Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is South Africa’s oldest wildlife reserve and the jewel in KwaZulu Natal’s crown. It’s a vast reserve, covering 95,000 hectares, and is world-famous for its work in conserving the white rhino, which now number over 2000 in this park. It is the best place on earth to see rhino, both black and white.
The reserve is steeped in history. Once the private hunting ground Shaka, the famous Zulu king, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park was established in 1895, primarily to protect the white rhino, which even then was threatened with extinction.
However, there are another 82 mammal species in the park, including all the Big Five. In the first five minutes of a drive through the park recently, I saw warthog, baboon, nyala, white rhino, a herd of buffalo, zebra, as well as several elephant on the road. There are around seventy lions in the reserve, but they are hard to spot. Birds are prolific and over 400 species have beenrecorded in the park.
Much of the bush surrounding the reserve is also given over to game: there are several well-known private reserves in the area, including Mkuze Falls, Thanda, Leopard Mountain, and CC Africa’s renowned Phinda Reserve, to name but a few. The provincial conservation authority has been expanding the giant Mkuze Reserve to the north so that, eventually, all these reserves will link together and east to the St Lucia Wetlands Park on the coast - so that animals will once more be free to roam through Zululand, unimpeded by fences.
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