Hilltop Camp Blog
Hluhluwe iMfolozi Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Restaurant, Self-Catering & Non Self-Catering Accommodation
Hilltop Camp has to be KZN Wildlife’s premier ‘flagship’ camp. Rated three star by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, the camp was upgraded in quite a considerable way and opened in 1999 in its modern guise. Previously a number of Rondavels and a few cottages, Hilltop Camp now sports a range of accommodation which can sleep close to 200 guests. A large restaurant available for all guests as well as lunch for day visitors. I suggest booking for dinner at a time to suite.
Mtwazi Lodge was the Warden of the Park’s home - this is now part of the Hilltop Camp accommodation facilities. Set in grounds away from those of Hilltop Camp, guests at Mtwazi Lodge can enjoy the privacy of this rather stately old home. With three bedrooms all bathroom en suite and an annexe for an extra two guests, this self-catering venue with a caretaker cook included in the tariff has to be the best KZN Wildlife accommodation unit in the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park. One needs not self-cater, the Hilltop Camp Restaurant is available for Mtwazi Lodge residents should they prefer. There is another similar large house open for guests in the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, this is the Masinda Lodge in the uMfolozi sector of the Game Reserve.
The original Rondavel accommodation is still there – very much as I remember them some 60 years ago – still with the communal kitchens and ablution facilities away from the Resthuts, as they are also known. The kitchens have been upgraded somewhat since those days, now with modern stoves and microwave units for guests use. What has changed is that there are now no longer a number of cooks waiting to prepare your meal, all self-catering here.
Most of the units are self-catering, all the 4 bed Chalets are and some of the 2 bed Chalets as well. The 20 x 2 bed non self-catering Chalets are for use of guests who would be dining at the Hilltop Camp restaurant. There are also chalets suitable for those guests that are mobility impaired. Single beds are the norm here at Hilltop Camp but there are a limited number of overlays to make up a double bed should this be preferred.
Within the fenced area of Hilltop Camp are lovely large open grounds, and even a rather secret self-guided trail through a forested part of the camp grounds. Small antelope and numerous birds along with the Somango monkeys seek refuge here. For residents, there is a large swimming pool and children have been catered for with a Jungle Gym. For the adults, well there is even a friendly bar with television. The rooms also have TV’s with limited channels.
There is no other entertainment offered as it’s for the wildlife that guests visit the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park – well it should be. Wildlife there is aplenty, with the Big 5, as well as cheetah and wild dog. Guided game drives are offered from Hilltop Camp by the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park authorities – early mornings and late afternoons into the evenings, with an after breakfast game drive offered, dependant on demand. In effect, one could visit Hilltop Camp and have all the guided game drives with the Park Rangers in their ‘open’ game drive vehicles. The alternative is for guests to drive themselves on the Public road network. Stay on these roads only, no off roading or entering restricted roads, these are clearly marked with a no entry sign.
Most of the animals are used to the traffic and one can often enjoy rather relaxed sightings of the various species. Some however do not take kindly to loud noises, or in particular to the too close approach of a vehicle. All animals are potentially dangerous. In the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park there have been very occasional incidences of damage to vehicles and guests, in particular by the larger animals such as the elephant. Take care and do not stress them by approaching too close.
One is allowed to exit your vehicle at a number of designated points within the Hluhluwe Game Reserve, these areas are not fenced and any type of wild animal could be in too close proximity. Please check the surrounding area carefully before alighting from the vehicle and then stay close to it. Do not go wandering off into the bush, should you want to, guided game walks with a field ranger are occasionally available from Hilltop Camp.
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