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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

iMfolozi Game Reserve / uMfolozi Game Reserve

Afrikaans name: iMfolozi-Wildtuin

Zebras block the road in iMfolozi Game Reserve

Zebras in iMfolozi Game Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert


A 3 hour drive up the north coast from Durban will bring you to iMfolozi Game Reserve. This reserve was established on 30 April 1895 which makes it the oldest game reserve in South Africa.

The iMfolozi Game Reserve is linked with the Hluhluwe Game Reserve and together they are called the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Visitors to either Hluhluwe Game Reserve and iMfolozi Game Reserve are freely able to visit the other park.

The main camp in iMfolozi is Mpila camp which sits on top of some hills. Other camps in the park are Masinda Lodge, Gqoyeni Bush Lodge and Hlatikhulu Bush Lodge.

Mpila Camp is only fenced to keep out Elephants so a wide variety of game may be seen around the huts. Impala, Burchell's Zebra, Warthog, Nyala and Vervet Monkey can be seen during the day. At night one should keep a cautious eye out for the Spotted Hyenas which snoop around (don't feed them!). On my last visit Lions killed and ate an Impala next to my car so be very careful after dark.

iMfolozi is world-renowned for its conservation of White Rhino. Over the years the population was built up to the point where the park is able to provide them to other game reserves. At the Centenary Centre there is a take-away restaurant as well as a small museum documenting rhino capture over the years. It is really well worth a visit and a good place to spend some time during the heat of the day.

Other mammals which may be seen include Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Giraffe, Wild Dog, Leopard and many more. There is also a substantial check list of birds that have been recorded in the reserve.

Nyala at Mpila Camp in iMfolozi Game Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Nyala are often shy creature but these youngsters were strolling amongst the huts at Mpila Camp. Below - Other mammals to be seen in the camp include Impala, Burchell's Zebra, Vervet Monkey, Spotted Hyena and Warthogs. Be aware that Lion can, and do, also enter the camp on occasion.

Impala and Zebra at Mpila Camp in iMfolozi Game Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Lion at iMfolozi Game Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - iMfolozi Game Reserve is home to the Big 5. Out of the Big 5 the 3 that you should see are Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino. There is a chance of seeing Lion but Leopard is always a challenge. This magnificent male Lion was one of two lurking around near a water hole to the west of Mpila.

2 bedded hut at Mpila Camp in iMfolozi Game Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - There is a wide variety of accommodation available at Mpila Camp. It is not really fenced and many mammals find their way into the camp. Some of these are harmless and others are somewhat dangerous! Be careful after dark... This particular hut is one of the row of 2-bedded huts near the main entrance to the camp. They have an amazing view out over the reserve. In the heat of the day you can sit on the veranda and watch Elephants in the river a few kilometres away.

Mammals of iMfolozi Game Reserve

Please note that this is only a guide and, while we have made every effort to be accurate, we can't be held responsible for any errors.


African Elephant

Antbear / Aardvark

Black Rhino

Black-backed Jackal

Blue Wildebeest

Brown Hyena

Burchell's Zebra

Bush Pig


Cape Buffalo

Cape Clawless Otter

Cape Porcupine

Chacma Baboon


Common Duiker



Honey Badger






Mountain Reedbuck


Red Duiker


Rock Hyrax

Scrub Hare


Slender Mongoose

Spotted Hyena



Striped Polecat

Vervet Monkey


Water Mongoose


White Rhino

Wild Cat

Wild Dog

List of Birds of iMfolozi Game Reserve (uMfolozi)

