Tag Archives: Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park

Merry Christmas!

We wish all our friends here at de Wets Wild a Merry and richly Blessed Christmas!

We’ve returned safely from our visits to Umlalazi Nature Reserve and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, and will be spending Christmas Day celebrating one of the cornerstones of our Christian faith with family here in Pretoria.

These pictures of the beautiful scenery in the Hluhluwe section of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park were taken on our way home yesterday.

 

Advertisement

Photo Safari through Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park (Part 3)

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is famous as the place where the White Rhinoceros was saved from extinction in the middle of the previous century. These animals, and their more cantankerous cousins the Black Rhinoceros, still occur in healthy populations at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, but how sad that they again face a terrible onslaught from greedy humans for their horns, even here in their ancestral home.

The Park is also home to the other members of the “Big 5“, although the leopards didn’t show themselves to us during this visit. We had several sightings of different lion prides lazing on sandbanks in the Black Umfolozi River, and we encountered elephants and buffaloes throughout the reserve on a daily basis. Spotted Hyenas were a regular sight around Mpila, and we were thrilled by an encounter with a small pack of African Wild Dogs hunting impalas near Bhekapanzi Pan. That same morning we also had a fleeting sighting of a cheetah on Sontuli Loop. Furthermore, baboons, vervet and samango monkeys, duikerbushbuck, nyala, kudu, waterbuck, wildebeesthippo, zebra, giraffe and warthog all put in appearances as we explored Hluhluwe-Imfolozi this winter.

As we wrap up this report from our winter holidays in the bush, we really hoped you enjoyed travelling through Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park with us, and perhaps feel inspired to visit for yourself!

Being one of our favourite destinations, we’ve featured Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park many times on our blog – have a look through all our posts about this special wilderness if you’d like to learn more about it.

Photo Safari through Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park (Part 2)

The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park supports over 400 species of birds, many of which have become exceedingly rare, even threatened, outside formal conservation areas like this.

Bird-watching along the reserve’s road network is very rewarding, and there’s always something of interest at the three hides located at waterholes around the Park, or at the picnic sites set in beautiful locations along the Hluhluwe and Black Umfolozi Rivers. It is in the camps however, among the accommodation units, that the birds are most accustomed to a human presence and easiest to photograph as they go about their feathery business.

Enjoy this gallery showing some of the 73 species of bird we managed to identify during our recent winter visit to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park.

 

Being one of our favourite destinations, we’ve featured Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park many times on our blog – have a look through all our posts about this special wilderness if you’d like to learn more about it.

Photo Safari through Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park (Part 1)

Moving along to the latter half of our winter holidays in the bush brings us to another of Africa’s oldest conservation areas (and another of our favourite wild places) – the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park.

This conservation area covers an enormous 960km² of beautifully unspoilt wilderness, and incorporates the Hluhluwe and Umfolozi Game Reserves that were officially proclaimed in 1895.

We spent four nights in the Park – 3 in cottage #17 at wonderfully wild Mpila and the last in chalet #42 at the Park’s flagship tourist facility; Hilltop.

Of course no visit to a Game Reserve would be complete without plentiful encounters with wild creatures, so let’s get started with a few small critters we came across (more to follow in the next two days).

Being one of our favourite destinations, we’ve featured Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park many times on our blog – have a look through all our posts about this special wilderness if you’d like to learn more about it.

Back from the Bush

We’ve just arrived back home after a wonderful ten days in the bush, visiting the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park in South Africa’s Kwazulu-Natal Province.

While we get busy responding to the comments you left on the scheduled posts that published in our absence, here’s a small gallery of what you can expect when we report back on our trip in the coming days…

The staple diet…

A selection of five common herbivore species form the base diet of most of Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park’s predators. Apart from the warthogs we showed you yesterday, the majority of their menu is mostly made up of impalas, nyalas, plains zebras and blue wildebeests with the more “exotic” fare consisting of primates (like the samango monkey), kudu, waterbuck, buffaloes and giraffes (we’ll share some pictures of the latter two tomorrow).

Looking at the excellent condition of the game following good rains just before our December visit, you’d be forgiven though for thinking that it is an easy life for a herbivore in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi!

