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
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.
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 😉
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.
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.
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? 😉
- 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