At a Glance:
Not only is KwaZulu-Natal a great choice for a safari, but there are few better places to combine a bush and beach holiday! Known for their incredible habitat diversity and wild inhabitants, the game parks and reserves in KwaZulu-Natal should certainly not be overlooked. Here, the weather is milder, the grasses are greener, and the wildlife abundant. Couple that with the fact that safari experiences here are relatively underutilised by tourists and you have the makings of the perfect destination for an exclusive safari holiday.
Reserves such as the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park are overshadowed by Kruger National Park destinations, yet it is thanks to this eclipsed wildlife sanctuary that the remainder of the country has a black rhino population to speak of at all. Some years ago, the black rhino population of virtually every park in southern Africa was at risk—except for in Hluhluwe which maintained its population. It is from here and here alone that black rhino was successfully reintroduced. Nearby to Hluhluwe is the spectacular iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a sanctuary whose varied habitats and location beside the ocean makes for a place of diverse game viewing.
Popular safari destinations in KwaZulu-Natal
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park is renowned for its conservation efforts and covers 96,000 hectares of forested, mountainous, and savannah landscape. Apart from rhino, possible sightings include wildebeest, cheetah, hyena, giraffe, and the other members of the Big 5. Game aside, the park is rich in vegetation and birdlife with over 350 different bird species calling the park home. The Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation Project feeds and cares for threatened African cats, creating the ‘purr-fect’ opportunity for visitors to interact with cheetah, serval, caracal and African wildcat.
Swamps, lakes, coral reefs, beaches, woodlands, wetlands, coastal forest and grassland come together to form the 328,000-hectare iSimangaliso Wetland Park. This mosaic of ecosystems supports an incredibly diverse environment containing prolific wildlife and vegetation. Its pristine coastline touches the Mozambican border in the north and brushes against Mapelane Nature Reserve to the south of St Lucia’s 60km-wide estuary.