Some of the birds that may be seen in the iMfolozi Game Reserve

Crested Francolin

Natal Spurfowl

Crested Guineafowl

Helmeted Guineafowl

White-faced Duck

Egyptian Goose

Spur-winged Goose

African Black Duck

Yellow-billed Duck

Red-billed Teal

Lesser Honeyguide

Red-throated Wryneck

White-eared Barbet

Black-collared Barbet

Crested Barbet

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill

Crowned Hornbill

Trumpeter Hornbill

Southern Ground-Hornbill

African Hoopoe

Narina Trogon

European Roller

Lilac-breasted Roller

Malachite Kingfisher

Brown-hooded Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher

White-fronted Bee-eater

Little Bee-eater

Speckled Mousebird

Red-faced Mousebird

Burchell's Coucal

Brown-headed Parrot

Purple-crested Turaco

Grey Go-away-bird

African Scops-Owl

Spotted Eagle-Owl

Marsh Owl

Speckled Pigeon

Laughing Dove

Cape Turtle-Dove

Red-eyed Dove

Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove

Tambourine Dove

Blue Crane

Black Crake

Common Moorhen

Three-banded Plover

Blacksmith Lapwing

African Wattled Lapwing

Crowned Lapwing

Black-shouldered Kite

Black Kite

African Fish-Eagle

White-backed Vulture

White-headed Vulture

Black-chested Snake-Eagle

African Marsh-Harrier

African Harrier-Hawk

African Goshawk

Little Sparrowhawk

Black Sparrowhawk

Steppe Buzzard

Jackal Buzzard

Tawny Eagle

Martial Eagle

Long-crested Eagle


Lanner Falcon

Little Grebe

African Darter

Reed Cormorant

Black Heron

Little Egret

Great Egret

Grey Heron

Black-headed Heron

Purple Heron

Cattle Egret


Hadeda Ibis

African Sacred Ibis

African Spoonbill

Yellow-billed Stork

Black Stork

Woolly-necked Stork

White Stork

Saddle-billed Stork

Marabou Stork

Black-headed Oriole

Square-tailed Drongo

Fork-tailed Drongo

African Paradise-Flycatcher

Black-backed Puffback

Southern Boubou

Chinspot Batis

Pied Crow

White-necked Raven

Red-backed Shrike

Common Fiscal

Magpie Shrike

Grey Cuckooshrike

Southern Black Tit

Barn Swallow

Dark-capped Bulbul

Sombre Greenbul

Long-billed Crombec

Cape White-eye

Rufous-naped Lark

Groundscraper Thrush

Olive Thrush

Southern Black Flycatcher

Fiscal Flycatcher

African Dusky Flycatcher

Red-capped Robin-Chat

White-browed Scrub-Robin

African Stonechat

Mocking Cliff-Chat

Black-bellied Starling

Cape Glossy Starling

Red-billed Oxpecker

Olive Sunbird

Grey Sunbird

Amethyst Sunbird

Scarlet-chested Sunbird

Collared Sunbird

White-bellied Sunbird

Spectacled Weaver

Southern Masked-Weaver

Village Weaver

Red-billed Quelea

Southern Red Bishop

Fan-tailed Widowbird

White-winged Widowbird

Thick-billed Weaver

Common Waxbill

Blue Waxbill

Green-winged Pytilia

Bronze Mannikin

Red-backed Mannikin

Pin-tailed Whydah

Long-tailed Paradise-Whydah

House Sparrow

Southern Grey-headed Sparrow

African Pied Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Yellow-throated Longclaw

Cape Longclaw

Yellow-fronted Canary

Golden-breasted Bunting


Paper Wasps

CMR Bean Beetle

Sulphur Orange Tip

Blue Pansy

African Common White

Scarlet Tip

Southern Tree Agama

Marsh Terrapin


References and further reading

Atlas of National Parks and Reserves of South Africa - Author: Marielle Renssen - Year Published: 2006 - Page: 72

Chris and Tilde Stuart's Guide to Southern African Game and Nature Reserves - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 141

Conolly's Guide to Southern Africa - Author: Denis Conolly - Year Published: 1982 - Page: 214

Country Life - Issue 252 - Author: - Year Published: 2017 - Page: 32

go! - Issue 135 - Author: - Year Published: 2017 - Page: 52

Hit the Road - 2nd Edition - Author: MapStudio - Year Published: 2018 - Page: 191

Insider's Guide - Top Wildlife Photography Spots in South Africa - Author: Shem Compion - Year Published: 2010 - Page: 286

Maps of the Zululand and Maputaland Reserves - Author: Honeyguide Publications - Year Published: 2016 - Page: 2

On Route - A region by region guide to South Africa - Author: B.P.J. Erasmus - Year Published: 1995 - Page: 144

Places to Visit in Southern Africa - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1995 - Page: 156

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa - 4th edition - Author: - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 362

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 156

Road Tripping South Africa - Author: MapStudio - Year Published: 2014 - Page: 145

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 252

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 318

The Pictorial Motoring Atlas of South Africa - Author: Maxwell Leigh - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 135

Things to do in Moer & Gone Places - Author: Jacques Marais - Year Published: 2015 - Page: 64

Top Birding Spots in Southern Africa - Author: Hugh Chittenden - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 267

Where to see Birds in KwaZulu-Natal - Author: Bennett and Herbert - Year Published: 1995 - Page: 50

Where to see Birds in Natal - Author: Gordon Bennett - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 25

Where to Watch Birds in Southern Africa - Author: A. Berruti and J.C. Sinclair - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 176

Wild Issue 20 - Author: - Year Published: 2012 - Page: 14

Wild Issue 37 - Author: - Year Published: 2016 - Page: 44

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