Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in South Africa is a vast expanse of true African wildlife and scenery. Giving Kruger National Park a run for its money, this park offers its own elephant, giraffe and hippo population with the added bonus of black and white rhino alongside lion and cheetah. As the oldest game reserve in South Africa, declared one by the Zulus in 1895, there is an air of history about Hluhluwee-iMfolozi, making it a simply wonderful place to be. Nearby is the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal, providing stunning beaches to relax on, as well as the iSimangaliso Wetland Park where your favourite aquatic animals, such as flamingos, hippos, crocodiles and pelicans, reside in the iconic Lake St. Lucia.

  • Best Time To Go


  • Average Safari Cost

    $150-$700 pp/day. Park fee: $20 for adults; $10 for children under 12

  • Highlights

    Preservation of the white rhino in South Africa, a huge variety of landscapes, Big Five, some of the most beautiful beaches in all of South Africa

Why Visit Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park?

Spanning a simply huge 960 square kilometres, the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in South Africa originally began as two separate parks before merging together, forming a gorgeous natural area of South Africa which has played a crucial role in the conservation of the white rhino. Environmentalists and rhino-lovers will at once feel at home here, seeing as the park launched ‘Operation Rhino’ in the 1950s and ‘60s, playing the most major role in the saving of the white rhino from the brink of extinction.

This park is a genuinely brilliant place to spend your time in South Africa, and by paying your entry free, you’re contributing to long-term conservation which has proven effects – something that can’t be said for every place on the African continent. The rolling hills, sweeping valleys and extensive dry plains make the park versatile and tough competition for other parks in South Africa.

Pros And Cons

  • Very reasonably priced
  • Brilliant location
  • Fantastic wildlife viewing
  • Birding is brilliant in the Wet Season
  • Close association with the white rhinos, unlike many other parks
  • Very busy in the high season
  • Accommodation inside of the park is not fantastic
  • Some of the Big Five are hard to spot at times

Best Time To Go

We recommend visiting the park in the months of May through to September. This time is best for wildlife viewing as the vegetation is thinning, meaning animals can be spotted easier through the grass, especially predators. Animals also congregate at water holes, so you can head to a specific location and know someone will be there to greet you. As well as this, the park is generally very quiet at this time, except from in the school holidays, and is a great time for a romantic getaway in particular. While it’s warm during the day, mornings are chilly, so pack something warm.

It is possible to have a great time in the months of October through to March, though. This time of year is best for birding in particular, and so you can spend a lot of your time doing that during these months. You could also go hiking as iMfolozi has many great trails to follow, allowing you to make the most of South Africa’s scenery and wildlife too.

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Wildlife And Birds

This park is simply unrivalled for rhino-spotting, and it’s definitely the most appropriate place to do it. After all, the hard work of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park saved the white rhino from extinction, so you sort of owe it to them to visit. It can be somewhat hit and miss to spot some of the big cats, so don’t expect to see them all. You will see the migrating elephants, giraffes, zebras and hippos, though, so there is still a lot of guaranteed sightings.
List Of Animals
  • Lion
  • Elephant
  • Cheetah
  • Leopard
  • Hippo
  • Hyena
  • Giraffe
  • Black Rhino
  • White Rhino

Rare Animals

  • Black rhino
  • Leopard
  • Wild dog

Frequently Seen Animals

  • Elephant
  • Giraffe
  • Hippo
  • Buffalo
  • Zebra
  • Wildebeest
  • White rhino
  • Lion
  • Cheetah
  • Hyena


Birding is best in the Wet Season when the migratory birds are present alongside the other 340 species recorded at the park. Although there are not as many species at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, the facilities for birding here are impressive. Atop the Hilltop Camp is a fantastic viewpoint for spying on the majestic birds of prey, and there are several other birding shelters too.

Endangered Birds

  • Pacific golden plover
  • Ruppell’s vulture
  • Wilson’s phalarope
  • Western marsh-hamier
  • Green sandpiper

Endemic Birds

  • Black-bellied bustard
  • Burchell’s coucal
  • Crested guineafowl
  • Saddle-billed stork
  • Spotted eagle owl

Hiking and wildlife driving are two great activities to participate in while in iMfolozi. On the hiking side of things, there are 240 square kilometres set aside for you. Dedicated just to hiking tracks with no roads at all, these guided two-to-five-day hikes are really brilliant and provide an excellent opportunity to spot wildlife. Wildlife drives do just the same, and the best are evening drives on the Hilltop Camp and mornings spent at Mpila Camp.

Getting There And Safety

Seeing as Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is 250km away from Durban, we recommend flying into King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in Durban and driving along the tarmac roads to the park.

If you are based in the UK and Europe, check out these flights to South Africa

If you are based in the USA and Canada, check out these flights to South Africa

For more details see our South African Safari - Complete Travel Guide.

For details about visas see our South African Safari - Complete Travel Guide.

Please note that malaria risk is high around the year in all areas below 1,800m. To protect yourself you should avoid mosquito bites by wearing long sleeve tops and long trousers especially in the evenings, using insect repellents and, when required, sleeping under a mosquito net.

For more details about vaccinations, see South African Safari - Complete Travel Guide.

Drinking Water

According to AfricaCheck, "South Africa is relatively poorly endowed with water resources and is considered a “water-stressed” country.

"However, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa’s drinking water supplies are of international standard and in compliance with World Health Organisation requirements".

Travel Insurance

Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in South Africa. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.

Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of the safari trip cover.

What To Pack

You should pack clothes suitable for both hot and cold weather as days can be very hot followed by very cold nights. Your clothes should be in neutral tones, not bright colours. Other items to pack include: insect repellent, camera, torch, binoculars, sunglasses and sun block.

For more details on what to pack see our Safari Packing List.