Hluhluwe Umkhumbi Lodge

Hluhluwe Umkhumbi Lodge

The best-positioned lodge in the Hluhluwe wildlife area, Umkumbi Lodge is in the KZN region of South Africa also known as Zululand. Umkhumbi Lodge is a small low impact 12 room self-cater lodge perfectly situated within close proximity to all the best attractions and wildlife hotspots in this Big5 region of Hluhluwe Imfolozi.



Secure Parking

Family Friendly

Umkhumbi Lodge,

Offers a delightful accommodation and dining experience within Kuleni Game Park, Hluhluwe. Wildlife on-site include Zebra, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Nyala, Suni, Impala, Warthogs, duikers, vervet monkeys, banded mongoose, bush-babies and even occasionally leopards are spotted too, on the walking trails.

It is popular for its stunning birdlife with regular sightings of Pink-throated Twinspots, Narina Trogon, Eastern Nicator, and many more. The area is rich in wildlife, with nearby Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park for Big 5 safaris as well as the rich, varied ecosystems of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.


About Hluhluwe Umkhumbi Lodge

The Lodge is one of the best self-cater lodges in the area to stay if you want to get the most out of your time in Zululand. This is a family-friendly bush lodge near Hluhluwe town on the R 22/Sodwana Bay Road in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

The Red Duiker or Umkhumbi is where the name comes from, a shy small red antelope regularly seen picking its way across the forest floor.


Umkhumbi Lodge recently dropped fences with and is now part of KULENI GAME PARK – Wildlife on-site include,

Zebra, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Nyala, Suni, Impala, Warthogs, duikers, vervet monkeys, banded mongoose, bush-babies on the walking trails.A great safe place for children to experience wildlife up close.

It is popular for its stunning birdlife with regular sightings of Pink-throated Twinspots, Narina Trogon, Eastern Nicator, and many more.

Ideal for guided or self-guided walks where you can experience the various habitats and wildlife we have to offer.

The area is rich in wildlife, with nearby Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park for Big 5 safaris,

as well as the rich, varied ecosystems of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park which boast gems like the St Lucia Estuary,

The Eastern Shores, Cape Vidal, False Bay Park, Mkhuze Game Reserve and Sodwana Bay all within close proximity to Umkhumbi Lodge.



This is a great base for seeing the best in the area. Choose from a wide range of adventure activities, explore the rich Zulu culture,

Visit the historic battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift or relax on the Indian Ocean’s endless sandy beaches.

room view hluhluwe umkhumbi lodge

ROOMS AND SURROUNDINGS at Hluhluwe Umkhumbi Lodge

All 12 rooms have been carefully built in the forest, making sure the fragile ecosystem is preserved.

The best place to be if you have a passion for the outdoors and experiencing life in the bush with all the comforts you would expect at home.

All of the 12 rooms are extremely comfortable and spacious, with air-conditioning and en-suite facilities.

Our famous upstairs bar looks over the whole conservancy and offers the best sunsets in Zululand.

The ideal place to mingle with other guests and your hosts to swap stories of your adventures and travels. Also, the ideal opportunity to plan your activities during your stay with us.

The Lodge is renowned, and guests come back time and time again.



At Umkhumbi, we’re one happy family from the owners Emma and Anton and the managers Bianca and Andries our team who look after our guests like they are family.

Always on hand to make sure you have all the information and comforts you desire.

Chef Meva has been with us since just after we opened and is ready to prepare another delicious meal for you.

Ntombi, Philani, Lindy, and Juliet are the people that keep everything clean and tidy and help out at mealtimes.

All our staff will always go out of their way to ensure you enjoy your stay and are always ready to assist you in any way.

This family-friendly game lodge is their home and they make you part of it from the moment you arrive.



We pride ourselves in producing tasty fresh food, prepared on-site from fresh ingredients. We are delighted to announce that all eggs used are produced from our own free-range chickens.

DINNER consists of a starter, then a choice of the main meal, followed by dessert and coffee or tea.

BREAKFAST consists of a continental buffet as well as a made-to-order cooked breakfast.

