Hluhluwe National Park, or Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, is the oldest nature reserve in all of Africa. It encompasses some 96,000 hectares of land and is known as the birthplace of rhino conservation. Whilst it is a fantastic place to see Rhino, it is also a top destination for viewing the Big Five, along with many other species such as the Nile crocodile, the mongoose, the warthog, the giraffe, the zebra and the cheetah.
The best lodging in the park is the excellent privately owned Rhino Ridge Lodge with stunning views and superb wildlife guides. For those on a budget there is the option to stay outside the park and come in for game drives. There are also several excellent private game reserves in the area surrounding the National Park. Hluhluwe has its advantages and disadvantages when compared to the nearby private reserves of Phinda, Thanda and Manyoni. The big advantage is the size of the park, which is 4 or 5x larger in area, therefore offering a more authentic wilderness experience and wildlife habitat. The drawbacks are the paved roads and potentially high visitor numbers with self drivers and lodge vehicles competing for the best sightings. The best time for wildlife viewing is the winter period between May and September, as this is the driest time of the year with particularly excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Vegetation usually thins out and the wildlife tends to congregate around the water holes.
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is also renowned as offering some of the finest walking safari opportunities in all of Africa. The multi-day adventure trails are legendary and day walking experiences are readily available and highly recommended for the less hardy types.