Wildlife Encounters

While Durban itself is a busy urban centre, visitors will find a number of outstanding wildlife destinations within a few hours’ drive from the city. KwaZulu-Natal is a leading conservation area with a multitude of game parks and reserves. In the north are the Hluhuluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage site. A few hours inland is the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, another World Heritage Site that is home to abundant plant and birdlife. A number of smaller boutique game reserves such as Tala and GwaHumbe lie in the mid-Illovo region.


Phezulu Safari Park

Situated in the scenic Valley of a 1000 Hills, a short drive from Durban, Phezulu has a one hour scenic game drive where tourists will see wildebeest, impala, blesbok, zebra and giraffe. The venue also features a Crocodile and Snake Park with knowledgeable guides.

Visitors may visit traditional beehive shaped thatched huts, where the various artifacts, beliefs and rituals are explained, giving foreigners an insight into Zulu culture.

The Boma Restaurant serves meals ranging from traditional Zulu meals or crocodile steaks to toasted sandwiches and burgers.

Alverstone Wildlife Park

This 100ha reserve is ideal for hikers wanting to get closer to African natures, and the grasslands of Alverstone are dotted with zebra, impala, wildebeest and blesbok. The reserve is a mix of grassland and forest and is home to a wide variety of bird species. There are three waterfalls and two dams, with a pair of resident fish eagles taking flight to delight the viewer.

Perfect for avid hikers, photographers, ramblers or bird watchers.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Ezemvelo is a governmental organisation tasked with maintaining wilderness areas and public nature reserves in KwaZulu-Natal. With its headquarters in Pietermaritzburg, Ezemvelo manages 110 protected areas and focuses on biodiversity.

Reserves include:

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi (2h45m from Durban) – Established in 1895, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is in the heart of Zululand and is one of the few reserves under formal conservation in KwaZulu-Natal, and where the Big 5 live…the lion, rhino (black & white), elephant, buffalo and leopard.

Ithaca (4h25m from Durban) – big game species include white and black rhino, elephant, buffalo and numerous giraffe

Ndumo (4h50m from Durban) – Best known for its magnificent birdlife with the highest bird count in South Africa (some 430 species), Ndumo is also home to game such as nyala, bushbuck, impala, red duiker, suni, black and white rhino, hippopotamus and a very large population of crocodiles.

Hluhluwe Game Reserve

Established in 1895, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is in the heart of Zululand and is one of the few reserves under formal conservation in KwaZulu-Natal, and where the Big 5 live…the lion, rhino (black & white), elephant, buffalo and leopard.

A number of luxury safari operators can be found within this reserve.

Tala Private Game Reserve

This is a malaria-free wildlife sanctuary located in the hills of a peaceful farming community, close to Durban.

Home to more than 380 bird species, tourists will also find big game such as Rhino, Kudu, Hippo, Giraffe and the rare Sable antelope. Plant species found in this area include the Fiery Aloe, Euphorbia and Wild Sage.

The landscapes are characterized by a mix of acacia thornveld, open grassland and sensitive wetland, providing excellent game and bird viewing opportunities.

St Lucia Wetlands

The Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park (iSimangaliso Wetland Park) is considered South Africa’s third largest park and extends from Mapelane (Cape St. Lucia) in the South, to Kozi Bay Nature Reserve in the North.

The park has 280km of near pristine coastline and comprises of 328 000 hectares of an immense mosaic of habitats ranging from marine systems (coral reefs and beaches) and coastal forests, to lush coastal plains and drier woodland areas. iSimangaliso is home to a huge population of hippopotamus and approximately 1,000 crocodiles, as well as a wealth of plant and animal life including elephant, buffalo, rhino, zebra, eland and kudu. Wildlife Safaris on horseback are an unforgettable experience.