Bird Watching in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is blessed with a rich diversity of avifauna – this gallery shows just a small selection of the 104 bird species we identified during our visit in December.

From Every Angle

We’ve shown you this exuberant baby white rhino, that ran circles around us in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park on Chrismas Eve 2014, before. This series of photos is just such a perfect fit for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, “From Every Angle“, and the little rhino just so darn cute, that we’re sure you won’t mind having another look?

 

Imfolozi, in the middle of a dry spell

In the 20 years that I’ve been visiting the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, I’ve never seen the Black Umfolozi River bone-dry at the bridge on the way to Mpila Camp. That changed when we visited in July 2015. A drought has the north of Kwazulu-Natal Province in its firm grasp and it is evident that the Park is unfortunately not escaping its ravages.

Travelling south-west after entering at Memorial Gate, through the Hluhluwe-section of the Park, we couldn’t help noticing how parched even this normally lush area has become, a marked contrast from when we visited in December 2014. Game-viewing was easy going, as animals were congregating in their numbers around the remaining water sources and the denuded vegetation provided little cover. After checking in at Mpila, we headed for Sontuli Loop, our favourite drive in the reserve.

The next morning saw us out exploring Imfolozi at the break of dawn. The animal population seems to be coping well with the harsh conditions and we had good sightings of several species of birds, mammals and reptiles. Unseasonably hot weather, in the low 30’s Celsius, saw us return to Mpila for a siesta during the midday heat before taking our afternoon drive to Ubhejane Hide .

Overnight a cold front accompanied by strong gusts of wind passed over the Park, seeing temperatures drop to less than half of what they were the previous day and overcast conditions prevailing throughout. This allowed us to stay out exploring for most of the day, visiting the Centenary Centre for lunch (we can highly recommend the ostrich burgers sold at the take-away kiosk!). A drive out to the extreme south-west corner of the reserve that afternoon put our minds at ease with the knowledge that the White Umfolozi River, that runs through the Park’s wilderness area, is still flowing, albeit only a trickle compared to the normal situation.

More of the same wintery weather greeted us as we woke on our last full day in the Park, and the hot cup of coffee and rusks we enjoyed that morning at Ubhejane Hide was indeed very welcome. By now we knew the few remaining pools at the viewpoint over the Black Umfolozi (near point 17 on the Park map) was like a magnet to wildlife, and finding three big male lions there guarding one of them was no surprise. The band of brothers remained in the same spot all day, doing what lions do best – sleeping! As for the de Wets, we headed for Sontuli Picnic Site for a lovely braai (South African barbeque) and then enjoyed our traditional last slow drive along Sontuli Loop at dusk before heading back to camp.

It’s unbelievable how quickly time passes when enjoying South Africa’s wild places. Leaving the Park on the morning of the 15th of July, we were concerned about the effects a prolonged drought would have on the Park’s vegetation and wildlife. Recent news about good rains falling in the area therefore was extremely welcome. It might not break the drought, but it will replenish the waterholes and hopefully carry the wildlife through to summer when (hopefully) more rain should come.

HIP 15Jul2015

————————————————————————————————————————————–

For our July 2015 visit, we opted to enter and exit the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park at Memorial Gate, in the north of the reserve (a 7-hour, with stops, 570km drive from our home in Pretoria), and spent four nights at wonderfully wild Mpila Camp in the Imfolozi-section of the reserve.

The route from Pretoria to Memorial Gate  (drawn with Google Maps)

The route from Pretoria to Memorial Gate
(drawn with Google Maps)

Sadly the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is under threat; if a proposed coal mine on the southern border of the reserve gets given the go-ahead it will mean the end of the reserve’s renowned wilderness area and much of its, and the Isimangaliso Wetland Park’s, ecological integrity. Visit “Save our Imfolozi Wilderness” if you’d like to add your voice in opposition to this unnecessary and unwelcome development.

Symbol

It is the winter school holidays in South Africa and we spent the last five days in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, where the authorities go to great lengths to ensure visitors enjoy the Park safely and responsibly. Naturally, we’ll be telling you all about our visit in upcoming editions of de Wets Wild.

Symbol

Symbol” is the theme for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge.