The Hluhluwe Redux – Hluhluwe–iMfolozi
After the majesty of Maphelane, i head to Durbs to pick up my mate and random quote generator @EvanHaussmann before heading north for a tour of the parks in Northern KwaZulu Natal. Like all good roadtrippers we bought a load of beer and sat for 5 days “planning” the route and then haphazardly set-off and made decisions by the seat of someone else’s pants.
Hluhluwe was the first destination. On the way we swung passed St Lucia, Cape Vidal and Charters Creek which was open but mays well have been closed.
We had organized to do a site review of a lodge slightly above my pay grade, Ubizane, but having arrived a day early we ended up staying at the Bush Baby Lodge, we camped in the well shaded, power equipped campsite (R90 / person, chalets are R180/person ).
Aside from a decidedly cold pool which was perfect foil for the hell like heat, the campsite overlooked a small waterhole where plains game saw out the heat of the day. Its a great little spot and good value for money.
The next day we headed into the park for a little cruise before the impending accommodation upgrade. Having visited last year a few things immediately were reinforced. Its hot. Very hot. Its huge, behemoth comes to mind as an adjective, but it’s also a truly spectacular wildlife area.
Burning season (August/ September) seemed to have stripped the park of a lot of its vegetation and made shooting a hazy affair, but that did not prevent a smorgasbord of game viewing including Cape Vultures, plenty Rhino, Giraffes, tons of Zeebs, Elephants along the Black Mfolozi, herds of Impala and Wildebeest and i finally got to see leopard.
The Leopard sighting, was an interesting one in that it came via Twitter, by following @latestUmfolozi and combined with the improved mobile reception in the park (Boooooooo!) It popped up on the feed and we were in the hood and there was my first leopard sighting.
I am not really sure how i feel about it. Its almost cheating. Given the bugger was about a 100 meters in the scrub and chilling in the shaded of a small Acacia tree, its unlikely i would have had the pleasure of seeing it if i happened to be heading past browsing like crowds at a tennis match.
We then headed to Ubizane, a small private reserve about 15 minutes from the Memorial Gate of the park. After slumming it in a tent for awhile it was kind of rad to be greeted by a bed, aircon, a swimming pool and massive buffet style meals. If i am dishonest i don’t really go in for that sort of thing.
It’s a sweet spot and if you looking for some comfort and value in the area you wouldn’t go far wrong staying here.
After another day of sweltering game viewing, we decided to move on to the next destination but not before discovering the local butchery. Alan’s Butchery. Situated at the bottom of town. It’s well priced (a rump steak for 80 odd bucks that fed two of us) and he makes damn good Biltong and Wors.
This was my second visit to Hluhluwe and i was not disappointed and i suspect if i am vaguely in the hood, i will probably drop by again. You should to.
Read about my previous stay here.
See more images from Hluhluwe here.