Catch Up Time Part II: Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Park

April 5, 2009

We spent a long weekend at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Nature Reserve at the end of March. Hluhluwe (pronounced something like shloshlowe) is famous for having been the conservation park that saved the white rhinos from extinction. You have seen the stories about shooting rhinos with darts and relocating them. That was invented by the game rangers at KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, and if you have seen a white rhino in a zoo, it probably came from here originally. White rhinos now number in the 150o range at Hluhluwe.

The game park itself is the merger of two separate parks, Hluhluwe and Imfolozi now making one park that is over 370 square miles. It is home to the Big Five–lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhino. Until this weekend, we had never actually seen any of these in the wild, and it is always a challenge to see the Big Five along with all of the other animals at Hluhluwe.

We rented Mtwazi Lodge. This was the original home of the first game warden at Hluhluwe built in the 1930s. It was filled with artifacts from the original owners (guns, zebra hides, pictures from the 1930s, etc.)-a very cool way to begin a safari.


Rather than giving a daily description, I thought it might be best to show our perception Hluhluwe from the perspective of the scenery, family pictures and the animals. I have also decided to post a video collage of the days riding around the game park to give a sense for what it was like coming upon the Big 5.

SCENES (10 Mb):

We saw a wide variety of animals. To save you the suspense, we saw 4 of the Big 5–leopards are elusive. We were fortunate to see all but the lions at very close range (less than 30 feet). The highlights:

  • Saw several elephants at close range including one at dusk tearing down a tree and eating it.
  • Saw a pride of lions circling a buffalo, but not able to attack it.
  • Saw a pack of wild dogs. There are less than 5000 African wild dogs in the world, and less than 500 in South Africa. We saw 10 of them.
  • Saw several rhinos at VERY close range.
  • Saw a hyena cross the road in front of us at dusk. It happened too fast to get a picture. Hyenas have been placed in the unofficial “Ugly 5” list and deserve to be there!

The overall list of animals were: elephants, buffalo, rhinos, lions, hyena, nyala, impala, giraffes, zebra, wildebeast, mongoose, owl, kudus, and a dung beetle rolling fresh elephant dung!

More to come.


One Response to “Catch Up Time Part II: Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Park”

  1. […] 10, 2009 As promised, here is the continuing story of Hluhluwe in pictures.  The first is a video of 4/5 of the Big 5. […]

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