Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

Top choice in The Elephant Coast

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi is one of South Africa’s best-known, most evocative parks. Covering 960 sq km, it is best visited in the dry winter months (May to September) as the animals congregate at water sources (the White iMfolozi and Black iMfolozi Rivers flow here), and the normally lush vegetation thins out. However, summer visits can also be very rewarding, especially in the open savannah country areas.

The park has lions, elephants, rhinos (black and white), leopards, giraffes, buffaloes and wild dogs. The Centenary Centre, a wildlife-holding centre with an attached museum and information centre, is in the eastern section of iMfolozi. It incorporates rhino enclosures and antelope pens, and was established to allow visitors to view animals in transit to their new homes.

The wildlife drives here are very popular. Hilltop Camp offers morning and evening drives, while Mpila Camp does evening drives only. The drives are open to ­resort residents only and cost R330 per person (minimum two people). Book ahead for multi-day wilderness trails or opt for a guided morning walk (R290).

Bear in mind that the park is in a low-risk malarial area and there are lots of mosquitoes, especially September through May – come prepared. At the time of research preventative measures such as bug spray and long sleeves and pants were recommended, but it's important to consult a doctor before visiting to see if they recommend taking anti-malarial medication.

Recent drought conditions have caused some of the hides to close. Ask at reception which ones are still open.