Dining is much more than just fuel to us here. Chef Meva prides himself on presenting a perfectly prepared meal every time!

The menus are always well thought out to ensure that our guests get a culinary experience to complement the surrounding atmosphere.

We believe that there is no better way to relax and enjoy an African sunset than sipping cool drinks with friends over a sumptuous meal in our open-air dining area.


We Help

Investing in Youth

We strongly believe supporting the local community initiates and education the youth around us is the only way forward for conservation.

Currently, we are helping port, two young men, financially in their education. Iyenzeka Ndlazi, a local Hluhluwe boy from a disadvantaged background is at a high school in Durban and we give to help cover his uniforms, books, and transport back home over weekends.

We also help Fano Tembe, a very bright young man from Kosi Bay who is doing his degree in engineering.

Our student programs have a volunteering component where we enter the local schools to help renovate the school buildings and classrooms as well as donating school supplies to give the students an education to set them in good stead for the future.

All building materials and educational resources for our student projects are sourced within Hluhluwe to enable the town and its facilities to grow and improve.

This encourages both tourism and industry which creates jobs to lower the unemployment in the area and allow the people to stay within their home towns.



Youth Programs

We started our youth programs here in South Africa because we believe that experience is the best way to learn. We offer our Environmental Awareness Course to Students across the World, from as locally as Johannesburg and as far-flung as America.

We have worked with charities, high schools, universities, colleges, and even sports tours!

Our programs can be customized and tailor-made to complement nearly any syllabus; from history and geography to animal care and rugby we can make a trip that is relevant to you.



Guest chalets

Choose from:

2-sleeper en suite chalets (2 single beds)

2-sleeper en suite chalets (1 king-size bed)

4-sleeper family chalets (2 en suite rooms, 1 king-size, 2 single beds).

We have cots and extra beds and are happy to put extra beds in your chalet if required and available.

  • Room Facilities
  • En suite bath and shower
  • Toiletries and towels
  • Air-conditioning
  • Fridge
  • Tea and coffee facilities
  • Coffee table and chairs
  • Outdoor private veranda with chairs


Accommodation Details

We have 12 rooms – all are air-conditioned and spacious with twin or double beds. Relax on the veranda with views overlooking the pristine unspoiled Sand forest.

All rooms have en-suite bathrooms, bath, and separate shower. Help yourself to the complimentary tea and coffee facilities and there’s a fridge for you to store food and drink.

The rooms are all private and quiet, but some are closer to the central area than others. Please ask if you would like a unit close by (if you have small children for example) or further away.



What facilities are provided at Hluhluwe Umkhumbi Lodge?


Umkhumbi’s Lapa – The main guest area

Lapa is a South African term for our main comen area building. It’s spacious, built entirely from locally sourced wood, and offers panoramic views over the dense canopy of wooded Sand Forest completely surrounding the lodge.

It’s the perfect place to chill out and watch the sun go down after a day exploring one of the many activities on offer in Hluhluwe and further afield.


Restaurant and Bar

Your meals are served here, produced by our wonderful Chef Meva. Everything’s freshly prepared and guests often comment on the quality (and quantity) of the cuisine.

An article in the Sunday Times by Shelly Seid puts it perfectly:

“Fresh, light, modern, and attractively presented. All allergies, intolerances, phobias and dislikes indulged.”

Spectacular sunsets viewed from our upstairs bar make for relaxing afternoons after your day’s activities.

Spend your evening swapping stories around the fire circle chatting and watching the stars or enjoying drinks on the top deck at the bar with other guests.

It’s a fun place to be, especially in the evening, as the team is on hand to answer your questions and help you plan the next day’s activities.

umkhumbi lodge lounge area

TV Lounge

We have a television at the bar lounge with DSTV for those all-important sporting events, or even if you just can’t miss your daily soap opera!

Other onsite facilities

Swimming Pool

We have a small pool in a secluded clearing where you can take a dip and cool off. Or relax on the sun loungers.

Kids play area

Near to the pool is a kids play area with climbing equipment, Tyre swing and such. Nearby are some hammocks and picnic tables under the trees for parents to relax while the children have fun.

