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Best Game Reserves for Safaris in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN)

KwaZulu-Natal is home to some of South Africa’s most iconic wildlife. From elephants in iSimangaliso Wetland Park to rhinoceros in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve, these reserves offer visitors a glimpse into what makes this province so unique. Here are our top picks for visiting game reserves in KZN.

Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve

The Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of KZN’s most iconic animals, including elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and antelopes. It also has one of the largest populations of black rhinos in South Africa.

The park covers an area of more than 1 500 square kilometers with two sections: Hluhluwe (the northern section) and Umfolozi (the southern section). The northern section comprises three areas: Marakele National Park, Mkhaya Nkuza Game Reserve, and Zululand Plains Conservancy Project.

Phinda Private Game Reserve

Phinda Private Game Reserve is a luxury game reserve in northern KZN. It’s located in the Mkuze district, with a small part of the reserve spilling into the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Phinda Private Game Reserve offers a unique mix of activities that can be enjoyed by all ages, from sunrise walks to night drives or overnight camping trips. If you’re looking for something different from your standard safari experience, this should be at the top of your list!

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

iSimangaliso Wetland Park is located south of KwaZulu Natal, just a short drive from Durban. It’s home to over 2,000 animal species and boasts some of the most diverse ecosystems in South Africa.

The park has several different areas within it, including Siyanda Marsh Reserve, which is a wetland area with many birds and waterfowl; Umshini woman Forest Reserve for elephants; and Umthombo Wildlife Management Area, where you can see some rare antelope species such as leopards (Panthera Pardus) or black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas). If you want more than just a glimpse of these animals, consider visiting during your safari trip!

If you’re interested in seeing what else there is at iSimangaliso.

Thanda Game Reserve

Thanda is a large private reserve and one of Africa’s most famous safari destinations. It has magnificent game viewing opportunities on its extensive plains, home to herds of buffalo, elephants, and rhinos, as well as other animals like lions, leopards, and cheetahs. This is also one of South Africa’s best bird-watching spots, with over 300 species being spotted annually!

Thanda also offers excellent accommodation options, including luxury tents or self-catering lodges with full amenities such as kitchens that you can use when you’re not out on safari driving your vehicle around the park’s vast plains looking for animals (or birds).

iMfolozi Wilderness Trails

The iMfolozi Wilderness Trails is a private game reserve located in the iMfolozi Game Reserve near the border of KZN and Mpumalanga. This property offers excellent opportunities for hiking, birding, and cultural experiences as vast wilderness areas surround it with waterfalls and pans. It also provides easy access to some of the best attractions, such as Hwange National Park and Matusadona National Park.

The iMfolozi Wilderness Trails has been rated four stars by SA Tourism (2017) due to its wide range of activities available at this property, including game drives where you can see animals up close while they graze on their fruit trees or browse through shrubs looking for food sources; picnic spots where you can sit under an umbrella while enjoying your meal; fishing spots where guests can catch fish using traditional tools such as spears or hooks made out of bones, etc.; walking trails which lead hikers deep into untouched forests, so they get an opportunity not only see animals but also learn more about them through observing behaviors such as how they communicate while hunting prey together.


KZN has the best game reserves to offer if you are looking for an unforgettable safari. From Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve to Thanda Game Reserve, there is something for everyone!


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