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  • On Safari in KwaZulu-Natal

    Posted by Rupert Denham December 16, 2013 - 1,790 views - 0 comments - 0 likes

    A friend and I stayed at Hilltop Camp in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi for two nights in August 2013 and saw many elephants and white rhinos, including these two who came up and inspected our car. There were also several giraffes, large herds of buffalos, zebras, nyalas, impalas, warthogs and more, all on or next to the road. The park has the largest number of white rhinos of any game reserve in the world, and they and the other animals often wander close to the vehicles.


    With the many small roads, there is a good chance that you can get close to the animals, while the open terrain with several hills make them easy to spot. There are impressive viewing points, from where we saw a herd of elephants that we followed and got close to as they wallowed in a river and had a mud bath.



    Hilltop Camp is affordable and comfortable. It offers self-catering cottages for two from R 700 (£ 45) a night, while the self-catering chalets are R 1 300 (£ 85) a night for two and have lovely long views down the hillside and across the valley. The resort is well run and friendly, and offers night drives and day walks. The walks with an armed guide are exciting because of the small chance of running into buffalos, rhinos and lions. When on foot we saw buffalos and rhinos from a distance.


    The park is three hours' drive north from Durban on the N2, and entrance to the reserve, which is state-run, is free.  It is best to go outside of the summer rainy season (Dec – March) when it is cooler and the vegetation is less dense and it is easier to see the animals. It is difficult to see hippos and crocodiles in the large rivers, while the leopards are elusive. There are lions, though you need a few days to have a good chance of seeing them. I have been to the park four times and saw lions after a few days. Each visit has been different and has provided new and exciting sights and experiences with the animals.