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Kwa-Zulu Natal. June to October 2019.

Imfolozi Game Reserve. July 2019.

1. Wilderness Walking Trail.

Hluhluwe/Imfolozi is the closest of the Big 5 National Parks to us in Richmond (about a 4 hour drive) and also is one of few to offer Wilderness Walking Trails. We've done the trail twice before (the last time was in 2010) and decided that we'd like to do it again. Afterwards we spent a couple of nights at Mpila hutted camp so that we could have a drive around the Reserve - sadly there are no campsites in Hluhulwe/Imfolozi.

From Mpila camp we drove to Mndindini Camp which is the start of the walking trail and met up with our fellow trailists and 2 guides.


We had daypacks and walked to the base camp while several donkeys carried the rest of our stuff to the camp.


This was our base for 3 nights. The tents, bedding and catering are provided. We had a bucket shower available and a shovel and matches for a toilet!


We throughly enjoyed our walks and the time spent at the campsite. We had 2 excellent guides and got on well with all our fellow trailists. During the walks we always went in single file with guides at the front and back, they had rifles as we were walking through Big 5 countryside.


Both guides were very knowlegible and would stop from time to time to tell us about trees, animals and zulu culture.

There had been no rain for months and both Rivers in the Park, the Black Imfolozi and the White Imfolozi) only had occasional pools of water. Elephants dig holes in the dry river to get to water which is then used by other animals.

Some giraffe bones.


We stopped at a great look-out point for lunch and were lucky enough to spot a lioness with 2 cubs (very well camouflaged) in the valley below. Later we saw rhino, impala, kudu and buffalo from the same place.


An unusual sighting in the daytime were a family of bush pigs (they are nocturnal).


We saw several rhino, this was the only one that was willing to pose for a photo!


A tiny snake in a tree trunk.


A vulture. Both guides were excellent art spotting birds and could replicate many of their calls.


Buffalo can be very dangerous as they are so unpredictable. These 3 moved off into the reeds and watched us from there. The following day we accidently got too close to a couple of bulls hiding in the bush and had to do a swift turn around and back up.


A welcome rest. Although we only had day packs we were each carrying 4 litres of water.


2. Imfolozi Game Reserve

After the Wilderness Trail we spent a couple of nights at Mpila Camp. There's only an elephant fence around the camp so all the smaller aminals can wander around.

Our chalet at Mpila. Very comfotable.

After all the years we've spent in Africa we should know better than leaving a door open while we got our luggage from the bakkie - this vervet monkey was straight inside and grabbed some bags of sugar!

Warthog grazing outside the chalet.

During the evening we saw kudu, impala and jackal outside. The following morning this nyala female with her youngster was around for some time.


We went on an early morning drive. You do see more animals driving compared to walking but you don't get the same 'feel' for the bush.


We saw this large herd of buffalo in the Black Imfolozi Riverbed, it wasn't quite as dry as the White but there were still only pools here and there.

It's always amusing to watch warthog families. On the far side of the river several were enjoying a mud bath. Later some came across the river and a youngster seemed to be teasing an adult who soon got fed up and chased the youngster away.


We were delighted to see lots of white rhino in the Reserve. A couple of times they suddenly appeared in the track just ahead of us.

Female kudu keeping in the shade.

Pity about the branches in the foreground!


On our way out of the Park we saw a large herd of elephants coming down to the River. We were able to stop on the bridge and watch them.


1. Imfolozi Game Reserve. We did a 3 day Wilderness Walking Trail and then a day driving around the Reserve at the end of August.

 

2. Southern KZN - Scottburgh, Happy Wanderers and Oribi Gorge. We went away with our van on 3 short trips. Scottburgh and Happy Wanderers are on the coast. Oribi is further inland.

 

3. Richmond. We spent most of our time here. We helped out at some of the local MOTHs events, took part in a couple of potjie competitions and I walked up th Sani Pass for charity.

 

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As the elephants left the river valley they came quite close to us.