Umfolozi or Imfolozi Park

What or Where is the Umfolozi or Imfolozi Park ?

The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, KwaZulu Natal South Africa is one park, however, the park has been renamed and this has, of course, caused some confusion.

Formerly the Park was known as the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve.

Covering an area of 96000 Hectares this park is the oldest proclaimed game reserve in Africa.

It is the largest public game reserve or park in the province of KwaZulu Natal and is only 236.7km North of Durban. Travel time is approximately 2 Hr 41 Min.

Below we will discuss the Umfolozi or Imfolozi Park in detail so as to make sure that there is no confusion.

umfolozi or imfolozi park

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park

The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park in total covers an area of 96000 hectares. The Northern side is referred to as the Hluhluwe Section, and therefore the Southern side is referred to as the Imfolozi or Umfolozi Park.

  • The Hluhluwe Park covers an area of 24000 hectares
  • The Imfolozi or Umfolozi Park covers an area of 72000 hectares
  • Both sides North and South have the African Big 5 roaming freely

Access Points or Gate Entrances into the Park are as follows:

  • Memorial Gate on the Northern side (Hluhluwe Park)
  • Cengeni and Nyalazi Gate on the Southern side (Imfolozi or Umfolozi Park)
  • Traveling from Durban then the closest gate entrance would be the Nyalazi Gate in the Imfolozi Park.
  • Traveling from Johannesburg then the closest gate would be the Memorial gate in the Hluhluwe Park.
umfolozi imfolozi park wild dogs

What's the difference between the Imfolozi and Umfolozi Park?

Nothing, both the Imfolozi Park and the Umfolozi Park are actually the same place. The Umfolozi is also the river that runs through the southern section and is called the Black Umfolozi River and thus the Umfolozi is commonly referred to as the Umfolozi Park or Umfolozi Game Reserve.

Black Umfolozi River in the Imfolozi Park

Above one has a view of the Black Umfolozi River in the Imfolozi Park, did you see the Lions resting on the sand banks?

What makes the Imfolozi or Umfolozi Park so special?

  • 72 000 Hectares of Wildlife and Wilderness
  • Home to the African Big 5
  • Cheetah and Wild Dogs
  • Magnificent picnic spots
  • Accommodations namely Mpila Camp with fuel bowser and convenience shop
  • Home to save the Rhino Campaign when less than 100 Rhinos were left World-Wide
  • Techniques developed and improved for Game Capture
  •  King Shaka himself used the lower Umfolozi as his personal hunting grounds
  • Visit the Centenary Centre

Being larger in size one may easily make a full-day self-drive safari. Please note that should venture into the park alone then it is advised that you purchase a map at the reception on arrival.

The area is vast with winding roads, both tarred and gravel surfaces that adds to the excitement. Ironically the Imfolozi Park is also a lot quieter than its counterpart the Hluhluwe Park. The northern side accommodates numerous tour bus groups and therefore the Imfolozi or Umfolozi is a lot quieter during the various seasons.

The habitat changes rapidly as you travel South with open grasslands to a denser bush, magical outcrops, hides, and lookout points. The southern side is also easier to witness wildlife such as Wild Dogs & Cheetah.

cheetah sighting in the Umfolozi Park


Favorite areas within the Imfolozi-Umfolozi Park

  • Mpila Camp
  • Sontuli Loop 
  • Mphafa Hide

As you enter Mpila camp a sense of real Africa starts you just know somehow that you are now on a safari. This can be seen on everyones faces and a sense of excitement is everywhere. This is also where the roads change from tarred surfaces to gravel. It's also your last chance to stock up on some water and snacks at the convenience store.

Sontuli Loop has forever been our favorite area, it borders the Black Umfolozi River and this is where we offer a sit-down traditional South African Braai should you be on either a Full-Day Safari or Exclusive Full-Day Safari.

Once again should you be on a self-drive safari then please do make sure that the area is clear of any wildlife as this picnic spot is not completely fenced.

Mphafa Hide, you just have to if you have enough time to venture to this amazing hide. It is also a great place to stretch one's legs and walk down the long causeway towards the hide. More than often one will encounter wildlife enjoying a drink here.

3 night safari package

The above picture was taken from Mphafa Hide in the Imfolozi Umfolozi Park.

Heritage Tours & Safaris

heritage tours & safaris logo

Heritage Tours & Safaris was established in 2003 and to date is the largest privately owned safari tour operator in the area. Should you like to join us on one of our exciting Big 5 Safaris we would be delighted.

The company prides itself in knowing exactly what the clients want and expects. Our team of experienced and knowledgeable rangers will undoubtedly make sure that you have a superb day out on Safari. Be assured that you will love the Umfolozi or Imfolozi Park. Our safaris depart daily into the Imfolozi Park, should you be overnighting in St Lucia then we offer a complimentary transfer alternatively meet us at the Nyalazi Gate for an amazing adventure.


Heritage Tours & Safaris KwaZulu Natal South Africa

Frequently Asked Questions

After 20 years of offering Big 5 Safaris into the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, we would definitely suggest that the Imfolozi Park is better for wildlife sightings. 

Yes, absolutely. Taking into consideration that Leopards are most probably one of the hardest and most elusive animals to find. We would say that you have a better chance of seeing Leopards in the Imfolozi Park due to its size and fauna and flora.  

Any safari is amazing, both safaris have advantages. Being able to travel at one's own pace makes it more exciting and of course, being able to spot your own wildlife is quite adventurous. 

An organized safari obviously has its advantages in the sense that the ranger knows where to go to and also has a fine-tuned eye. Might we suggest an Exclusive safari? 


Open chat
Please do let us know if we can assist you.