South Africa: Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
Location: KwaZulu-Natal Province
Programme leaders: Dirk Swart (Hluhluwe) and Lawrence Munro (iMfolozi)
Programme partner: Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Rhino species: Black rhino (Diceros bicornis minor) and white rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum)
Activities: Anti-poaching, monitoring
Support: We fundraise to pay for equipment for the monitoring and anti-poaching teams, such as digital cameras, GPSs, solar panels, rifle safes, camping gear etc
Funding partners: Colchester Zoo’s Action for the Wild fund, USFWS, Safari de Peaugres
iMfolozi Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province in South Africa is one of Africa’s oldest protected areas. It was proclaimed by the British colonial administration in 1895, but even prior to this had been the exclusive hunting domain of Zulu kings, including the legendary King Shaka. It is administered by Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife (EKZNW), the provincial nature conservation authority for KZN. Formerly known as Umfolozi Game Reserve, and administered by the Natal Parks Board, it became synonymous with rhino conservation during the last century. The Reserve was actually initially proclaimed to protect the last few remaining Southern white rhino in Africa.
Through the dedication and sheer hard work of staff in the Reserve, the number of white rhinos increased to the extent that, in the 1960s, Operation Rhino was launched. This saw excess rhinos in iMfolozi being captured and sent to restock reserves throughout Africa, as well as to many zoos overseas. Current management is continuing in the tradition of their predecessors, and the Reserve’s populations of both white and black rhinos have IUCN Key 1 status. The focus has shifted more to the more endangered black rhino, but each year ‘surplus’ white and black rhinos are still captured to restock other protected areas and game farms.
iMfolozi Game Reserve forms one contiguous area with Hluhluwe Game Reserve in the north, and together they are referred to as Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.
Our main contact is Dirk Swart, one of the five Section Rangers in HiP. Each half of the Park has an overall Conservation Manager, Sihle Nxumalo in Hluhluwe, and Patrick Sibeko in iMfolozi. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is managed by the state organisation, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
HiP is found on the East coast of South Africa
HiP is situated in north eastern KwaZulu-Natal, 50km inland from the ocean, just off the coastal plain. KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa.
Species / population size
South Central black rhino (D. b. minor) and Southern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum). Please note that individual population sizes are confidential.
The Park is made up of two Game Reserves, which are logistically managed separately but make up one eco-system: iMfolozi Game Reserve in the south and Hluhluwe Game Reserve in the north.
The Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park covers an area of approximately 900 square km, with altitudes ranging from 40-590 meters above sea level. The park is synymous with rhino conservation. . Logistically, the two sections are managed separately; however, ecologically they are managed as one Park. HiP is run by Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife (EKZNW), the conservation authority for the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.
Habitats in iMfolozi are primarily grasslands, which extend into acacia savannah and woodlands. Within iMfolozi is the large Wilderness Area, which has no roads and is very inaccessible, making it virtually impossible to patrol by vehicle.
The Hluhluwe region has hilly topography and the high ridges support coastal scarp forests in a well-watered region with valley bushveld at lower levels. The north of the Park is more rugged and mountainous with forests and grasslands.
HiP generates income from Park entry fees / conservation levies, and from the sale of surplus animals at game auctions; this is collected by EKZN Wildlife centrally and then reallocated to parks across the province. The level of support from EKZN Wildlife is not sufficient, particularly in the light of the upsurge in poaching, and SRI-generated support.
Visiting Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park has a number of lodges and campsites in the Park, bookable via the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife website. The iMfolozi Game Reserve offers a series of wilderness trails for longer hikes. SRI organises a Rhino Trek South Africa (next one likely to be in 2014) when participants walk through Somkhanda Game Reserve and Zululand Rhino Reserve before finishing in HiP.