Zululand is the northern part of the South African province of KwaZulu Natal – but above all, Zululand is the home of the Zulu people, who still maintain their traditional way of life here. Geographically, the province is found between Maputaland, the Kingdom of Swaziland and the Battlefields as well as the Indian Ocean. Zululand offers itself on the one hand to get to know the Zulu culture, on the other hand to discover the landscape of the province and its reserves. There are also trips from Zululand to Johannesburg or the Kruger National Park… if you choose the route through Swaziland for the latter, you will even drive through an area of scenic interest. But the nature of KwaZulu Natal is also interesting. The Imfolozi and Hluhluwe Game Reserve is rich in game and is known for its rhinoceros population. The Simangaliso Wetlands Park, on the other hand, is characterized by tropical wetlands with hippos and crocodiles, lagoons and coastal landscapes. With the Pongola Game Reserve, founded in 1894, you enter the second oldest reserve in the world… and a bird paradise. Whereas Sodwana Bay and the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve on the Elephant Coast are a paradise for divers. Contact to culture in Zululand then, for example, in the Shakaland Zulu Cultural Village in Eshowe, which gives a vivid introduction to the traditions of the Zulu people. Other Zulu villages, kraals, such as Kwabhekithunga Kraal or Stewart’s Farm also offer accommodation for visitors and contact with the Zulus.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park
The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park (formerly Hluhluwe Umfolozi) is one of the most famous wildlife parks in South Africa. It is known for its variety of animal and bird species as well as for its variety of trees and rare plants. It is located in central Zululand, is the oldest game park in Africa and covers around 96,000 hectares. The extensive area is known worldwide for its rhino conservation.
The Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park offers visitors many activities – from beautiful walks to game drives to many picnic areas. The animal viewing places are close to water holes so that park visitors can observe animals up close. The huge national park is characterized by lush green hilly landscapes and the Hluhluwe River, which flows right through the park. All the animals of the Big Five live here (buffalo, lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos), but also wildebeest, giraffes, Nile crocodiles, various antelope species, zebras and warthogs. The interesting thing about this park is that it is not as world-famous as the Kruger Park and because of the vast, wooded landscape you rarely see other visitors.
A visit to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park is a special highlight of any trip to South Africa. One or more nights in the associated Hiltop camp have the advantage that tourists can save themselves the daily arrival and departure for a safari. The establishment of the camp and the supply of an extensive buffet with African dishes is very good. Otherwise there are also many other accommodations outside of the national park. The spacious area can be explored with your own rental car. But there are also guided jeep tours, which are especially interesting in the mornings and evenings, as you are then no longer allowed to drive in the park yourself. If the Hluhluwe River has enough water, you can also take an exciting boat trip and explore the wildlife from the water.
Bonamanzi Game Reserve
The Bonamanzi Game Reserve, a private South African game reserve and natural heritage site, is also one of the largest private game and bird parks in Zululand. With over 4000 hectares of untouched African bush to explore, every day is different – whether on a safari where you can see rare African birds, track down elephants or celebrate with the Zulu dancers around the campfire.
Nature experience for the whole family
The great thing about Bonamanzi is that, in addition to guided tours, vacationers can also go hiking without a guide, as there are well-developed trails for adventurers. The Bonamanzi rangers provide all “scientific” information on flora and fauna, as well as a variety of stories about local folklore. It is also not a problem to keep your children busy here, as all camps have swimming pools and there is a children’s playground at Lalapanzi Camp. Daily crocodile and turtle educational tours are also offered. Activities are not limited to just walks and game drives, as the Hluhluwe River offers guests the opportunity to take part in great river safaris, which are particularly suitable for guests interested in bird watching.
Bonamanzi is consistently rated as one of the best bird watching areas in South Africa. Three different habitats with sand forest, meadows and forests have led to a great diversity of species, and it is precisely because of the special nature of the area that Bonamanzi was declared a natural heritage in November 1995. There are few places where multiple endangered species can be found. Bonamanzi has over 349 registered bird species. The endangered sandy forest area is home to very special birds such as the pink twinspot and the lemon breast canary.
Equally rewarding is a guided walk through the meadows of St. Lucia, where you can see rare birds and a wide range of waterfowl. Nature-loving travelers just need hiking boots and a little enthusiasm, while serious bird experts can look forward to unusual sightings. Another popular activity is the bird watching boat trip, where vacationers can enjoy a leisurely ride on the Hluhluwe River while watching kingfishers, crocodiles, flamingos, pelicans.
Surrounded by the city of Eshowe in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal in the Zululand district lies a unique ecosystem. The subtropical Dlinza Forest, located five hundred meters above sea level, with its breathtaking nature takes you into the indigenous world of South Africa. With its two hundred and fifty hectare area, it belongs to one of the five largest natural forests in KwaZulu-Natal, which lie on a one hundred kilometer line northwest of the coast. In terms of biodiversity, it is also one of the most important forests in the state.
… sparkling with life
The Dlinza Forest is home to all kinds of rare species. As a nature lover, you can discover up to ninety species of birds and eighty-five species of butterflies. But chameleons, snails, moths, frogs and beetles can also cross the path. The best time to encounter as many of these species as possible is early in the morning. The Dlinza Forest opens its gates every day at 6 a.m. in summer and at 7 a.m. in winter. In the morning hours you will be greeted by the lovely sounds of the birds. Visitors can explore the area up to and including 5 p.m.
… In harmony with nature
A highlight of the visit takes tourists to the Aerial Boardwalk, an elevated 150-foot walk. This leads directly to a twenty-meter-high observation tower at treetop height, from which you get a breathtaking view of the roof of the forest, the surrounding landscape and the adjacent coast from a new perspective.
… Hiking trails
However, if you prefer to explore the forest floor, the iMpunzi round trip (thirty minutes) and the uNkonka hiking trail (forty-five minutes) lead past the countless tree species that are labeled with information about their traditional medicinal use.
In the visitor center you can also find detailed information about the native species.
After a successful visit, you can also make yourself comfortable at the picnic areas at the edge of the forest and review your journey into the colorful world of ancient nature.