed is available (or children only) in each tent and chalets on request. Each unit has a verandah, the resort is electrified only for elephants and barbecue facilities are available. All units are self-catering with gas stove and fridge and are serviced daily. Mpila resort has got Curioshop which provides basic groceries and unleaded only petrol station. The power is generated from the generator from 7h00 to 22h00. Mpila resort is accesseble from N2 via R168 through Nyalazi gate. Mpila has got no restaurant but Takeway restaurant is available at Centenary Centre, 12km away and operational hours are 08h00-16h00.