Laundry service

Ask one of the team who’ll ensure your clothes come back fresh and clean.

WIFI Internet

Free WiFi internet and guest computer are available from the office if you can’t live without email or need to post up some great photos for your Facebook friends to share. Safe for locking away valuables

Remove worries by storing your stuff in our secure safe.

Walking trails

There’s a lot to see in the immediate area of the lodge. Kuleni game park, of which we are part, has a variety of wildlife including giraffes, zebras, warthogs, and wildebeests.

You can get surprisingly close to the animals on foot. Let us know if you’d like a guide. We also offer guided night trails free of charge -bush babies, chameleons, and other nocturnal residents are very common sightings.

Travel information

If you’re the independent traveler (many of our guests are), and need some advice on journey times and routes, speak to us about your needs. You’ll get reliable information on how long and how to get there… and if you’ll need a 4×4 to do it!

Shuttle service to and from any location

Let us know where you need to get to and we’ll take care of the rest – we’ve got closed 4x4 s available. The cost is dependent on distance and is available on request.

Visa and MasterCard facility Both accepted or cash.


We have hairdryers, plug adapters and a small selection of toiletries if you need them. Please ask at reception.



How to get to Hluhluwe Umkhumbi Lodge


Umkhumbi Lodge offers accommodation in Kuleni Game Park, just off the R 22  about 15 minutes outside Hluhluwe on the way to Sodwana Bay. We are approximately 30 minutes from Hluhluwe iMfolozi Game Reserve for wildlife safaris.

The nearest airports are Durban King Shaka International and Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal on the east coast of South Africa.

Drive time from Richards Bay is 1.5 hours

Drive time from King Shaka International Airport – Durban is 2.5 hours

Drive time from Johannesburg is approx 7 hours


From Johannesburg or Swaziland in the North

Make your way to the N2 that heads to Durban. Pass Pongola, Golela Border Post, Josini turn off and Mkuze Town, pass the Phinda turn off until you reach the Hluhluwe / Sodwana Bay R 22 turn off.

From Durban or Richards Bay in the South

Make your way to the N2 Northbound. Pass Richards Bay, Kwambonambi, Mtubatuba and Bushlands turn offs until you reach the Hluhluwe / Sodwana Bay R22 turn off.

Detailed directions from the N2 / R 22 Turn off to Umkhumbi Lodge

From the N2 take the Hluhluwe/Sodwana Bay – R 22 turn off

Follow signs through Hluhluwe town towards Sodwana Bay – R 22

Turn right and cross over the railway track at the Sodwana Bay – R 22 sign before you reach the gravel road to Ilala Weavers.

After you cross the railway track, Umkhumbi Lodge is 16 km along the main road

Pass Zulu Croc and Badenhorst Boerdery signs, turn left off the R 22 at the Kuleni Game Park and Umkhumbi Lodge sign

Stop at the Kuleni Game Park Gate and the gate guard will open it for you.

The guard will direct you towards Umkhumbi, please follow the track to reception.


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There is so much to do around Hluhluwe and the Elephant Coast Area

Umkhumbi Lodge in Hluhluwe is perfectly positioned as an accommodation base to explore all the wonders of the Elephant Coast in KwaZulu-Natal. Our bush lodge is inside a private nature reserve and near to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, uMkhuze, iSimangaliso, and the St Lucia Wetlands.

All the below activities are easily done as day trips, so you can base yourself with us and fully explore the area. All activities can be done independently as a self-drive tour or as an organized private tour.

Guided and self-guided walking trails on the property and in nearby nature reserves.

4×4 Game Drive Safaris in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Big 5 and Mkhuze Game Reserves.

Turtle tours – experience Africa’s gentle giants – the magnificent Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles nesting on the beach (November – February).

Birding – over 900 species of birds can be found in the area in the various ecosystems of the Elephant Coast and there are a number of hotspots close to the lodge and in the nearby wetlands, game parks, pans and bays.

St Lucia Wetlands (Isimangaliso) is one of South Africa’s World Heritage sites and activities include kayaking, boat cruises and guided walks

The Sodwana Bay experience includes scuba diving and deep-sea fishing.

