Established in 1895 when the first conservation laws were put into practice, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is the oldest game park in Africa. Located in Zululand in the north of the province, the park was once the hunting ground of Zulu kings including Shaka and Dingiswayo and also has the remains of many Stone Age settlements.
Today, the Big Five stalk the savannah alongside a huge range of large mammals including cheetah, zebra, giraffe, hyena, jackal, blue wildebeest, impala, waterbuck, common and mountain reedbuck, nyala, kudu, bushbuck, steenbuck, duiker, warthog and more than 300 species of birds. The park is known for its rolling hills and regular close encounters with elephants.
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is an amalgamation of two parks comprising 96,000 hectares. Hluhluwe, in the north is cooler, more rugged and mountainous with forests and grasslands, while Imfolozi in the south is dryer and more undulating with open savannah.
As the home of Operation Rhino in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the park became world famous for bringing the white rhino back from the edge of extinction. Numbering less than 20 animals in 1900, there are now more than 1,600 white rhino in the park (10,000 worldwide) and more than 350 black rhino.
Safari camps and lodges within the park range from luxurious wooden chalets built on stilts with private plunge pools to tent lodges in the heart of the bush.
The rainy season (September to April) is hot and humid while the temperatures during the dry season of the winter months (May to August) are pleasant with warm days and cool nights.
The three entrances to the park are Memorial Gate in the north-east which is reached from the town of Hluhluwe, Nyalazi Gate in the south-east on the road from Mtubatuba, and the Cengeni Gate in the south-west leads to and from Ulundi.
Find out more about nature and wildlife in KwaZulu-Natal