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Into The Wild – An Offbeat Safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park

Into The Wild – An Offbeat Safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park
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Our 4×4 stopped in the tracks as a zebra swayed into the picture. We stared, mesmerised by its picture-perfect black and white stripes. It stretched its legs without a care in the world, stood there observing its surroundings, and eventually galloped away gracefully. As our eyes followed the disappearing zebra, we saw five giraffes grazing on our right.

 

We had been there only for a few minutes but it seemed like an eternity. In that moment, deep in the African wilderness, away from technology, the internet, and modern conveniences, we felt a strange sort of calm wash over us

 

Safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park. Cheap offbeat safari 6

Our first zebra sighting – it had us at hello :-)

 

Safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi  National Park Giraffes

Aye, it’s real

 

 

Our South African roadtrip took us to a lot of fascinating places, but the Safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park occupies a special place in our mind.

We checked into the Isinkwe Backpackers Bushcamp, just 15 kilometres away from the Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park, late one night. The 250 kilometre drive from Durban left us exhausted and we couldn’t wait to hit the sack.

 

Safari at Hluhluwe  Imfolozi  National Park. Cheap offbeat safari 7

Savi and Sid at Isinkwe Backpackers Bushcamp

 

Safari at Hluhluwe  Imfolozi  National Park. Cheap offbeat safari

The pool at Isinkwe Backpackers Bushcamp

 

The next day, we were up nice and early (we’re talking 4 a.m. people!) and met our ranger, Richard, just before sunrise. We packed ourselves into a sturdy 4*4 and off we went for our first ever Safari.

 

A chance encounter with a zebra later, we stopped for breakfast. As we munched on our sandwiches, we spotted a peeing rhinoceros, as you do ;-)

 

Safari at Hluhluwe  Imfolozi National Park. Cheap offbeat safari 5

A peeing rhinoceros – perfect breakfast companion

 

Safari at Hluhluwe  Imfolozi National Park. Isinkwe

Into the Wild

 

It turned out to be the beginning of a long day. We spent hours searching for animals. Richard, our ranger, had the eyes of a hawk and the ears of a bat. He seemed to be privy to the slightest movement around us and made sure we saw as many animals as we possibly could, within the space of a day.

 

Hluhluwe Imfolozi is one of the oldest and largest national parks in South Africa. It boasts of hilly stretches and deep valleys as well as expansive grasslands. As a result, there are loads of animals to be seen.

 

We saw wild boars lolling in the mud, cape buffaloes up close, lazy rhinoceroses, wildebeests, herds of deer with sparkly eyes, and zebras by the dozen.

 

Safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park. Cheap Offbeat

Herd of deer

 

Safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park. Zebras

More Zebras :-)

 

Safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park. Wildernees

Cape Buffalos

 

Safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park.cheap safari

Up Close

 

By the afternoon, the sun was beating down on us. The icy-cold water in our bottles had turned tepid, but our enthusiasm hadn’t waned one bit. After a quick lunch that involved flipping hamburgers on an African braai (BBQ), we were off for another leg of animal spotting.

 

Safari at Hluhluwe  Imfolozi National Park. Cheap offbeat safari 3

Sid and Savi with Richard

 

Safari at Hluhluwe  Imfolozi National Park. Cheap offbeat safari 2

Under the African Sun

 

Safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park

Baboon – Not so happy on seeing visitors ;)

 

Safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park. Zebra

Awww – Mumma Zebra nuzzling Baby Zebra :-)

 

By the end of the day, we were dead tired. We slipped into our beds thinking of all the stories we had from just a day in the wild.

Have you ever been on a safari? Was a peeing rhinoceros the highlight of your safari too? ;-)

 

Fact File

  • Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park  is 250 kilometres away from Durban
  • A Safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park is perfect if you are visiting Durban. Its proximity to the city makes it a good alternative to the Kruger National Park
  • The best time to visit is between May and October
  • The Isinkwe Backpackers Bushcamp offers great accommodation for those on a budget. Rooms are clean, food is fresh and plentiful, and the ambience is typically African. Prices start at £20/person.
  • We opted for the Backpackers’ Safari at Isinkwe Backpackers Bushcamp. The guided safari (including meals, vehicle and ranger) costs £75 – £100/person.

 

Want more tales from South Africa? Read about the time we got uncomfortably close to a lion at The Lion Park, Johannesburg 

 

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20 Comments

  1. I love this site and hate to nit-pick, but I think you’ve called the baboon an orangutan. Otherwise, fantastic, you guys do great work!

    • And I believe the wildebeest is actually an African Cape Buffalo..

      • Anantvijay,

        Good catch ! :) You are absolutely right, thanks for pointing that out. Have corrected the typos now – I must start having a double shot of espresso before writing the posts ;)

        Cheers !

  2. I have always wanted to go on a safari! Love the pictures! :)
    Karisa recently posted…6 Tips on How to be American in VietnamMy Profile

    • I have a feeling you’ll be heading to Africa from South East Asia soon Karisa ;-)

  3. amazing clicks wow loved it :)
    kiransingh recently posted…My November 2013 Vellvette BoxMy Profile

  4. amazing clicks wow loved it :)
    kiransingh recently posted…My November 2013 Vellvette BoxMy Profile

    • Thanks Kiran :-)

  5. Sounds like an amazing time! Nothing like your first safari. Headed to the park in just a few weeks. Hope to have as much luck as you did!
    Happy travels!
    bisbocciabroad recently posted…Southern Namibia–Fish River CanyonMy Profile

    • Hope you have an amazing time to Hluhluwe. Do keep us updated- would love to know how it went for you :-)

  6. What an amazing experience! I love all the zebras. I’m dying to get to South Africa one day, and I’m adding this safari to the list. Thanks!
    Jessica J. Hill recently posted…5 Things I Discovered in Costa RicaMy Profile

    • Jessica we have so much to say about South Africa – it is one of our favourite countries. Keep your eyes peeled for a blogpost on a couple of other cheap, offbeat safaris that we ticked off our list :-)

  7. Loved the post and pictures! So looking forward to a safari at some point in the hear future…loved the Rhino peeing shot…hehe, quite entertaining :)

    • Gotta love the peeing Rhino ;-) There are few things as exciting as a safari. For me it ranks right up there with adventure sports.

  8. Don’t remember the last time I saw any creature as preened and poised as the zebra in the first picture. The baboon and the buffaloes look simply adorable. I mentally hugged them, they are so cute! I’m sure you guys had the time of your life.
    I must add, amazing photography.

    • Thanks – these are some of my favourite photos too. Zebras are definitely the most poised and graceful animals I’ve ever seen, irrespective of whether they’re swaying across the road or galloping into the wild :-)

  9. What a wonderful post! We went on our honeymoon to Kenya and went on a safari. Absolutely incredible, I think it is the single most amazing experience of my life. Your pictures brought back those memories! For me it was being up close to the elephants!

    • Erica I’m so glad to hear from someone who feels the same way about Safaris – Both Vid and I flippin’ love them. We have a whole post dedicated to a elephant Safaris coming up soon – I’ll definitely send the link to you :-)

  10. Wow!!! What a capture! I don’t think I have seen a rhino pee before. And those zebra butts are so cute. Thanks for sharing these stunning photos! :)
    Amazing Safari recently posted…Best Kilimanjaro Tour Operator vs. Right Kilimanjaro Climb CompanyMy Profile

    • Thank you :)

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