Tiger fishing - battle the legendary Tiger Fish at Lake Jozini.

Elephant encounters at Tembe Elephant Park.

Zulu Croc Centre – exhilarating close-up views of crocodiles and snakes at this sanctuary.

Get close and personal to African cats such as Serval and Cheetah.

Visit homesteads, a local school and experience everyday life with the proud Zulu community in our Cultural Tours.

Enjoy the great views over the expanses of the lake at False Bay – a great family day out.

FREE night walks – venture out at night to discover our nocturnal creatures, how many different species of Frogs can you find?

Purchase your souvenirs and local crafts and enjoy a spot of lunch at the nearby Ilala Weavers.

Explore abundant birdlife while kayaking and canoeing at Muzi Pan with the chance to see hippos and crocodiles.


Activities – Hluhluwe imfolozi Park

hluhluwe-imfolozi park day drives

About Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, now known as Hluhluwe-uMfolozi Park is the oldest game reserve in Africa. 25,000 hectares of the park were set aside as a ‘wilderness area’ in the 1950 s thanks to conservationist and Ranger Ian Player.

Originally a royal hunting ground in the Zulu Kingdom, the site was also the place of legendary battles fought by Shaka’s lieutenants.

It holds a prominent place in Zulu history and is one of Kwazulu-Natal and South Africa’s top wildlife attractions.


River beds, hilly slopes with valleys through to mountainous regions. Rising from sea level to a height of 540 meters.

Game Viewing

Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park is the only state park in Kwazulu- Natal where you can find the big 5: lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros. The white rhino population is the largest in the world.

But there’s much more to see with over 86 special species including Nile crocodile, hippo, bush-pig, nyala, snakes and lizards.


The reserve has a diverse population of over 300 birds. Birders have the chance to see Longclaw, Temmink’s Courser, Black-bellied Korhaan, Klaas’s Cuckoo, and Crested Barbet.


Booking and information

Options include a full-day, half-day, and 3-hour drives to suit your itinerary. Speak to us about your needs when you book, on arrival or nearer the time – that way we can let you know what the weather doing and provide local game reports too.

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve is approximately 30 minutes drive from Umkhumbi Lodge.


You’ll find it’s best to meet your open safari vehicle at the game reserve itself – Saving you from getting blown about in the chilly temperatures at 5 am!

Your guide will arrange the tickets at the gate as you transfer your binoculars and camera gear from your car to your game vehicle – don’t forget your breakfast packs!


Self Drive

There is no need to book to enter the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve and Umkhumbi’s only a 30-minute drive away!

Just pay your entry at the gate and you are free to explore. Take one of our maps with you (you’ll get a full brief on where’s best to go).


Meals for long days

If Want to get to the park as it opens at 6 am? Take one of our home-style breakfast packs for you to eat at your leisure in the park – You’ll find plenty of fantastic picnic sites, or you could even eat them as you wait for the elephants to cross the road.

Safari Essentials

If you’re traveling in open game vehicles, wear layers to stay warm to and from the park. It warms up later in the day – bring a bag to put your extra layers into!

The game vehicles have a roof to keep light rain and the sun off, but there are no sides.

Waterproofs are recommended (they will help keep the wind off when traveling as well). Most importantly, don’t forget your sun cream and insect repellent.

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Walking Safaris in the Wilderness Area

Is a drive in the park to tame for you? Looking for something more memorable?

How about an overnight wilderness trail in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi reserve? – You must book in advance as availability is limited. Please contact us by email for full details and availability.


Don’t miss visiting The Centenary Centre

In Imfolozi on the eastern side of the reserve – A great place to stop for lunch or just a break. Enter the large rondavel (roundhouse) filled with many different curios, or pick up hot food, drinks, and ice creams from the cafe. There’s also game capture bomas (enclosures).

These don’t always have animals in them, but you may be lucky and see a Rhino or antelope. The center was established to allow visitors to view animals in transit to their new homes.

Nyalazi gate imfolozi park

Gate fees

Visitors pay a park entrance fee of R 240 (subject to change) per person per day (children 50%). Persons with a South African ID get a discounted rate.


