Over the last couple of weeks we’ve shared with you several exciting sightings we enjoyed at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, during our December holidays in the bush. Time to wrap up that part of our trip now.
We left the cheese farm near Mtubatuba very early in the morning of the 24th of December, and made it to the Memorial Gate just in time for it opening at 05:00AM (it’s a drive of about 75km only). We used Memorial Gate so that we could explore the Hluhluwe-section of the reserve on our way south to Mpila Camp, where we could check in 14:00 in the afternoon.
Mpila is a favourite camp of ours. It is unfenced, except for a single strand of electric wire strung high enough to only keep out elephants and giraffes. Other wildlife, including large predators, regularly roam among the accommodation units. Visitors should keep a special eye open for raids by vervet monkeys during the day, and for hyenas at night while preparing their evening meals on the barbeque fires.
That afternoon, we went for a quick drive and had some fun with a cute white rhino calf. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is renowned as a rhinoceros haven, and we pray that the hard work and dedication of the rangers protecting them against a terrible onslaught from armed poachers will not be in vain.
When we made our December 2014 plans a year before, we specifically wanted to spend Christmas at Mpila. A special day at a special place. We set out for a quick drive on a glorious morning, then went back to camp to prepare and enjoy Christmas lunch. In the afternoon the Park was inundated by a quick cloud burst, luckily the gravel roads are in good condition and we could continue to explore the Park soon after.
Boxing Day brought us our memorable encounter with lions in trees, but Hluhluwe-Imfolozi has much more to offer and our sightings this day was particularly varied. Our day ended with our best ever sighting of a wild African Rock Python, almost as long as the road was wide!
Every day at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi brings something special and exciting, and the 27th of December was no different. Our day started with a thrilling wild dog pack on the hunt, but that wasn’t where it ended!
Our last full day at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park seemed to belong to the elephants, with a number of really close-up encounters, but we also had a good laugh at a hyena that bit off more than she could chew.
All too soon our five night stay at Mpila came to an end. We had collected so many memories, and can’t wait to return. Driving to Nyalazi Gate we tried to postpone our departure as long as we could, even spending half-an-hour looking for a distant pride of lions reported by fellow spotters in the kznsightings group (a group set up so that visitors to the game reserves in Kwazulu-Natal can share what they find while exploring with other visitors).
We found the lions and then departed for Midmar in the KZN Midlands.