Richards Bay and Hluhluve Game Reserve, South Africa - A Safari Day Trip

Richards Bay and Hluhluve Game Reserve, South Africa (1/15/2023) - A Safari Day Trip

Richards Bay has become a South Africa holiday destination with its year-round summer climate and beautiful scenery characterized by vast diversity and beaches blessed with warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Richards Bay Game Reserve was created in 1935 to protect lagoon animals including hippos and crocodiles and features 256 species of aquatic birds.

Zebras -Hluhluve-Imfoloza Game Reserve Richards Bay South Africa
Zebras - Hluhluve-Imfoloza Game Reserve
While in Richards Bay, we chose to do game viewing in Hluhluve-Imfoloza Game Reserve and a boat ride on St. Lucia Wetland Park booked through Viator. In a huge area of 350 square miles, Hluhluve-Imfoloza can provide a ‘Big Five’ and more game viewing experience. It also encompasses one of the most biologically diverse habitats with a mix of forest, woodland, savanna, and grassland. 

Elephant Hluhluve-Imfoloza Game Reserve Richards Bay South Africa
Elephant - Hluhluve-Imfoloza Game Reserve
There are about 1,250 species of plants and trees in the Hluhluve-Imfoloza Game Reserve. They emphasize conservation of the white rhino that was close to extinction and now they have the worlds largest white rhino population. Game viewing is usually good all year - the day we visited in January from Richards Bay it was hot and animals were less frequent.

White Rhino
Hluhluve is the oldest game reserve in Africa, declared by Zulu kings in 1895, and is an area of rounded hills and valleys known for good game and bird spotting. iMfoloza, the southern part of the park, is best known as the base for Operation Rhino in the 1950’s and 1960’s responsible for saving the white rhino (see photo) from extinction. They are now combined to form a single game park. Offering a unique biodiversity, it is a unique mix of forests, hilly terrain, open savannah, riverine forest, and wetlands.

Family of Hippos St. Lucia Wetland Park Richards Bay South Africa
Family of Hippos - St. Lucia Wetland Park
From our boat ride in the lagoon of St. Lucia Wetland Park, we greatly enjoyed our very close view of two hippo families and learning about this interesting animal (see photo). St Lucia Wetlands makes it the perfect location for over 400 bird species to thrive.

Alkantstrand Beach - Richards Bay

Richard’s Bay offers visitors entrance into Zululand and opportunities to learn about the interesting Zulu culture at various Zulu cultural villages. The main swimming beach is Blue Flag Alkantstrand Beach (see photo) with lifeguards, a restaurant, picnic spots, and warm Indian Ocean water. Activities enjoyed in Richards Bay include visiting the numerous art galleries, bird watching, fishing, swimming, surfing and canoeing.

Safari 'Big Five'

Interesting African Safari fact... The term “Big Five” originally referred to the difficulty in hunting the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African buffalo. These five large African mammal species were known to be dangerous and it was considered a feat by trophy hunters to bring them home.

Map - Hluhluve-Imfoloza Game Reserve
Although, animals are much more abundant in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Botswana’s Okavango Delta, and the game viewing and great migration in Kenya’s Masai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti, Hluhluve-Imfoloza Game Reserve makes for a fun game viewing excursion from Richards Bay.

Map - Richards Bay, South Africa
A word about South Africa’s ‘Load Sharing’
periodically electricity is lost randomly day and night. Hotels, restaurants, attractions, etc. are prepared for this because it happens daily. Commonly there is a light powered by a battery that you can turn on (we could read with it) and some places have backup generators. It would be good to bring a small flashlight to use at night while visiting Richards Bay.

Click on these links to view other places we visited in Southern Africa...

Cape Town, South Africa

Garden Route, South Africa

Stellenbosch Cape Winelands Wine Region, South Africa

Port Elizabeth & Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa - A Safari Day Trip

Durban and uShaka Marine World, South Africa 

Oudtshoorn & Cango Caves, South Africa

Hermanus, South Africa

Chobe National Park, Botswana - A Safari Day Trip

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe & Zambia

Walvis Bay, Namibia 

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