Top tips for iMfolozi
A trip to Africa's oldest game reserve, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, is the experience of a lifetime. Here are insider tips on making the most of your trip.
Welile Mtshali has been hospitality manager of the Mpila resort in the iMfolozi section of KZN’s Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park for more than two years, having previously worked as duty manager at Kruger National Park.
Ask for her recommendations for the best game drives and things to do in this southern section of the park and she’ll flash you a broad smile. “Sontuli Loop northwest of Mpila runs close to the Black iMfolozi River so you might see lion, rhino, elephant and buffalo coming to drink.
“Of course, rhinos and elephant are common here, so I would say the special animals to look for are the wild dogs, cheetah and leopard. A pack of ten wild dogs was seen recently feeding on an impala right near Gqoyeni Bush Lodge. Through iMfolozi’s scientific department, Zama Zwane is monitoring how many there are in the park and is pleased to see their numbers growing.”
So what’s the best place to see that Holy Grail of many keen game spotters, the elusive leopard? “I live outside the Cengeni gate in the west and I often see leopard between there and the Mphafa hide,” says Welile. “There’s also a cheetah mother with four grown cubs that is often seen on the Gqoyeni road, but that’s a private road to the Gqoyeni Bush Lodge.”
She says early or late are the best game viewing times, from gate opening to mid morning and about an hour before the gate closes. “We’re also lucky here that you can have good game viewing all year round,” she adds.
What about new developments visitors can look forward to? “The Nselweni Bush Lodge between Mpila and Nyalazi gate in the east is a community-run lodge and it will be growing from eight to ten two-bed units,” she says. “Then from about March 2012, when we should have more field guides, we’ll be reintroducing morning and day drives, whereas currently we’re only doing night drives.
“We’re also talking to the game capture unit about the possibility of allowing guests to book to accompany a game capture experience when one is available, but there are still a lot of hurdles to be cleared before that can happen.”
And don’t forget that iMfolozi is the granddaddy of wilderness trails in South Africa, having pioneered the concept in the 1950s. Two- to four-night options can be booked through Ezemvelo’s central reservations, tel 033-845-1000, or online at https://bookings.kznwildlife.com.
For more about parks and nature, see Roxanne’s regular blog at http://bit.ly/roxblog
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Posted on: October 10, 2011, 4:05 PM
Posted on: October 10, 2011, 8:46 PM