Hluhluwe is a small town situated on the East Coast, between iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Only two hours from Durban and four hours from Johannesburg, Hluhluwe is considered the hub of tourism in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Elephant Coast is an area known for its national parks, natural diversity and cultural heritage. The Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, established in 1895, is the oldest in the country – the story is, that it was the Zulu kings who encouraged the very first conservation laws in this game reserve. The area is visitor-friendly and convenient for exploring other game reserves, protected reefs and its pristine coastline.
The Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, by far the biggest attraction in Hluhluwe, is famous for rescuing the white rhino from the brink of extinction and its ongoing protection of both the white and black rhinoceros.
Hluhluwe is at the southern end of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, from where you can take a boat ride to see hippos and crocs, kayak on the lakes, or do a hike or a horse trail. Keen birders are advised to visit Mkuze, which has the reputation of being one of the best birding spots in South Africa, and divers will love the nearby Sodwana Bay, with its lovely coral reefs, extensive dive infrastructure and party atmosphere.
Visit a traditional Zulu weaving operation where you can buy baskets, mats and other woven goods, or do a tour of Dumazulu Cultural Village – a living museum of traditional Zulu culture and lifestyle.
Hluhluwe accommodation includes hotels, self-catering units, guest houses, bed and breakfasts and lodges.
Things to do and see
- Dumazulu Traditional Village
- Primitive Hiking Trail
- Llala Weavers
- Walking Tours at Emdoneni Lodge
- Zulu Croc Reptile Park
- Hluhluwe Horse Trails
- Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
- Zululand Birding Route
- iSimangaliso Wetland Park
- Zamimpilo Community Market
Hluhluwe receives approximately 894 mm of rain annually with the majority of its’ rainfall occurring during the mid-summer months.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 17˚C and 30˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 13˚C and 25˚C.
There are daily local flights into Richards Bay Airport, approximately 108 km away via the N2 or into ’s, King Shaka International Airport, approximately 244 km away. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
Hluhluwe is the home to the traditional Ama-Zulu and the famous Zulu Kings, Dingiswayo and Shaka. These proud nations migrated to this rich land during the 16th Century and were the descendants from the Nguni people.
The first Iron Age communities are reputed to have settled along the coast and in the lower-lying river valleys in Hluhluwe from 300 AD and there is evidence of metal working sites that date back to 1000 AD in the reserve itself.
The town is named after the thorny rope climber Dalbergia armata, “umHluhluwe” in Zulu, which is found among the forest vegetation types in Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park.
Today timber, sugar and pineapples are intensively grown in the area, which produces over 90% of South Africa's queen pineapples. Other agricultural crops are sugar-cane, sisal, cotton, tomatoes and chillies.
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