The animal reserve with the unpronounceable name is considered Africa’s oldest national park. Among the so-called Big Five, the white rhinos in particular are conspicuously common.
In addition to about 1000 white rhinos, some 300 black rhinos live between the courses of the Black and White Imfolozi and Hluhluwe rivers.
By the mid-20th century, white rhinos were nearly extinct in southern Africa, and so a rescue effort called ‘Operation Rhino’ was launched in the 1960s.
Today, the park prides itself on being home to the world’s largest rhino population alongside Kruger Park, as well as providing supplies to other protected areas and private game farms.
Since the two game reserves Hluhluwe and Imfolozi (also: Umfolozi or iMfolozi) with the corridor in between were united in 1989 to form the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, the protected area covers almost 1000 km².
This makes it one of the largest in the country.
While the topography of the northern part (Hluhluwe) is distinctly hilly, the southern part (Imfolozi) is dominated by gently undulating grass and acacia savannah.
The park’s large mammals also include lions, cheetahs, leopards, giraffes, elephants, buffaloes, wildebeests, impalas, zebras, antelopes, hyenas and a few African wild dog (Lycaon pictus).
23 animals of the endangered species, which came from offspring programs of various zoos, were released into the wild in 1981 with limited success. Also impressive is the park’s 340 species of birdlife.
Especially the floodplains of Hluhluwe are considered a first class bird watching area. In addition to three different species of pipits, night heron, wood stork, Wahlberg’s eagle, Shelley’s francolin, black-bellied bustard, Temminck’s courser, Klaas cuckoo, little bee-eater and crested barbet can be observed here.
The sanctuary features a 300-kilometer road network, but some roads have restricted access during the rainy season (November to March).
On the paved road sections, the maximum speed limit is 40 km/h.
On the way you will find a large number of resting places and viewpoints as well as so-called “viewing hides”, where you can overlook pans and waterholes and observe animals at close range.
Within the Imfolozi sector of the park there are three self-guided foot trails. Recommended accommodations – unless you are traveling in a larger group of 6 to 8 people – are Mpila Camp and Hilltop Camp.