The little town of Hluhluwe may more accurately be described as a village; right in the heart of the cultural hub of Zululand in KwaZulu-Natal. It is nestled on the Hluhluwe River, between the world-famous iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park. So, it’s the perfect base for wildlife enthusiasts that want to spend days exploring some of South Africa’s most exquisite parks and reserves.
But, Hluhluwe is also great for fun family getaways, romantic honeymoons and weekend retreats with friends.
Although Hluhluwe is only two hours from Durban and four hours from Johannesburg, it’s a great destination in its own right too. We’ve put together some of our faves in terms of things to do, and places to sleep and eat.
S L E E P
Whether you need to indulge in a total spoil or you’re looking for some uber-budget-friendly lodgings, Hluhluwe has gorgeous options for you and your family.
A Real Spoil
A little contemporary safari style goes a long way for a very memorable getaway. This new lodge has inspirations of all things organic, creating a space of tranquillity and luxury. It’s in Africa’s oldest park, Hluhluwe–iMfolozi, and close to the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park. This is perfect for visitors that want to immerse themselves in the raw beauty of South African fauna and flora.
Spend your days spotting the Big 5 on game drives, taking guided walks through the bush or bird-watching before heading back to these luxury suites. The swimming pool beckons on hot KZN days and there is a fully-licensed bar, where local wines and ice-cold beers are best enjoyed with friends or someone special.
Middle of the Road
This small bush lodge is in a private nature reserve called Kuleni and celebrates the utter tranquillity of the South African veld. There are two-sleeper and four-sleeper chalets, and the Family Chalet can sleep up to six people. The splash pool, restaurant, bar, campfire and games area are especially awesome for families with children. Go kayaking, horse riding or on unforgettable safaris.
For families that love the outdoors, this lodge is just gorgeous. Only two hours from Durban, it has timber chalets with all of the amenities, as well as stunning views of the lake. Spend hot summer’s days in the swimming pools, or spoil yourself at the on-site spa. Walking trails, bird hides, and a games room and play area mean that this lodge is great for families.
Luxury tented camps combine the best of both worlds – the rustic charm of being right in the thick of the bush and all the amenities and added extras that make it special. Each tent has heaters, blankets, and indoor showers or baths. Seven of them have outdoor showers too. Spot some of South Africa’s wildest species on guided game drives or from a boat cruising down the river. There’s a tranquil spa here too, where stresses and strains melt away.
These thatched chalets are all perched within the seclusion of the indigenous forest, which is the natural habitat of some fantastic antelope and birds. Each chalet has a distinctly African look and feel, and is utterly inviting. The Hluhluwe River is nearby, and the lodge is surrounded by awesome trails for walking, hiking and cycling.
Your Bank Account Will Thank You
The rustic huts and cottages in this game reserve are a home-away-from-home for travellers that want to enjoy the serenity of the outdoors. Each has a private deck or patio and a braai area, where days and evenings can be spent listening to the sounds of the bush and breathing in the pristine air. Go on open-vehicle game drives and spot the resident birds when you’re not relaxing and drinking in the tranquillity.
The budget-friendly accommodation here includes chalets, rooms and dormitories; catering to all kinds of traveller needs. This is set within the gorgeous greenery of the Elephant Coast and is all about peace and glorious quiet. It is near to the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Park and the Greater Isimangaliso (St Lucia) Wetlands Park.
Amazulu may be easy on the pocket but it still offers great 4-star facilities. Each suite has a private entrance, en-suite bathroom, and the everyday conveniences that makes it cosy and inviting. Guided game drives are a must, and the guesthouse is within close proximity to many of the Elephant Coast’s top attractions.
This guesthouse in Zululand offers eclectic décor, friendly service and close proximity to some of the most popular attractions in KwaZulu-Natal. There is air-conditioning, an en-suite bathroom and a TV with DStv in each suite. The guesthouse also has a swimming pool and a barbecue area for long evenings spent chatting around the fire.
E A T
Sampling local cuisine is such a big part of any travel experience. Hluhluwe is small, but boasts some eateries that are well worth trying. The Fig Tree Restaurant is a relaxed spot to enjoy a hot cappuccino or a tasty bite. Wraps, paninis, toasted sandwiches and full breakfasts are all popular choices.
The Lalapanzi Restaurant at Bonamanzi has a rustic charm about it. This is accomplished through hearty buffets or outdoor braais and a fire pit area that is always vibey. The views of the Lalapanzi Dam are the perfect backdrop to sundowners.
The views of the Lebombo Mountain Range aren’t the only thing that keeps diners coming back to Amorello’s Italians-style restaurant. The menu is brimming with pizzas, pastas, salads, and desserts.
Hluhluwe is a popular base for visitors that want to experience some truly memorable game drives and safaris. The local reserves are incredibly beautiful and their resident fauna and flora impressive. During your time here, you can also check out plenty of other fun attractions and activities. Some of our favourites are:
- The Zulu Croc Reptile Park, where you will get the opportunity to see, learn about and even touch some awesome reptile species. Snake shows and the feeding of the crocodiles happen daily (booking essential).
- The DumaZulu Traditional Village – experience the workings and daily life here at South Africa’s biggest African cultural village. Song, dance, drumming, and sampling the local beer are all part of the fun.
- Explore the area on horseback for a really special way to immortalise the high African skies and the smell of the bush.
G O T O HLUHLUWE
Plan the ultimate KwaZulu-Natal getaway and book your accommodation in Hluhluwe for a real break. This is an ideal weekend retreat, thanks to its accessibility from Johannesburg and Durban. Explore SA-Venues.com to choose and book your accommodation and plan your itinerary.