Urgent Q re Hluhluwe-Umfolozi park

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Oct 21st, 2003, 06:27 AM
  #1
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Urgent Q re Hluhluwe-Umfolozi park

I'm just about to send off an email to reserve accommodation for Hluhluwe-Umfolozi park and have a question.

We'll be coming from Durban area and will be leaving towards St Lucia.

Should I book 2 nights in Mpila followed by 2 nights in Hilltop or the other way around?

I assume that entrance into Hluhluwe-Umfolozi park is only from Mambeni Gate for both camps?

THANKS
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Oct 21st, 2003, 06:56 AM
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Coastsurfer
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I'm not sure which entrance is best for where you're headed, but I do know you can enter the park by taking the exit off N2, opposite the small town of Hluhluwe ("shus-shlew-e") - it's about 10 minites by car to the entrance, on a two-laned paved road. Watch for people and cattle.
This town, by the way, is a good place to gas up and hit the ATM. Nifty little stores too. And a Zulul village nearby that is nice to visit to see their show.

Have you considered staying at the Zululand Tree Lodge instead of in the park? Great lodging, food, rangers, who will take you into the park. They also do game drives on the Ubizane reserve.

May I suggest you use a ranger to see the animals. We found after several drives into that park that the animals are rather far from the road, and you will not be permitted to leave the paved road.

If you need a good place to stay, with rangers in St. Lucia area, let me know.
 
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Oct 21st, 2003, 07:17 AM
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Thanks Coastsurfer

I have looked at Zululand Tree Lodge in Ubizane but it's a little above my budget. However I've sent an email to them asking what rate they can offer me and haven't yet heard back.

Any advice you can offer about accommodations in St Lucia would be welcome.

After the 4 nights in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi I have 5 nights to play with (which I'm intending to spend in the wetlands area but not sure where to base myself or how to split the time). I'm working to a tight budget. My daily budget for 2 people is about 1500 ZAR and that has to cover car hire (looking at about 450 ZAR), petrol, accommodation and food for two people. It also has to cover park entrance fees. If there's anything left over we'll book guided drives but I don't know that we'll have anything left over.

Do you have any recommendations for St Lucia/ wetlands/ Sodwana Bay?

After that I have scheduled 2 nights in Ithala and 3 in Kruger. Would appreciate input on these also.

Many thanks



PS Anyone have any advice on which order I should stay in Mpila and Hilltop?
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Oct 21st, 2003, 07:19 AM
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Kavey, I couldn't remember, so I asked Jim, and he says do it that way, Mpila first. It doesn't make a great difference, since St. Lucia is sort of on the way between Durban and the park, but this way you will be going from less luxurious to more luxurious.

The night drive from Mpila is great. I assume they have night drives from Hilltop too, but we haven't taken one there.
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Oct 21st, 2003, 07:25 AM
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Thanks Celia (& Jim)
I'll put in a request that way around and see what availability is like.
Kavey
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Oct 21st, 2003, 07:41 AM
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Kavey, in late 2001 I stayed in St.Lucia for four days, at the Makakatana Bay Lodge near the St. Lucia Wetland Park. Tel 27 35 550 4189 (ask for Franci or Leigh-Ann Morrision). Their FAX is 27 35 550 4198. Email to [email protected] or [email protected]. I handled arrangementss directly with them via internet. They provide offer ranger guided tours on the lake, beach and Indian Ocean. The drive south from Hluhluwe takes an hour or so, along N2. Fairly fast. Durban is probably another two hours by N2. If you have questions, do post, and I'll try to help.
 
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Oct 21st, 2003, 08:06 AM
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Coasty are you itlyen?
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Oct 21st, 2003, 08:07 AM
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Oops! Didnt intend to make a pig - I just did this (without spaces) and Fodors did it!

: O )

Teach me to be too lazy to preview!
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Oct 21st, 2003, 08:51 AM
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I sent a query off to Makakatana and will see what rates they can offer...
Thanks
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Oct 23rd, 2003, 03:24 AM
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I'm holding lodging at Mpila for 2 nights from 25/05/2004 at a rate of 580 ZAR per night for a 2 bed safari tent.

That's sorted.

But a Hilltop 2 bed self catering chalet has been quoted at 988 ZAR per night. That's a lot more than I had expected for self catering.

Alternatively, for the 2 nights after Mpila I have this offer from Ubizane:

Zululand Safari Lodge
R530.00 per ROOM per night, Self Catering
R770.00 per ROOM (2 adults) per night, Bed & Breakfast

Zululand Tree Lodge
R1050.00 per PERSON per night, Inclusive of 3 meals & 2 game drives per day.

I'm tempted by either SC or B&B at Ubizane over Hilltop but am unsure about game drives - I assume it will cost me same to drive into Hluhluwe each day as it would if I were staying inside it?

Anyone know rhino population for Ubizane?

THANKS
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Oct 23rd, 2003, 10:17 AM
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Kavey, we stayed at Zululand Tree Lodge in November 1999. It wasn't nearly so expensive then -- the property had just been bought by new owners and was in sort of a transitional state. We loved it.

I don't know about the size of the rhino population, but the visibility of it is great. We saw two families and a few others over a 2-day stay. We were even able to leave the vehicle and walk and then sit very close to a group of four rhinos, about 15 yards from them. Fairly thrilling!
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Oct 23rd, 2003, 11:16 AM
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Oh Celia
Marvellous!
You've put my mind at rest.
Do you happen to recall if Ubizane is fenced off from Hluhluwe or open boundaries?
THANKS so much
I had really expected to stay at Hilltops, it's a name I'd come across very early on in research, but prices are definitely higher in 2004 than I had anticipated...
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Oct 24th, 2003, 09:16 AM
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It was fenced in 1999. Thinking it over, the R1050 doesn't seem too expensive for full board and two game drives.

Yes, marvelous is what it was, being right there on the rhino's own turf!
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