Anyone with an interest in indigenous trees will feel truly at home here at Hluhluwe River Lodge. We are literally surrounded by some of the countries most remarkable tree species and most rare to boot. The ‘sand forest’ at False Bay Park and at Hluhluwe River Lodge is an extremely rare forest type containing many trees that are specific to our area alone.
Taking pride of place in the sand forest is the majestic ‘Lebombo Wattle’ ( Newtonia Hildebrandtii ). This massive and ancient giant of the forests stands up to 30 meters in height with a widely spreading crown and giant limbs that extend for 20 meters outwards. These limbs are often covered in the orchid Cyrtorchis practerauissa making the tree resemble a monster that has just emerged from a weedy swamp.
At the lodge there is a wonderful walking trail of 2 kilometers that meanders through the 80 hectare conservancy and passes through very beautiful sand forest and palid sand veld. There are Nyala, Red Duiker and Impala to be seen at close range on the walking trail and so is there plenty of bird life to enjoy. The shy Suni which is Africa’s second smallest antelope also frequents the forest and a glimpse of this elusive and rare species is a highly sought after sighting. The trail is well marked and takes about 1 hour to complete.
Local sand forest expert DrFrancois Du Randt has compiled a the fantastic ‘Mpophomeni Trail Guide’ which is a 100 page user friendly guide of the ‘Mpophomeni trail’ in False Bay Park. Just a 7 km drive from Hluhluwe River lodge one finds the entrance to this botanically rich world heritage site park and the trail head to one of the most beautiful and fascinating walking trails in the region. Well marked and color coded with correlating number markers along the route visitors can cross reference to the trail guide and its fascinating and informative information on the are trees that are encountered en route.
The forest attract a variety of birds and and are home to a variety of antelope and small game. For the birdwatcher this is an excellent place to spot the beautiful Narina Trogon, African Broadbill and in the high canopy Neergards Sunbird. Following a walk in the forest a drive down and along the shoreline of the lake is a must to take in the awesome view across Lake St Lucia through Hell’s Gate and the eastern shore dune forests in the distance.
Hluhluwe River Lodge