At 96 000 ha (960km2/370mi2), Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve (formerly Umfolozi) is a reasonably sized wildlife area with a good road network that will take you a few days to cover.
The map below allows you to zoom in closely (use the controls in the left hand corner or double click with your mouse) to identify all the important features of the reserve. Click on the icons to get a description of what it depicts.
The satellite imagery is amazing. It's so detailed that you can actually see the roofs of the chalets that you might stay in on a visit to Mpila restcamp. Zoom in on the camp to see for yourself...
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve Map
The distance calculator here works out the travel times and distances between all the main restcamps and gates.
This is important for your game drive route planning in the reserve because you need to ensure that you are back at camp before the specified gate closing time.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Distance Calculator
There is only one main road that is tarred, stretching from Memorial Gate to about 6km (3.7mi) west of Mpila Camp. The rest of the roads are all gravel and in good condition except around the area of Bhejane Hide where the road has some ruts in it due to water erosion.
But it's still navigable with a normal sedan vehicle; you will just have to drive very slowly. Imfolozi has a large section of wilderness in the south which is reserved for trails so there are no roads there.
Something that might appear strange at first is the fact that there is a major provincial road, the R618 to Mtubatuba, running right through the middle of the park. This road was built when the corridor still separated the two reserves and remained when the parks were joined in 1989.
History of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve
This can be a confusing reserve to visit due to the fact that some parts of it are managed separately and some as a whole. The park's rich history explains why this is the case.
It actually started out as three separate reserves. Hluhluwe Valley Reserve in the north and Umfolozi Junction Reserve (now known as Imfolozi) to the south were proclaimed separately in 1895 (making them the oldest reserves in Africa).
The Hlabisa Game Reserve was sandwiched in between the other two parks but it was deproclaimed in 1907 because of pressure from farmers in the area, which meant that for many years Hluhluwe and Imfolozi operated independently with a corridor separating them.
Then in 1989 the Corridor Game Reserve was proclaimed which finally amalgamated the two separate reserves into one and soon after that it was rechristened as the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve.
But because they had functioned apart for such a long time there are still some things that are managed separately such as the fact that costs and times for activities like game drives and guided walks are not standardized across the whole game park.
Also, electricity in the Imfolozi section of the park is supplied with a generator from 8am until 10pm (gas keeps fridges and stoves in operation between times) while the Hluhluwe section is powered by the national grid constantly.
But these are negligible differences and it won't negatively impact your experience of this amazing and varied game reserve at all.
Best Time To Visit
The weather here is travel friendly for most of the year. Even at the height of winter day temperatures are warm but the nights can drop to below freezing (0°C/32°F) so be prepared for that.
Winter runs from April to September and little to no rain falls during this time. Summer stretches from October to March and there is a reasonable amount of thunderstorm activity to contend with. Temperatures go above 30°C/86°F regularly in summer.
In terms of game viewing, the best time to visit Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve is between July and October when the vegetation is less dense due to low rainfall and animals start to congregate around waterholes and pans.
Temperatures are also milder then as the heat can become pretty intense during mid-summer.