KZN Safari Lodges

Hluwluwe Game Reserve and the nearby private game reserves offer game-viewing amidst stunning bush scenery. All can be easily combined with the Indian Ocean beach lodges for a safari and beach trip.


The many KwaZulu Natal game lodges and reserves are not as well known as those in the Kruger Park. But you should definitely consider them, especially if you want to follow your safari with a beach holiday. As you can easily combine them with the Indian Ocean beach lodges for a safari & beach trip. Game-viewing is either by open top game vehicle at one of the many private safari lodges.

The original game reserve, Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, is the most famous of several parks in Northern KZN. Hluhluwe has good concentrations of white rhino, as well as elephant, black rhino, buffalo and many predators.

North of Hluhluwe lies Mkuze Game Reserve. Mkuze is known for its excellent birding, especially in the summer months. But KwaZulu Natal has several private game reserves which offer a huge diversity of habitats and therefore wildlife. Examples include Phinda Game Reserve, Manyoni  and Amakhosi Private Game Reserves  amongst others.

KwaZulu Natal is one of the better areas for spotting the elusive cheetah. Though not guarantee, you are more likely to spot Cheetah on a KwaZulu natal safari than in, say, the Kruger. Given its open grasslands which suit cheetah far more.

KwaZulu Natal Game Lodges - Cheetah in Amakhosi

The prices range from the uber-deluxe (Phinda Homestead) to more affordable options.

We arrange private road transfers from either Richards Bay or Durban airport. Alternatively all these KwaZulu Natal game lodges are easily accessible by rental car.

Back to KwaZulu Natal Holiday pages


Why you may love it

  • Big Five safaris in private reserves.
  • Good concentrations of both white and black rhino.
  • Greater likelihood of seeing cheetah than in the Kruger.
  • Safari & beach holidays possible with easy road transfers to beach lodges.
  • Diverse eco-systems leading to varied wildlife and great birding.
  • Family-friendly safari lodges.

When to visit KZN Safari Lodges

Nov to mid-March

Summer at KwaZulu Natal Game Lodges

Kwa-Zulu Natal has a summer rainfall climate with the rains starting somewhere in November. This usually takes the form of late afternoon or evening thunderstorms which are actually welcome as it cools the air and keeps everything lush and green. Temperatures are hot and humid during the day and stay warm in the evening and night. This is not the best season for safari as the bush is thick so it’s harder to spot the game. Plus animals don’t need to come to rivers and waterholes so much to drink. However birding is excellent with the summer migrants.
MAX TEMP 25 ℃ / 77 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

Mid-March to mid-May

Dry Season at Kwazulu Natal Game Lodges

This is the start of the dry season and the safari season. By the end of March the rains have stopped, making game-viewing much easier. The landscape is still green and lush but grasses start dying down. The sunsets are superb as the skies are clearer. Nights are pleasantly warm but drier weather means the malaria risk is much lower.

June & July

Dry winter climate at Kwazulu Natal Game Lodges

KwaZulu Natal has a dry winter climate with virtually no rain for months. This is the best time for game-viewing as the bush is less dense and the animals flock to the rivers for water. Daytime temperatures are very pleasant (23-25c). But you’ll need to have warm clothing once the sun sets. However it starts warming up in August.

August to Oct

End of Dry Season at Kwazulu Natal Game Lodge

Spring in KZN is tail-end of the dry season. So it remains a very good time for safari, though the bush tends to be quite dry. Temperatures heat up quickly in September and October prior to the start of the summer rains which usually start in November so its best if you are comfortable with heat.

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Thanda Tented Camp review by Peter Bates

Thanda Tented Camp is a very attractive tented camp that offers a good alternative to its sister lodge, the very chic Thanda Safari Lodge. Luxury tents have the minimum of electric lighting, but are comfortable and spacious. Had some great elephant and rhino sightings, and generally thought the guiding was excellent. Food was very good.

  • Accommodation was pretty spacious. 1 electric light in bathroom. Otherwise it’s candles in glass lanterns
  • Fan but no air-conditioning  – so it will be hot in summer!
  • Thanda is on “sodic” soil which is very fragile. Hence they are VERY strict about off-roading. Needs to be confirmed sighting of a significant animal such as one of the 'Big Five'
  • Much of the reserve quite densely vegetated
  • Some might find the relative proximity of the N2 (sight and sound) somewhat troubling
  • Guiding was very good
  • Food was excellent
Cedarberg : Peter Bates
Did you know
  • HistoryHluhluwe Imfolozi is the oldest national park in Africa
  • HuntingOriginally a royal hunting ground for the Zulu kingdom

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