Activities – Mkhuze Game Reserve

About Mkhuze Game Reserve

Also known as uMkhuze, uMkuzi, uMkuze and Mkuze Game Reserve it is renowned for year-round bird sightings with a list of over 420 species.

One of the lesser-known reserves that make up the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, but not to be missed!



This 40 000 ha reserve is a place of great beauty and high contrasts with an astonishing diversity of natural habitats, from the eastern slopes of the Lebombo mountains along its eastern boundary to broad stretches of acacia savannah.

Swamps and a variety of woodlands and riverine forests. Even a type of sand forest occurs in the reserve which harbors the elusive sun.

As if that wasn’t enough,

The Mkhuze River curves along the reserve’s northern and eastern borders with a luscious fig forest along its banks.

It is not uncommon to see Fish eagles swooping over the pans, snatching their prey from their roosts in the lofty fever trees.

zululand game reserve mkuze game reserve

Game Viewing

This diversity of habitats means a wide variety of animal species including black and white rhinoceros, elephant, giraffe, nyala, blue wildebeest, warthog, eland, hippo, impala, kudu and other smaller antelope. Rare species occurring in the reserve are cheetah, hyena, suni and leopard.


There is now three-game viewing hides at pans within the reserve. These are the Kubube, Kamasinga, and Kwamalibala pans. Visitors park their cars and enter the hides on foot.


During the drier winter months,

large concentrations of the game may be seen at the waterholes, although this does depend on the amount of surface water e.g. recent rain in the reserve.

Visitors are therefore offered excellent views of most of the reserve’s larger mammals. These hides offer unique opportunities to photographers and many famous wildlife pictures have been taken in them.


Two of the largest, and most beautiful pans in the reserves, Nhlonhlela (in the North) and Nsumo (in the East) are home to communities of hippo, crocodile, pink backed and white pelicans, as well as a diverse selection of ducks and geese that gather in spring.



The reserve has a diverse population with over 420 birds meaning that whenever you visit the park there are plenty of different bird species to spot.

Birders have the chance to see pink backed and white pelicans, gorgeous bush shrikes, vultures, bee-eaters, and even a red-headed weaver has been seen recently in the park!

Guided birding walks may be booked at the camp office, and these take place twice daily starting at 06h00 in summer, and 15h00 in winter. Checklists with the 420 most regular sightings are available from the curio shop.


Mkhuze Game Reserve Activities:

There is A Zulu cultural village in the reserve which offers a glimpse of the traditional lifestyle and crafts of the KwaJobe community.

Birding, game viewing, and sitting quietly at the game viewing hides are the most popular activities in Mkhuze.

Night drives, guided walks, the 4x4 trail, and swimming are also available (some activities may be restricted to those staying within the park).

The reserve has 100 kilometers of tourist roads for game viewing.

Guided Game Walks can be booked at the camp office and these take place twice daily starting at 06h00 in summer, and 15h00 in winter.

Self Drive

A great self-drive option to one of the lesser-known parks in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (South Africa’s first World Heritage Site). Best known for its abundant birdlife (approximately 420 species).

Also good sightings of Buffalo, Black Rhino, White Rhino, Elephant, Wild Dog, Leopard.

There is no need to book to enter the Mkhuze Game Reserve (about 1 hour from Umkhumbi Lodge). Just pay your entry at the gate and you are free to explore.

Meals for long days

Want to get to the park as it opens at 6 am? Take one of our home-style breakfast packs for you to eat at your leisure in the park – You’ll find plenty of fantastic picnic sites, or you could even eat them as you wait for the elephants to cross the road.

There is also a take-Away, the “Rhino Dine-O” which is open in the morning/noon and evening be sure to check the opening times for the day before planning your lunch stop!

Where to stay

It is possible to stay within the reserve, there are both chalets/cabins and camping areas. Or you can take your pick from a good cross selection of nearby accommodation.

Staying outside of the main reserve allows you the freedom to explore everything in and around Hluhluwe and the prices are much more affordable! But we recommend Umkhumbi Lodge 

Safari Essentials

Please note, if you’re traveling in open game vehicles, they have a roof to keep light rain and the sun off, but there are no sides.

