Hluhluwe Game Reserve - Unforgettable Memories
Hluhluwe Game Reserve - Unforgettable Memories



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Hluhluwe Game Reserve - Unforgettable Memories

2019-03-04

Our driver braked sharply as a huge black mamba glided slowly across the road in front of us. A little later we were treated to a protective rhino mother and her calf wallowing in a mud bath. Further along scores of elephants paraded in the valley below, and high on a windy hill a few giraffes nibbled on leaves from the top branch of a tree.

We watched a lone lappet-faced vulture soar above us and a male pintail whydah danced in the air for the opportunity to mate with the female of his choice...

Travelling to the game reserves of KwaZulu-Natal provides many opportunities for gathering unforgettable memories. Whether your pocket runs to a visit to a public game reserve for a day's outing, an overnight stay or longer at a camp site, or a nearby B and B, or to a luxury safari experience in a private reserve, you will be spoilt for choice.

From Durban you are no more than three hours away from Africa's iconic Big Five -- lion, leopard, rhino (both black and white), buffalo and elephant. However, one should not forget the huge variety of animal species including cheetah, zebra, giraffe, hyena, jackal, blue wildebeest, wild dogs, impala, waterbuck, common and mountain reedbuck, kudu, bushbuck, steenbuck, duiker, nyala antelope, hippo, warthog, mongoose, as well as the numerous reptile and invertebrate species. KwaZulu-Natal is also home to prolific birdlife; about 470 bird species and another 200, which are seen less often.

We recently visited Africa's oldest game reserve, the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Park, which opened in 1895 and is the largest in KwaZulu-Natal - 96000 hectares in extent. Hluhluwe iMfolozi Game Reserve is a three hour drive from Durban and is home to the Big 5 as well as abundant antelope and bird species.

A relaxed afternoon of selfdriving was followed by a swim at Hilltop Camp where we stayed in a four bed chalet to accommodate our guests. Hilltop Camp is the oldest tourist resort in KwaZulu-Natal and provides a wide variety of accommodation.

The regular Friday night South African braai at the Hilltop Camp restaurant ensured we were all well fed. The restaurant offers panoramic views over the game reserve and of the rolling hills of Zululand where the lights of distant towns twinkle in the night.

We elected to start the next day with a 5 am morning drive on an open air safari vehicle with a guide. A guided walk, which allows one to get closer to the bush experience, is also available. The very popular iMfolozi Wilderness Trails are ideal for those who want more of this experience, along with the thrill of camping out in the wilderness. There are five overnight trails available, ranging from between 2 night/3 day trails to 4 night/5 day trails. However, these trails need to be prebooked well in advance.

The 4.30 am buzzing of the alarm clock saw us gulping tea and joining the rest of the guests on our dawn drive. Our guide spent much time searching for some elusive lionesses and their seven-monthold cubs. He did point out the dried remains of a recent lion kill as well as the paw prints (embedded in dried mud) of one of the cubs alongside the road but the pride was not to be found. This was despite much discussion with other vehicles' guides who were also in search of "ibhubesi" (the Zulu word for lion).

The very enjoyable and informative three-hour drive included a close up encounter with some nyala and a traditional tale about the blue headed lizards sunning themselves on a log at the tea break, not to mention
the enjoyable antics of a large baboon troop.

We were then more than ready to enjoy the buffet breakfast back at Hilltop. Fortified with a few cups of coffee we then returned to Durban for our next KwaZulu-Natal experience. 

www.hluhluwegamereserve.com




Hluhluwe Game Reserve - Unforgettable Memories

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