we dedicate this day to a guided tour of the Hluhluwe and Imfolozi parks. wake up at 4:20, at 05:00 we are picked up to take .. In fact a modified pick up above the rear body is mounted a tubular structure with plastic wall and a waterproof tent, panic because it’s not hot at all …
Let’s start, harnessed with thermal jacket and fleece blankets to make the 60 kilometers that separate us from the parks in the most absolute darkness, protected by a plastic sheet …
We enter the park and begin the tour from the Hluhluwe but we leave it after a few kilometers to dedicate more attention to the Imfolozi.
We run along paved roads without glimpses of anything interesting (only some impala) we stop for breakfast in a pic-nic area with tables and WC hut.
We restart with the tour, we wander for a long time before seeing some Nkudu and warthogs that revolve around us, we also meet the giraffes and the buffaloes, then we arrive close to elephants that are eating and moving along pathsthat they known very well. They are truly spectacular animals. A stop at a hiding site near a large pool of water where in a few minutes they take turns drinking birds, warthogs, Nkudu and Nyala. Stop for lunch in an area above the river Mfolozi, where surrounded by baboons our guide prepares a barbecue and we refresh ourselves with a nice cold drink. We continue to wander the streets of the park being able to observe other Elephants, warthogs and giraffes. We return to St. Lucia in the afternoon and decide to take a walk to the center and to a local market where we buy local handicrafts.
The small town of St. Lucia it’s built in the estuary of a great lake with the same name, Inhabitants lives of tourism for its beautiful beaches but above all to be the starting point to visit the three natural parks that surround it: the Isimangaliso (which includes the lake ) the Hluhluwe and the Imfolozi. Which are two huge reserves of the Kwazulu Natal.
This morning we planned an exit by boat along the river to see the hippos and crocodiles. At 9:30 we are picked up and we reach the small port in five minutes, where a small boat awaits us. We climb in nine and we sit on normal plastic chairs anchored to the floor: hopefully good! A cheerful skipper takes us to places where hippos practically rest for the whole day waiting for dusk when they start looking for the various tons of grass that are used to feed them. We also see numerous crocodiles, a beautiful snake coiled on a branch and several birds. Stop for a coffee and a scones and then off to the marina. Returning to the hotel, we quickly set up the car and set off for the Isimangaliso park, which contains the large St. Lucia lake. A long ride through the park’s inner roads and paths up to Cape Vidal, huge sand dunes, endless herd of hippos, birds, and finally a beautiful series of fishermen waiting for a dip along the shores of the Indian ocean.
At 8:00 am we leave! The first ten kilometers are of unsealed road, within the protected area and we meet everything: rhino, zebras, monkeys … We continue for almost 600 km between forests of tall trees and firs: it seemed to be in Switzerland! We turn around outside Swaziland passing from the Mpumalanga region to KwaZulu-Natal. In the late afternoon we arrive in St. Lucia. We chose this small town to visit three interesting parks: iSimangaliso and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. The hotel, the Serene Estate is beautiful, modern, and welcoming, the owner lady makes us sit down to manage with us the activities we will do on the three days of stay and she will arrange to book. Let’s see the sunset on the beach and stop to watch the full moon that is an incredible red !!! A large sign at the entrance to the beach, initially ignored by us, warns that it is dangerous to walk around at night, because hippos and crocodiles can be met along the roads. Panic absolute, then we run into the car. The streets of the small town are invaded by signs indicating the possibility of encountering hippos, rather dangerous animals, in fact in South Africa they are the leading cause of death.