KwaZulu Natal Game 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 private game reserves and lodges of KwaZulu Natal are not as well known as those in the Kruger Park. But they are definitely worth considering, especially if you want to follow your safari with a beach holiday.  All can be easily combined with the Indian Ocean beach lodges for a safari and beach trip.

The original game reserve, Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, is the best known of several parks in Northern KZN. Hluhluwe is particularly famed for its concentrations of white rhino, as well as elephant, black rhino, buffalo and many predators. Game-viewing is either by open top game vehicle or under your own steam in a rental car.

North of Hluhluwe lies Mkuze Game Reserve. Mkuze is known for its excellent birding, especially in the summer months. KwaZulu Natal has several private game reserves which offer a huge diversity of habitats and therefore wildlife. This is one of the better areas for spotting the elusive cheetah.

Further north, at the foot of the majestic Lebombo Mountains and Lake Jozini, lies Pongola Game Reserve. Pongola is the only place that you can enjoy tiger-fishing within South Africa. Furthermore you may enjoy a variety of activities like bush walks, sunset boat cruises, canoeing and tiger fishing. 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.

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Tasha Eygelaar

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.


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.

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When to visit KwaZulu Natal Game Lodges

November 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 October

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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