During our time in South Africa, we had an opportunity to visit a number of great National Parks and safari destinations. We were lucky enough to spot the Big Five while in Kruger National Park, but when an opportunity came up to visit South Africa’s oldest nature reserve – Hluhluwe iMfolozi National Park, we couldn’t say no.
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The park is known for its population of white rhinos, which is the largest in the world, as well as its diversity of wildlife which includes over 80 other species of mammals.
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Our base at Hluhluwe iMfolozi National Park was the Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge, a beautiful Fair Trade Certified eco-lodge, offering amazing views of the surrounding park.
About Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge
True to its name, the Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge, is located on a ridge inside the iMfolozi Park, just an hour north of Durban. It’s the only private lodge in the park offering an eco-luxe accommodation option with a focus on outstanding service and conservation.
The lodge features a slick contemporary design with natural finishes and a deck that extends along one side of the lodge, 11-metre infinity lap pool, sundeck and spa.
There are four types of accommodation available to guests at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge.
- Safari Room – spacious room with a King bed, private bathroom and shower, featuring glass sliding doors opening onto expansive bushveld views
- Safari Family Suite – two safari rooms connected with a hallway, ideal for families travelling with children
- Luxury Bush Villa – King room with an open plan design with a lounge area, a cozy fireplace, and a large viewing deck
- Honeymoon Villa – spacious, secluded villa with a King Bed and sweeping views of the bushveld and a private plunge pool. Luxury at its best!
The highlight of each room is the spectacular bushveld views surrounding each unit. The large windows not only let in lots of natural light but also the sights and sounds of the South African bush.
During our visit, we stayed in the Safari Room and found it to be ideal for our stay. It was just big enough to fit our luggage and camera equipment, but still small, offering that nice cozy feeling.
We particularly loved the sustainable touches in the room. As a single-use-plastic free property, water in the minibar came in refillable glass bottles and toiletries like shampoo and soap were provided in refillable dispensers at no extra charge.
Food & Drink
Our accommodation at Rhino Ridge was on a full board basis and includes meals and twice-daily game drives.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were served in the lodge’s main dining room. Breakfast was served after the morning drive and consisted of baked goodies, fruits, as well as a selection of hot dishes.
Light lunch was served just before the afternoon drive and consisted of salads and dips and other light snacks. Dinner is a fancier affair and consisted of 3 courses. We were able to choose from a set menu with meat and vegetarian options. The dishes were lovely and very well plated.
Game Drives in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
Our stay at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge included two daily game drives accompanied by a dedicated local guide. The vehicles were shared with other guests, but the cars were spacious and we didn’t mind. Sharing vehicles is one of the many ways that Rhino Ridge works to minimize their impact on this fragile environment.
The guides at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge were wonderful, showing true respect for the animals in the park and offering a wealth of knowledge on animal behaviours and the surrounding ecosystems in Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park.
The park is particularly famous for the dense population of rhinos and we were lucky to spot a few dozen of them during our time inside the park. Aside from the rhinos, we also spotted lots of other game, giraffes, lions, and even a pack of wild dogs!
Sustainability at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge
Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge makes every effort to have a minimal impact on the environment, empower the local community, and protect the rhino population.
The local Mphembeni community owns the land on which the lodge is built and offers training programs that have been implemented to provide meaningful employment to the previously disadvantaged community. At this time, 97% of the staff at the Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge are from the local community.
Rhino Ridge lodge is a single-use-plastic free accommodation that operates exclusively on solar electricity. The property is part of the Isibindi Africa Lodges, which is committed to conservation and community empowerment.
Just this year Rhino Ridge Lodge, on behalf of Isibindi Africa Lodges, donated over R40 000 of camping equipment to the Anti-Poaching Unit in iMfolozi Game Reserve.
The Bottom Line
Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park may not be the most visited park in South Africa, but that’s precisely its appeal.
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The park offers the opportunity to spot rhinos without the crowds and the Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge offers a wonderful experience and comfortable accommodation option for anyone looking to take it slow and enjoy some comforts while staying in the bush.
Disclaimer: Our stay at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge was provided courtesy of Isibindi Africa Lodges. However, all opinions expressed in this article are entirely our own.