Formerly known as the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve now the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. The park is the oldest proclaimed reserve in Africa. 96000 hectares in size (960 square kilometers) that's the same size as Netherlands Antilles while Hong Kong is 1104 square kilometers. Officially opened in 1895 as a Park.
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is the only state run park in Kwazulu Natal that is home to the African Big 5. The park is world renown for its conservation efforts and history. The Umfolozi was previously used as King Shaka's private hunting grounds. The conservation efforts have contributed to this park having the largest population of White Rhino in the world.
Rich in history the area had been subject to severe hunting first by the Zulu’s during the early 1800s and then in the 1840s by the Great White Hunters, who arrived by Ox Wagon from the Cape of Good Hope and Port Natal to plunder the area’s wildlife resources for skins, ivory and of course Rhino Horn. Hundreds of thousands of animals where shot and in a period less than 50 years the Elephant herds had been slaughtered. and numerous other species were destined for extinction. By the late 1890 fewer than 100 White Rhino’s had survived in and around the Umfolozi area, the last remaining on Earth. By 1895 the area fortunately received formal protection as a game sanctuary from the Natal Colonial Government as the Imfolozi Junction Reserve, together with the Hluhluwe Valley Reserve.
From the early 60’s new species where reintroduced to the reserves by the Natal Parks Board and and the KwaZulu Natal Conservation Services. The corridor area between the Imfolozi and the Hluhluwe was finally incorporated in 1989 and has contributed in creating a fully functional ecosystem in allowing a natural movement of game between the two areas. The reserve hosts over 1200 plant species, 84 mammal and 350 bird species not to mention the reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects.
The north of the park is more rugged and mountainous with forests and grasslands and is known as the Hluhluwe area, while the Umfolozi area is found to the south near the Black and White Umfolozi rivers where there is open savannah.
The big 5 roam freely today as well as Cheetah and Wild Dogs to mention but just a few of the larger species found within the reserve.
It is also hear that save the rhino campaign was started with only 100 Rhinos left in the world, the game capture team still in operation today operate and deliver animal species world wide
Imfolozi Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal is adjacent to the Hluhluwe Game Reserve and together they form one of South Africa's oldest and largest Big Five reserve.
Accommodation: Self-catering chalets and cottages, tented camp, safari lodge
Activities: Walking trails, game drives, guided walks. It is home to Africa's Big Five and also other game including the elusive Cheetah, Wild Dog and Nyala. Prime game viewing takes place at hides overlooking pans and waterholes which enable visitors to see animals at close range.
Accommodation at the Imfolozi Game Reserve, northern KwaZulu-Natal consists of various luxury lodges, self catering accommodation and tented camps. Some camps have their own cook to prepare meals for guests. Activities include game drives, self-guided walking trails, day walks, boat tours on the Hluhluwe Dam and exciting all inclusive wilderness trails.
Imfolozi Game Reserve is situated in the southern section of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park. This KwaZulu-Natal park is the oldest game reserve in South Africa. It was established in 1895. Today, the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park is world renowned for its White Rhino conservation and its Centenary Capture Centre is setting exceptional standards for animal capture and sustainable utilization in Africa.
General Note: Imfolozi is in a low risk malaria area so it is advisable to consult your doctor before travelling. Curios, cool drinks, camera film and petrol at the Mpila Camp Shop in Imfolozi, but there are no restaurant facilities. The nearest town with a full range of services is Mtubatuba, about 45 minutes away.