Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park

Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park Travel Blog

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This Giraffe looks what's going on while snacking from the nearest tree.

At 5.15 am, my alarmclock causes a rude awakening, I'm not done sleeping at all, but Africa's wildlife is waiting for us.

At six we have to be in the open safaritrucks that will take us to the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park. The ride will take about an hour and it's drizzling again, therefore raincoats are handed out. We've almost reached the entrance of the park when we see a group of baboons sitting just off the road. Around seven, at the main building of the park, we make sure everybody has been to the toilet, before going in.

Especially in the beginning spotting animals goes fast, giraffes, zebras (of whom one has been attacked by a lion or so, looking at the scars on his behind) and last but not least, impalas.

At eight we stop for coffee with rusks.

A very nice view from one of the hilltops in the park.
Trudy (who still doesn't drink coffee) manages to get some of the milk that the coffee drinkers left over. If you need to go to the loo here, the road to relief leads through another souvenirshop.

Contrary to the Kruger Park, Hluhluwe's landscape consists of hills and vales and that results in some glorious views. We come across all sorts of game: wildebeast, rhino, buffalo, hammerheads (a bird with the head in the shape of a hammer), bathing warthogs and a beautiful giraffe.

The highlight of the day however are the three wild dogs we see lying on the bank of the gravel road. Because of the intense heat they do not care that we come so close at all. At a given point we are only a metre or so away and we can take some fantastic pictures.

These wild dogs made our ranger go bananas.
The ranger that drives us today can hardly keep his cool, because these animals are so rare and we are so extremely close. There are only 24 wild dogs in this park and the experts fear that they will be extinct in the next 50 years.

On our way to the exit of the park a female kudu crosses the road with elegant leaps right in front of our car. Driving back to St. Lucia I try to photograph the local school-children, but that is virtually undo-able at 80 kph.

Apparently we've been very lucky with our condo, because many people are complaining about damp, smelly, hot (no air-conditioning) rooms with dirty sheets on the beds. All we've got are a couple of cockroaches, but we'd better not tell the girls.

Up next is a boatride to see hippoes and crocodiles up close.

Those Hippo's look slow and silly, but they kill more humans than any other animal.
Hippoes are plenty, swimming and playing in the water. Crocodiles however have all called in sick, except for one that is lying in the sun on the river bank.  But there's more: yellow weavers, more hippoes, fish eagles, lots of hippoes, and under a bridge, lots and lots of swallows.

When clouds start coming in, partially blocking the sunlight, it looks like some God switched on his favourite night light. When people talk about the beauty of nature, this is it.

At night we eat at The Ocean's Basket, which is a very good fish restaurant. It doesn't look like much, it has a McDonald's kind of feel to it, but the food is fantastic. We ordered a dish for four people, but six could have eaten abundantly from it. Princess prawns, calamari, clamps, kingklip, fries and rice (and a couple of things I can't remember the names of). Wow!!

A little past eleven everyone is asleep in our apartment.

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This Giraffe looks whats going on…
This Giraffe looks what's going o…
A very nice view from one of the h…
A very nice view from one of the …
These wild dogs made our ranger go…
These wild dogs made our ranger g…
Those Hippos look slow and silly,…
Those Hippo's look slow and silly…
These Wildebeast do what they do b…
These Wildebeast do what they do …
Hammerheads looking for some nice …
Hammerheads looking for some nice…
Mud is the best invention ever! GR…
Mud is the best invention ever! G…
Who wants Vanilla Skies, when you …
Who wants Vanilla Skies, when you…
Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park
photo by: Stormcrow