Hi folks, excuse my english…i’m french!
Discreet observer of the surrounding nature
We started our south african trip in the KwaZulu Natal. This region evokes the powerful Zulu people famous for their military tactics that have challenged the Boers and British colons.
The region is vast and the range of landscapes is impressive: mountains, midlands, bushes or even hundreds kilometers of coast facing the Indian Ocean… The province hosts incredible biodiversity that it is possible to discover thanks to the many protected nature reserves.
Visiting national parks, searching for the ‘Big Five’ (elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, lion and buffalo) is one of the country’s major tourist attractions. Kruger Park is the most famous but many other smaller reserves allow a simpler and more authentic approach.
About an hour and a half drive from Richards Bay (where we anchored), we choose the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Reserve, the oldest in the country.
Access is easy and you can move freely with your own vehicle. Different possibilities are available: an entrance fee for the day or sleeping on site in one of the many camps inside the reserve. We opted for a weekend in safari tent. A ‘kitchen hut’ closed by fences to avoid the visit of hyenas and a barbecue are there for a total independence and the immersion is real…
Once the provisions are stored, you just have to hit the road and this is where the magic starts… We were amazed: giraffes, zebras, impalas, warthogs a few meters from the car! We stoped and took the time to contemplate with a children smile on our faces. The emotion was great because they are majestic, powerful animals that are part of these images stored in your mind through books, cartoons, documentaries … We were the lucky and discreet observers of this strong nature.
After a few hours driving, a huge dark mass appeared on our right. It’s an elephant! We are alone on the road, the windows down and he crossed the road a few meters behind us …
After having a picnic (in an authorized place, do not try elsewhere!), we’ll have the chance to see rhinoceros and buffalos near the car.
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi park has the highest density of rhinos and has become the main actor of its protection. Despite all the authorities efforts, 9 rhinos were slaughtered a few months ago! The fight for the preservation of the species continues…