Guide to visiting Hluhluwe – Imfolozi Game Reserve

Despite the fact Kruger National Park is one of the most known reserves of Africa, it’s also worth visiting Hluhluwe – Imfolozi Game Reserve, the oldest reserve of Africa. Its rolling hills and open Savannah grasslands are an incredibly scenic reserve and a perfect place for a wonderful safari. It was established as a protected area in April 1895, and 1989 became known as Hluhluwe – Imfolozi Park, covering 96000 hectares and containing an immense diversity of fauna and flora.  The park is known to be the stronghold of the white and black rhino. In the past, they were hunted to the brink of extinction, but thanks to a few conservationists, they survived so far.

Hluhluwe - Imfolozi Game reserve, two big rhinos
Hluhluwe – Imfolozi Game reserve, two big rhinos

Around 1500 white rhinos and 360 black rhinos live in the Game Reserve,  and they are the largest population in the world. The Reserve hosts buffalos, elephants, lions and leopards, blue wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, waterbuck, nyala, kudu, bushbuck, warthogs, cheetahs, hyenas, thousands of impala and 300 species of birds.  Inside the Reserve, there is a 30000-hectare wilderness area, one of the few remaining places on earth where you can enjoy a unique wilderness experience. Access is permitted only on foot or horseback. You’ll likely enjoy the wildlife watching more in the dry season (May to September) when the sky is cloud-free, and the animals make a beeline for water sources.

Hluhluwe - Imfolozi Game reserve, Zebras
Hluhluwe – Imfolozi Game reserve, Zebras

Throughout the Game Reserve, there is a tarred road, but the most are gravel. You can have a self-drive, but the best way to enjoy the park is to arrange a game drive with an open drive vehicle through a local operator. There are 3 gates to get in the park, Memorial gate is only 20 km from Hluhluwe Town, Nyalazi gate is 70 km from St Lucia and Cengeni gate, on the west edge. If you like enjoying the park spending more days inside, different accommodations (Lodges and Camps) can arrange your game drives and guided walks. One of the most amazing experiences that you can have in the park, combining a wilderness experience with backpacking and sleeping out under the stars, is the wilderness trails. Starting from Mpila Lodge, there are different choices of trails with different lengths and night out days.

Hluhluwe - Imfolozi Game reserve, Buffalos
Hluhluwe – Imfolozi Game reserve, Buffalos

Need to Know

Map and accommodation inside the park: click here.

Wilderness trails information: click here.

Where to sleep outside: if you like spending just a day inside the park, the best option is to sleep at Hluhluwe town ( 20 km from the gate ) or St Lucia ( 100 km ). We slept at Hluhluwe Guest House ( 5 Higgs street,, +27 35 562 0838 ). They can also arrange daily game drives.

Daily game drives with local agency:

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