Waterproofs are recommended (they will help keep the wind off when traveling as well). Most importantly, don’t forget your sun cream and insect repellent.

Gate fees

Visitors pay a conservation fee (subject to change) per person per day replacing entry fees. South Africans get a discount.

Gate entry times: Summer (1 October – 31 March) 05:00 – 19:00, Winter (1 April – 30 September) 06:00 – 18:00. These times are strictly enforced.

Office hours are from 08:00 – 16:30 daily. Sundays and Public Holidays are 08:00 – 16:00 daily.


Activities – for children

Fun for Kids

We are a family-friendly lodge: we have family chalets and we welcome children of all ages. But we know that what’s important to parents is what the children can do here to keep busy and have fun!


What can children do at Umkhumbi?

At Umkhumbi we have a kids’ play area, a swimming pool and at the lounge we have a pool table and a selection of puzzles and games for older kids, and for younger children we have a drawing table and a chalkboard as well as age-appropriate games.

We have two young people who live here at the Lodge. They are 16 and 9 years old and always enjoy the company of visiting children.

We know that many parents want to get their kids away from technology and into nature.

We love kids and one of our staff will be happy to entertain your children in a fun and educational way.

Perhaps we can take them on a nature trail, track giraffes, look for scorpions and frogs, teach them how to start a campfire, or toast some marshmallows.

Hopefully, we will keep them so busy that they don’t notice we also have WiFi and a TV…

What activities nearby are suitable for children?

Traveling with children can be difficult. Several of the activities nearby do have a minimum age limit. However, there are still things you can do.

Self-drive safari. Safari operators will often not take children under 7 years old, but you can still do those safaris in your own vehicle.

Young kids will be excited to see elephants and giraffes and can make noise in your car or fall asleep as they like. You aren’t bound by any set times and can have a great day out.

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Boat trips. Boat trips in St Lucia take children of all ages and they can have fun seeing hippos yawning or trying to spot crocodiles from loggodiles.

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Sodwana Bay. Sodwana bay’s beach is perfect for a day out with children of all ages. Smaller kids can paddle in the rock pools, look for fish and crabs and build sandcastles on the beach, while older kids can swim and snorkel or boogieboard on the waves.

Crocodile center. Children can learn about crocodiles and see some great reptile displays.

Cultural tours. Children of all ages are able to join the tour of the modern rural village. It is a walking tour but distances are not great. They will also enjoy a more traditional Zulu show at the cultural village nearby.

bayete zulu

Elephant interaction. Children are able to do the elephant interactions but we don’t recommend it for children younger than 5.


Activities – At Umkhumbi

  • Bird Watching

Guided or self-guided bird-watching walks within Umkhumbi and Kuleni Game Park may delight and surprise you with some great avian species to be found.

Trips to the various birding hotspots close to Umkhumbi Lodge will afford an opportunity to spot a great number of species.

Destinations include Mkuze, Muzi pan, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, St Lucia, Ndumo, and False bay to mention only a few.

Our knowledgeable guides will point you in the right direction to increase your chances of seeing the more elusive species such as twinspots, Pels fishing owl, African broadbills and many more.

Walking trails

Kuleni Game Park has a network of walking trails that you can explore at your leisure.

We have many of South Africa’s wildlife species within our conservancy, including warthogs, zebras, giraffe, nyalas, impalas, wildebeest etc. Perhaps you’ll be lucky to spot a honey badger or some of our rarest antelopes; suni.

  • Night walk/drive

Armed with our ultraviolet light and a strong spotlight we venture out at night in search of elusive nocturnal creatures. Various snake and scorpion species can be encountered and the occasional sleeping chameleon makes every evening different. Frogs:

With up to 50 different species, we venture out at night to find these fascinating little creatures. Try something different, these colorful little critters will amaze you.

Your informative guide will make sure that you have the best possible chance of observing these animals in a safe environment.

