Hluhluwe-Umfolozi/St Lucia - how long?


Mar 26th, 2006, 07:06 AM
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Hluhluwe-Umfolozi/St Lucia - how long?

We're putting together a late August-September itinerary for SA and want to include a night or two in Swaziland, then a visit to Hluhluwe-Umfolozi parks and at least a day or so in the St Lucia area. (We'll be entering Swaziland after around 5 nights in the Kruger area, most likely Sabi Sands, maybe a return for a night or two up at the Balule reserve where we spent five nights last year.)

Question is, though, how many nights to allot for the KZN parks. I'm thinking three or four nights altogether, visiting Hluhluwe for two or three days, the wetlands for one.

Is this doable, worthwhile, and properly balanced? Should I reduce Kruger days and reallocate to KZN? Any suggestions on where to base ourselves so that both Hluhluwe and the wetlands are convenient day trips? Budget = not Phinda, BTW. If we stay at Hilltop can we get easily to the estuary for a day trip?

Thanks as always.
Gardyloo is offline  
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Mar 26th, 2006, 09:31 AM
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Don't cut down days on Kruger - Umfolozi/Hluhluwe is a good park but nothing near the likes of Kruger!
The Hluhluwe hotel isn't too bad. It was in fact the very first Holiday Inn ever built in South Africa. Basic with aircon (have to have), good food, slow service at the bar around the pool, but
hey! It's cheap. There is a posh tented camp very nearby that we also stayed at but the name escapes me - sorry.
Please get good malaria tablets no matter what anyone tells you.

tod is offline  
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Mar 26th, 2006, 10:39 PM
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I have to say that I personally enjoyed Hluhluwe-Imfolozi more than Kruger - not because of animal density or scenery but because there were so few other visitors in H-I.

I'm sure one can get further off the beaten track at Kruger, particularly in the North.

We were mainly at Olifants with one night at Berg-en-Dal and driving between the two.

If you have time, including a 2 night stop in Ithala is worthwhile for the stunning scenery. Game density is low but for us it didn't matter - the place was just so peaceful and pretty.

We spent 3 nights in H-I and 3 in St Lucia to kick back as we were doing a LOOONG trip but 4-5 nights for both the reserves and St Lucia would be fine.
Kavey is offline  
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Mar 26th, 2006, 10:41 PM
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BTW We mostly stayed IN the parks rather than in international hotel chains outside them - we really found it more enjoyable to be IN the parks overnight.
Kavey is offline  
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Mar 27th, 2006, 08:56 AM
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I agree with Kavey about being IN the parks overnight. For one thing, you can do night drives with the game rangers, and for another, you can talk with other guests about their sightings.

Your plan of 2-3 nights in Umfolozi and one in St. Lucia sounds right to me. I think the distance is too great to do a daytrip from Hilltop Camp to St. Lucia.
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