Located in the centre of Zululand, on the east coast of South Africa, lies the small town of Hluhluwe.
Mfolozi Reserve on the Hluhluwe riverbanks. The town was named after the thorny climbers which are plants that were discovered growing in abundance along the river. This was the home of Zulu kings Dingiswayo and Shaka, who supposedly prompted the first laws of conservation as well as the oldest game park in South Africa, the Hluhluwe and Umfolozi Game Reserve (founded in 1895) – only a four hour drive from Johannesburg and a two hour drive from Durban.
The whole region surrounding the Park, including the reserve itself and the Greater St Lucia Park, has been proclaimed a World Heritage Site. This allows for plenty of game viewing of the Big Five, more than 350 bird species and a wide array of other animals, such as rhino, giraffe, wildebeest and countless antelope.
The biggest attraction of the region is by far the magnificent Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve. This park is renowned for its white rhino rescue efforts, as well as its protection of the black rhino. The Reserve stretches over 96,000 hectares and in addition to its wildlife, contains a wide variety of other plants and animals. Here, self-guided and guided trail walks through the area are available.
The region produces up to 95% of South Africa’s pineapples, and also farms cattle, timber and sugarcane. The Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park consists of various eco-systems from sub-tropical oceans, coral reefs, golden beaches and dense forests to grassy savannahs, dry plains and reed/papyrus wetlands. The lakes and estuaries found inland offer whale and dolphin spotting, as well as scuba diving and other water sports, and can be reached via Hluhluwe.
When visiting Hluhluwe, there is a wide range of activities on offer in which to partake. The Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation Centre provides informative tours twice a day, as well as educational talks by an experienced guide and feeding during the afternoon. It is here that wounded or orphaned wild cheetah, serval, African wildcats and lynx are nursed back to health in order to be re-released into their natural environments. The Centre also houses the Cheetah Calabash tea garden, where you can unwind and enjoy an ice cold drink after a long, hot day of exploring. Hluhluwe’s Primitive Trail offers fantastic wilderness hikes during which you spend several evenings sleeping beneath a blanket of stars in the territory of the Big Five.
You could also choose to pay a visit to the Zulu Croc Reptile Park, where you can view crocodiles and snakes, as well as enjoy fascinating educational talks on reptiles. Another activity in which to participate is Hluhluwe’s Horse Safaris where you can embark on a ride through the stunning False Bay Nature Reserve. By taking part in one of these unique tours, you will get a chance to experience nature in a completely new manner, perhaps even spotting a zebra, impala, kudu or hippo on the way.
DumaZulu Traditional Village offers a spectacular experience of learning about the traditions and language of the native Zulu people. Here, you can interact with one of the world’s most indigenous cultures, sample traditional Zulu beer and spend time enjoying the cultural drumbeat music of the village. With so many wonderful activities available in such beautiful surroundings, Hluhluwe is a must-see for anyone visiting the area.
Book a tour to South Africa for a look at this great town.