Elephant interaction

About the Elephant Interaction

This is one of the most popular activities for our guests. Approximately 45 minutes drive from Umkhumbi is Bayete Zulu where we can get up close and personal to African Elephants like very few places.

Discover why Elephants are so popular and see the human-like intelligence in their eyes at this reserve in South Africa.

Rambo the adult bull African elephant was hand-reared by humans after becoming an orphan. So strong is the bond between Rambo and his keepers that he would go down onto his elbows (that’s right elephants have two elbows!) and peer into the hut of one of his keepers every single morning.

Even after his keeper had to leave the country he would still go to the hut for months to look for him – Rambo, Rachel and Jabulani love their human friends.

In fact they love humans so much that they will even protect them from predators! The keepers of this free-roaming elephant family have no fear as they walk beside their tall companions whilst they forage in the KwaZulu Natal bush – even past the lions!

The Elephant Encounter begins we wait for Rambo to lead his small family to the interaction area from wherever they have spent the morning exploring.

The in house specialist will give you a fascinating talk about the three majestic elephants that stand before you (two majestic elephants, baby Jabu is still too young to act majestic and is instead a little mischievous!).

You will learn facts about elephants that you had not even considered e.g. What does an elephant's tongue feel like? Do elephants have baby teeth?

You might even get the chance to touch Rambo and feed Rachel as well as watching Jabulani annoy his parents with his naughty antics.

Just imagine standing next to a towering elephant as he gently sniffs you with his trunk, his flapping ears causing a gentle breeze – it’s not an experience you will forget in a hurry!

Family fun

TO the best of our knowledge there are no age restrictions, although very small children may not be allowed to touch Rambo (this is up to the keepers on the day).


Situated near Bayala. Drive time approximately 45 minutes from Umkhumbi.



Bookings must be made in advance.

We can book the elephant interaction for you before or during your stay with us.

We do not book this activity without accommodation. Please book directly at Bayete if you do not need accommodation and only wish to do the elephant interaction.



Winter 10:30 am

Summer 10:00 am


cheetah facts

Cheetah rehab

A visit where we get close and personal to African cats like very few places. This is a rehabilitation center for various African Cats such as Serval.


Enjoy an interpretive talk by the in house specialist. You may even get to touch a fully grown Cheetah.


Cultural tours

An eye-opening visit to a nearby rural area where a local guide will take you on a walking tour of his or her village.

You visit homesteads, a local school (if it is a school day), and experience everyday life with the proud Zulu community as it is today.

Your guide will also give some insights into the old traditions and culture of the Zulus.


False Bay park

Perfect self-drive or guided option. A great birding hotspot. False Bay is the top end of Lake St Lucia in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park – South Africa’s first World Heritage Site. Enjoy the great views over the expanses of the lake.

Explore along the shoreline where there is an abundance of waders and water birds, reedbuck, bushbuck, and even the Ammonite fossils that lie exposed when the water levels are low.


Zulu Croc

Learn about these ancient creatures. See various crocodile species and alligators at this facility. Guided tour and informative snake talk are a must-do.

You may even get the chance to see them being fed.


Muzi Pan Kayak

A little known opportunity to explore this nearby expanse of water, best known for its abundant birdlife and the chance to see hippos and crocodiles.


Ila la Weavers

The best place to purchase your souvenirs and local crafts for those back home. Best known for its hand-woven Zulu baskets where top quality is always guaranteed.


Sodwana Bay: Deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, beach

One of the best known big game fishing locations in South Africa. Sodwana Bay – part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site – is well known for its marlin and sailfish as well as many other game fish such as giant kingfish, barracuda, and dorado.


Your experienced skipper will ensure to make the most of your experience fishing in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

3 night safari package south africa

St Lucia Boat Cruise

2-hour boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary getting you close to all the wildlife on the waterways of South Africa’s first World Heritage Site – iSimangaliso Wetland Park.


Joining Kuleni Game Park

EXCITING NEWS!        Umkhumbi Lodge – Hluhluwe

We are delighted that after successful negotiations with our closest neighboring properties.

Umkhumbi Lodge has dropped fences and is now part of the larger conservation area known as KULENI GAME PARK.

