If you want to do a lot of activities without having to pack up your bags every night, Umkhumbi Lodge is a great base for seeing all the wonders of the Elephant Coast in KwaZulu-Natal. The most popular attractions are the stunning Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park for Big 5 safaris, as well as Mkhuze Game Reserve and Elephant encounters. The activities below are within about an hour’s drive from Umkhumbi Lodge. All activities can be done independently as a self drive tour or as an organised private tour.
Umkhumbi is roughly half way between Durban and Maputo since the tar road and bridge has been built in Mozambique between Farazela and Maputo harbour; a great place to break the journey. We can help you with your route planning.
A little known opportunity to explore Muzi Pan by kayak. This nearby expanse of water is best known for its abundant birdlife and the chance to see hippos and crocodiles.
Times: Year-round (weather dependent)
Costs: On request
Distance: Approximately 35km (30 minutes) from Umkhumbi Lodge to Muzi Pan
False Bay Nature Reserve
Perfect self-drive or guided option and 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.
Costs: If you are self-driving just pay the park entry fees. Approximately R75 pp. For a guided trip, please enquire.
Distance: Approximately 10km (10 minutes) from Hluhluwe or Umkhumbi Lodge to the entrance of False Bay Park – iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Ilala Weavers in Hluhluwe is one of the best places to purchase your souvenirs and local crafts for those back home. It is best known for its hand woven Zulu baskets where top quality is always guaranteed. The adjoining Ngweni Railroad Brewery and Cafe can provide breakfast, lunch or dinner daily.
Distance: Approximately 16km (20 minutes) from Umkhumbi Lodge to the craft shop at Ilala Weavers.
This is a rehabilitation centre for various African Cats including Cheetahs, Caracal, Serval and African Wild Cat. Enjoy an informative talk by the in house specialist. Please note that touching the animals is no longer permitted and children under 14 are not permitted inside the cheetah enclosure.
Times: Year-round (4:00 pm in winter and 4:30 pm in summer)
Costs: RSA residents: R280 pp (adults), R140 per child (no charge for children under 6 – please note that small children will not be allowed into the cheetah enclosure).
Distance: Approximately 35km (30 minutes) from Umkhumbi Lodge to the Cheetah Sanctuary.
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.
Times: Year-round (2 – 3 hour walk)
Costs: R200 per person
Distance: Approximately 35km (35 minutes) from Umkhumbi Lodge to Nompondo Village.
Sodwana Bay – snorkelling, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing
Sodwana Bay is about an hour’s drive from Umkhumbi Lodge. It’s a beautiful beach to visit for a day trip. You can relax on the beach, swim in the surf, do some fishing or enjoy some of the more adventurous activities.
Snorkelling: Hire a set of snorkels and swim around the rocky point. Plenty of fish, urchins, eels, sea cucumbers and occasionally turtles. In the winter you might spot from the beach migrating whales further out at sea.
Or you can pay to go on a boat trip out to half-mile reef and snorkel off-shore.
Scuba Diving: Bring your dive certificate and do a couple of dives at Sodwana. This is one of the best
diving spots in the world.
Deep-sea fishing: 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.
Times: Year-round (weather dependent)
Costs: On request
Distance: Approximately 70km (60 minutes) from Umkhumbi Lodge to Sodwana Bay.
St. Lucia Boat Cruise with Shakabarker Tours
A 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. The skipper can get the boat quite close to crocodiles and hippos, allowing you to get a good view of these creatures and safely take great photographs.
Bird watching is often great here too.
Times (approximate): Winter – 10:00am/1:00pm/3:00pm and Summer – 8:00am/10:00am/12:00 noon/2:00pm/4:00pm
Costs: R375 per person
Distance: Approximately 1 hour from Umkhumbi Lodge to St. Lucia
Zulu Croc and Rafikis Cafe
Zulu Croc is a reptile centre with several crocodilian species as well as other reptiles. There is also a snake house with an attractive display of snakes. You can do a self-guided walk through or arrange for a guided tour.
Rafikis is a cafe adjoining the centre. You do not need to pay the Zulu Croc entry fee to enjoy the facilities. There is a shop selling gifts and deli items. There is a children’s play area as well as putt-putt.
Walk through: R50 pp (adults), R25 (children)
Guided tour: R100 pp (adults), R50 pp (children)
Putt-putt: R25 pp
Distance: Approximately 5km (5 minutes) from Umkhumbi Lodge to Zulu Croc.
Parkrun is a free to join 5km walk/run every Saturday morning. Hluhluwe Parkrun started in September 2019. It’s an open fun event run by the community. All are welcome to join.
Times: Winter – 08:00am and Summer – 07:00am
Distance: 15 mins from Umkhumbi Lodge to Hluhluwe Parkrun
Hluhluwe is a town about 2 things: Safari and pineapples! Umkhumbi Lodge is on a small private game reserve with several pineapple farms nearby. Our neighbouring farmer offers interesting tours of the pineapple farm. You can also taste a purchase some of the produce. Dried pineapple chunks with white chocolate is our favourite!
Guests will be welcomed at the farm with fresh pineapple juice and fresh cut pineapple. They then depart from there to the fields to see how the pineapples are grown.
Times: Year-round, Monday to Friday only as the farm is closed on weekends. Tours can be arranged the day before arrival. Flexible times by arrangement.
Cost: R200 per person
Distance: Approximately 5 minutes from Umkhumbi Lodge
Please contact us if you would like more information on any of these activities.