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Hluhluwe/Short Wilderness Trail or iSimangaliso/St. Lucia?

Conway, Arkansas
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Hluhluwe/Short Wilderness Trail or iSimangaliso/St. Lucia?

For our first-ever visit to Africa this August, we fly to Jo'burg, then take our rental car straight to Kruger for 4 full days (mostly self-guided touring, but we hope to arrange a morning and a night guided tour on arrival). Our budget and timeline limit us to a total of 4 days for our 2 other major game parks, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi and iSimangaliso Wetlands. Lonely Planet says that a three-day, two night walking trip (Short Wilderness Trail or Bushveld Trail) is a "once-in-a-lifetime experience", but that would leaves us only one day for St. Lucia, the Eastern Shore, etc. Or should we switch our priorities and spend 2-3 days exploring the St. Lucia area's ecological diversity, with a day's self-guided drive through H-I Park thrown in? Any and I mean any advice would be welcome!

Randburg, Gauteng...
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1. Re: Hluhluwe/Short Wilderness Trail or iSimangaliso/St. Lucia?

St Lucia is a wonderful area, and i would recommend exploring this area. There is so much to do there. Then do one day self drive in HI as you said. I recommend staying at Kingfisher B and B it is right on the edge of the forest and the walks into the forest yields incredible birdlife and small animals. Then contact the tourist info for things to do right as you enter the town on the right at the circle. They do whale watching, estuary cruises, and then ask about the night game drive as well in a Unimog. the Guide is fantastic and when we returned back to our guest house, there was a hippo walking in the road. There is a beach area as well, just a lovely area.

Lyn - Thorntree Tours and Safaris

2. Re: Hluhluwe/Short Wilderness Trail or iSimangaliso/St. Lucia?

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Northampton, United...
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3. Re: Hluhluwe/Short Wilderness Trail or iSimangaliso/St. Lucia?

Hello and I have had my reply taken off. I have travelled throughout KwaZulu Natal and have been on a wilderness weekend. It is something very special. However why not compromise and stay over in Imfolozi and take part in a bush walk to get a feel for it. I am sure then you may be tempted to return to the wilderness. You can then stay in St Lucia as well, visit the wetlands, Cape Vidal, do an estuary tour and join a whale watching trip.

Mark - owner - SafariKZN

Moose Jaw, Canada
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4. Re: Hluhluwe/Short Wilderness Trail or iSimangaliso/St. Lucia?

We spent time in that area in Feb 2011. We spent one night in St Lucia, and used it as a base for a one day trip into Isimangaliso Wetland Park which was great. We saw rhinos crossing the roads in front of us, plenty of kudu, zebra and others. We felt that was enough time for us, as our goal was Imfolozi, in which we spent 3 nights in one of the cabins. We enjoyed Imfolozi so much, and just drove that side of the park for the three days that we did not even make it over to the Hluhluwe side and did not feel as if we missed a thing. Excellent lion, rhino and elephant sightings and had hyenas through the camp at night. Never felt as if there were many other people there.

From what I recall, the distance from St Lucia to Imfolozi is a little misleading - it took longer than we thought. You enter the park but it was still a bit of a drive to where we considered the start of prime game viewing.

We had come down from Tembe Elephant Park, which if it could be fit into any budget, we highly recommend. More upscale than the National Parks, but for a couple nights well worth it.

Northampton, United...
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5. Re: Hluhluwe/Short Wilderness Trail or iSimangaliso/St. Lucia?

Just to add to the above comment I think its about one and half hours from St Lucia to Imfolozi. From Matubatuba its around fifty minutes and there are a few good places to stay there. Hluhluwe is different from Imfolozi, more rolling hills with tropical vegetation in places. Worth a visit and the sightings there have got better recently. Tembe I have visited a couple of times and here you will find the biggest elephants in Southern Africa. I worked it out that the cost between Imfolozi and Tembe is minimal if you get a good deal at Tembe which includes game drives, some drinks and all meals.

Mark - Owner - SafariKZN

Shelly Beach, South...
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6. Re: Hluhluwe/Short Wilderness Trail or iSimangaliso/St. Lucia?

I would recommend staying in St Lucia, from there you can do a day trip to Imfolozi and you definitely need at least 2 full days to explore iSimangaliso Wetlands.

A day trip to Cape Vidal is a must – you drive along the Eastern Shores and should see a few animals along the way. Cape Vidal is one of the few places where you can snorkel and the beach is gorgeous.

You must also do estuary boat cruise at St Lucia – you’ll see lots of Hippo and crocodiles, and spend the rest of the day exploring the town and beach of St Lucia.

Leave St Lucia early around 5am to get to the Imfolozi gate when it opens at 6am, then you will have the whole day for game viewing.

Kosi Bay
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7. Re: Hluhluwe/Short Wilderness Trail or iSimangaliso/St. Lucia?

Are you going past Kosi? This place is a jewel - authentic and fantastic owner hosts - tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g472511-d147418…

St Lucia, South...
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8. Re: Hluhluwe/Short Wilderness Trail or iSimangaliso/St. Lucia?

Both Hluhluwe and iSimanagliso are incredible it would depend on what it is that you are wanting to see during your stay, Hluhluwe offers the Big 5 while iSimangaliso offers both bush and beach however not the Big 5 can be seen, on the western shores one may witness the Big 4 ( No Lions), Hippo's and Croc's on the Estuary. So it would naturally depend on what it relly is that you would like to see, why not do both you should have more than enough time should you plan it properly.

4 posts
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9. Re: Hluhluwe/Short Wilderness Trail or iSimangaliso/St. Lucia?

I am at present booking my husband and my trip to kzn next June. Affer reading all the wonderful help on TA I have decided on 3.5 days in St Lucia and 3.5 days in Mpila. I would lime to know if a private safari will add anything to our trip because I was thinking of booking 2 nights at Mkuse Falls. Is this a good idea do you think?

Thanks though to everyone e in the TA I

Sydney, Australia
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1,986 posts
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10. Re: Hluhluwe/Short Wilderness Trail or iSimangaliso/St. Lucia?

Kosi Bay to explore properly needs 4 WD to go to KB Mouth and Banghor Neck see this review

tripadvisor.com.au/Hotel_Review-g2324973-d15…