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uMfolozi Big Five Reserve: Mthembu Lodge



Walk in the footseteps of giants on this historical piece of land which was once King Shaka Zulu’s hunting ground. In addition to the great Zulu kings, conservation legend Dr Ian Player also spent his time in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park where he began Operation Rhino in the 1960s. uMfolozi Big Five Reserve is a private concession adding 6000 hectares to the oldest proclaimed protected wilderness area in South Africa. Offering luxurious, eco-sensitive lodges, which are completely off the main power and water supplies.

Operating off the grid in a pristine cosystem, the luxury lodges are elegant with a Zulu-inspired style. Guests at Mthembu Lodge are treated to safaris over 6000 hectares of unspoilt wilderness and games drives within the greater Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve. The Experience Collector can join in the drumming and singing as Zulu youth showcase their warrior dances. Hear tales of old, of wild animals, and historical personalities as you end the day around the fire pit.


Mthembu Lodge is set among the thickets of a low embankment of the White Umfolozi River. Close enough for comfort, and built to accentuate private views – each private villa is joined to the main guest areas by a raised wooden walkway. Unlike traditional safari lodges, Mthembu’s modern interiors are minimalistic with a touch of Zulu textures. From the lounge, to the bedroom, to the bathtub – the forest and river are in full view in every space.



The Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park is the oldest proclaimed protected Game Reserve area in South Africa, dating back to 1895. It is in these valleys where King Shaka of the Zulus, unbeknownst to the world, pioneered a culture of conservation long before the concept was coined by European settlers. It is here, amidst these ancient hills, where uMfolozi Big Five Reserve is located.

Address: Hluhluwe Game Reserve No 17439 At the Farm uMfolozi Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, 3901
Phone: +27 35 161 0300
Transfers can be arranged from King Shaka International Airport – please enquire with reservations regarding.
Driving time from King Shaka to Biyela Main Gate is 190km – 2.5 hours
Driving time from Richards Bay Airport to Biyela Main Gate is 80km – 1.5 hours
Helicopter Transfers can be arranged – 40min from Durban
Self Drive
Please do not use Google Maps.
A self-drive can be done but we do not recommend driving from King Shaka International Airport to Biyela Main Gate after 2pm.
Please inform reservations if you are planning a self-drive, and advise of your expected arrival time – our team will send you directions.
Please contact the lodge on +27 35 161 0300 for any direction-related enquiries.


uMfolozi Big Five Game Drives

A wilderness safari for the soul. Traverse over the hills and valleys of old, right here where King Shaka hunted for need long before conservation was a buzz word. uMfolozi...
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