Exploring the wetlands and mountainous terrain of iSimangaliso and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi on this quick visit to beautiful Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Untouched Coasts and Majestic Mountains
With a focus on this UNESCO World Heritage site, iSimangaliso is an untouched wetland paradise of vegetated sand dunes, beautiful coastline, and abundant wildlife. Enjoy the unique beauty of the coast before entering the mountain wildlife paradise of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve. Diversity is the name of the game on the quick 6 day visit to Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal. See below for a day-by-day outline!
iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve
A South African Experience You Will Never Forget
Day 1 - iSimangaliso Wetland Park
On arrival you will be met by your guide, whom will transfer you to iSimangaliso Wetland Park (formerly known as the greater St Lucia wetland [park).
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is one of the outstanding natural wetland and coastal sites of Africa. Covering an area of over 590 000 acres, it includes a wide range of pristine marine, coastal, wetland, estuarine, and terrestrial environments which are scenically beautiful and basically unmodified by people. These include coral reefs, long sandy beaches, coastal dunes, lake systems, swamps, and extensive reed and papyrus wetlands, providing critical habitat for a wide range of species from Africa's seas, wetlands and savannahs. The interaction of these environments with major floods and coastal storms in the Park’s transitional location has resulted in continuing speciation and exceptional species diversity. Its vivid natural spectacles include nesting turtles and large aggregations of flamingos and other waterfowl.
Time permitting we will spend the afternoon exploring the mouth of the estuarine system.
Dinner and overnight Seasands Lodge
Day 2 - iSimangaliso Wetland Park
The early morning will be set aside for a boat cruise up the St Lucia estuary. The specially designed boat will enable us to get really close and personal with Hippo’s, Nile Crocodile and an amazing array of bird species. The boat’s shallow hull will also enable us to disembark for short walks on the mainland searching for game species. The boat trip lasts in the region of around two hours, and coffee and tea will be served on board.
After returning from the boat trip, the afternoon will be spent exploring the Eastern Shores of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park by vehicle.
Of the over 6,500 plant and animal (including 521 bird) species recorded from the Park, populations of species of conservation importance include 11 species endemic to the park, 108 species endemic to South Africa, while 467 species are listed as threatened in South Africa. The outstanding diversity of habitats (terrestrial, wetland, coastal and aquatic) supports a wide variety of animal species, some at the northern and many at the southern limit of their range.
The Eastern Shores is the ideal beach and safari destination. A number of game viewing roads offer intimate access to varied habitats including dunes, grassland, lakes, pans and coastal dune forest. Lookout points provide panoramic vistas over a landscape shaped by human residence in Iron Age times and by the Bhangazi people.
Dinner and overnight Seasands Lodge
Day 3 - iSimangaliso Wetland Park
After breakfast we continue our exploration of the Eastern Shores of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
On return we will have lunch in St Lucia, and after an afternoon break, a sunset drive in the newly opened Western Shores of the park will reveal some of the nocturnal species of this area. There are two species of animals that one can see on the iSimangaliso western shores that you will not see on the eastern shores of iSimangaliso namely Nyala antelope and Giraffe.
The elephant of the iSimangaliso wetland park spend 90 percent of their time on the western shores of the park so this where you have the best chance of seeing the elephant when staying in St Lucia.
Other special animals that you might see there are Hippo, Hyena, Side–striped Jackal, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo all the other general game of the area.
Dinner and overnight Seasands Lodge.
Day 4 - iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve
Morning departure from St Lucia to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve.
En route to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi we will stop at one of the local Zulu villages to learn more about the Zulu people and their customs and way of life.
Set in the heart of Zululand, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi is the oldest game reserve in Africa, it is where Zulu kings such as Dingiswayo and Shaka hunted and put in place the first conservation laws, where today the "Big five" of African legend stalk the verdant savannah. The Park became world renowned for its white rhino conservation methods implemented during the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Established in 1895 game viewing is the prime attraction. Viewing hides overlook pans and waterholes enabling visitors to see animals at close range. Previously managed as two separate parks, the Hluhluwe (in the north) and iMfolozi (in the south) were joined into one large game reserve.
The wide range of plant life in the park gives rise to a diversity of mammals, birdlife, reptiles and amphibians. The Big Five - Lion, Rhino (Back & White) Elephant, Buffalo and Leopard are all to be seen in the park, as well as a variety of other species, including Cheetah, Wild dog and Giraffe. It is also one of the best places in the world to see Nyala.
Hluhluwe is characterized by hilly topography, and this northern section of the park is noted for its wide variety of both bird and animal life.
Imfolozi, the southern section of the park lies west of the town of Mtubatuba. The region is generally hot in summer, and mild to cool in winter, although cold spells do occur.
In excess of 300 species of birds have been recorded.
After settling in at Hilltop Camp we will depart on an afternoon game drive. Should you wish you could also participate in a night drive departing from Hilltop Camp.
Dinner and overnight Hilltop Camp.
Day 5 - Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve
Today will be set aside exploring this magnificent reserve. We would depart from Hilltop after breakfast and head for the southern, or iMfolozi section of the reserve. The iMfolozi section is drier and not as “hilly” as the Hluhluwe section, and is renowned for its predator density. Lunch will be had at one of the scenic picnic spots before returning late afternoon to Hilltop Camp.
Dinner and overnight Hilltop Camp.
Day 6 - Hluhluwe-Imfolozi – return
Depart for Airport.
We enjoyed laughter, sunsets, elephants tussling and drinking water, hippos in St. Lucia estuary, dipping our toes in the Indian Ocean and so much more. It truly was a wonderful, memorable visit that will linger inside us forever. Thank you Outdoor Africa!
THANK YOU OUTDOOR AFRICA for providing me with the experience of a lifetime. Toby customized the trip based on our specific preferences and abilities. Hayden was truly a wealth of knowledge about all things South African and I learned to really appreciate nature in a way that I never had before.
We could not have had a better trip! My husband worked with Toby Brown in the U.S. who then coordinated with Hayden Elliott over in SA. We had three weeks with Hayden driving us the entire time. His knowledge of the area, animals, birds, etc. was amazing.