This is a great development for small scale conservation, as the wildlife from all properties will now be able to roam further, and will be able to improve their genetics through the mixing of a larger gene pool.

What does this mean for guests of Umkhumbi Lodge?

This is GREAT for Umkhumbi’s guests as they will have access to a larger network of walking trails throughout the Kuleni Game Park, and cycling is also permitted.

There will also be a greater variety of wildlife that one can come across on foot.

Wildlife to be seen include all of the previous mammalian species:  Nyalas  –  Impalas  –  common duikers   –  red duikers  –  suni  –  vervet monkey  –  banded mongoose  –  slender mongoose  –  thick-tailed bush babies and

NEW EXCITING species include:


The outlook for BIRD-WATCHING enthusiasts has also improved as there is more grassland, and you can find such notable species as Green Twinspots and African Broadbills as well as our readily seen woodland species (including Pink-throated Twinspots, Narina Trogons, and Eastern Nicators).

Our rates and services have not changed..

Guests can still enjoy the personal care we have always offered along with good, freshly prepared meals and drinks at our treetop bar.

A reminder of our room-types: En-suite Doubles, En-suite twins, and Family chalets are available.

The only operational change will be that guests will enter through the MAIN KULENI GATE which is just before the old gate and very easy to find.

Gate hours are 06h00 to 22h00 (special provision can be made for emergencies or delays where necessary). The gate is manned and guests will be directed to Umkhumbi a short distance from the gate.

If you would like to stay at Umkhumbi Lodge please go to our bookings page and we will make a booking for you.



Useful Travel Information



New immigration rules require children under 18 to travel to South Africa to carry extra paperwork. All children need an unabridged birth certificate.

If traveling with only one parent listed on the birth certificate or with a school group, further documents are required. Please contact us for further information, or check with your airline, as they will have details of the latest requirements.


Medical information

Immunizations are recommended when traveling to South Africa – don’t worry, it’s worth it! It is recommended that you make an appointment to see a healthcare provider at least 6 weeks prior to departure so that they can give you advice dependant on the areas and activities you will be undertaking.



Hluhluwe is in a low-risk malaria zone. According to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority, the threat of malaria in this area has almost entirely been removed due to close co-operation between Swaziland, Mozambique, and South African governments.


As with all diseases, prevention is better than cure and we recommend that you take precautions. In the winter months (April to September) we rarely see mosquitoes, but in the summer months (October to March) mosquitoes will be around if we have good rainfall.

Doctors recommend using mosquito repellent and covering up exposed skin in the evenings.

Anti-malarial drugs are not generally recommended for low-risk malarial zones. However, if you are passing through Kruger Park or Swaziland you may wish to take anti-malarial – this is a matter of personal choice to be discussed with a healthcare professional.

Other medical info

From October 1st, 2011, all travelers (from one year of age) require proof of yellow fever vaccination when traveling from (regardless of the amount of time spent at the airport if passing through) a country with risk of Yellow Fever transmission.

This includes the following countries with low potential for exposure: Somalia, Tanzania, and Zambia, Sao Tomé, and Principe. All travelers not meeting this requirement can be refused entry to South Africa or on admittance be quarantined for up to 6 days. Unvaccinated travelers require a valid medical waiver to be admitted into South Africa.

Drinking water

Our water is safe to drink – we are on the municipal line and the water is treated.

Currency –

The currency in South Africa is the Rand. Similar to the pound, 1 Rand = 100 cents. Its weakness against the dollar and the pound makes South Africa the perfect holiday destination. The notes R 10, R 20, R 50, R 100, R 200 are decorated with the ‘Big 5’ – so be sure to take a look.


Gratuities (tipping) whilst not demanded can be an ‘expected’ custom. Frequent travelers have found it useful to have a small supply of change for such an occasion. Below is an example of suggested amounts:

Car guards – R 2 – R 5 (not necessary in areas where you have paid for parking)

Petrol attendants – R 2 – R 5 (dependent on service; windscreen, oil, water, etc.)

Waiters/waitresses – minimum 10% of meal total (depending on service – waiters/waitresses get paid very little for long hours and rely on tips)