Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park / Game Reserve
The park is located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal on the east coast of South Africa. The park is closest to the town of Mtubatuba , Hluhluwe village and Hlabisa village. The geography of the area differs from the north, or Hluhluwe area, to the south, or iMmfolozi area. Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park is partly in a low-risk malaria area.
Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park, formerly Hluhluwe–Umfolozi Game Reserve, is the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa. It consists of 960 km² (96,000 ha) of hilly topography 280 kilometres (170 mi) north of Durban in central Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and is known for its rich wildlife and conservation efforts. The park is the only state-run park in KwaZulu-Natal where all the big five game animals occur. Due to conservation efforts, the park now has the largest population of white rhino in the world.
The Hluhluwe section in the north is characterised by towering grassland hills and diverse terrain and vegetation and is exceptional for its rich variety of bird and animal life.
The iMfolozi section in the south is characterised by wide open spaces and is a natural treasure store of fascinating fauna and flora. Species include the “Big Five”
Other areas of focus for which Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is famed, include wilderness trails which originated in iMfolozi in the 1950s and today continue to attract tourists from all over the world. In this area the first true wilderness trails in the country were initiated.
Renowned for its rich and diverse wildlife, the park teems with a wide variety of fascinating fauna and flora including elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, blue wildebeest, giraffe, cheetah, hyena, and warthog and over 300 bird species.
African wild dog
In 1981, the Natal Parks board (now Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) attempted to reintroduce African wild dogs into the park. Twenty-three dogs were released in the reserve, most of which had been bred in zoos. However this met with limited success and since then the population has fluctuated between 3 and 30 individuals.
The park is the birthplace of rhino preservation, breeding the species back from extinction. As the home of Operation Rhino in the 1950s and 60s, the park became world-renowned for its white rhino conservation. The Rhino Capture Unit of the park helped save the endangered White Rhino from the brink of extinction. Today there are more than 1,600 white rhino in the reserve and hundreds of the animals have been moved from here to game reserves around the world. The success of this program has recently been compromised by the increase in rhino poaching within the park. This recent threat has not only become a great concern for the park, but for rhino conservationists countrywide.