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Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park, formerly Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, is the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa. It consists of 960 km² (96,000 ha) of hilly topography 280 kilometres (170 mi) north of Durban in central Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and is known for its rich wildlife and conservation efforts.

Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park of South Africa
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park of South Africa

The park is the only state-run park in KwaZulu-Natal where all the big five game animals occur. Due to conservation efforts, the park now has the largest population of white rhino in the world. However, the rhinos and the park's wilderness areas are now threatened by plans to build an open-cast coal mine right on the park's border - a plan that a growing coalition of organisations is fighting to stop.

Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park of South Africa
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park of South Africa

The park is located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal on the east coast of South Africa. The park is closest to the town of Mtubatuba and Hluhluwe village. The geography of the area differs from the north, or Hluhluwe area, to the south, or Umfolozi area. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is in a malaria area.

Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park of South Africa
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park of South Africa

In 1981, the Natal Parks board (now Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) attempted to reintroduce African wild dogs into the park. Twenty-three dogs were released in the reserve, most of which had been bred in zoos. However this met with limited success and since then the population has fluctuated between 3 and 30 individuals.

Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park of South Africa
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park of South Africa

The park is the birthplace of rhino reservation, breeding the species back from extinction (fewer than 20 rhinos worldwide in 1900 to more than 10,000 today). As the home of Operation Rhino in the 1950s and 60s, the Park became world-renowned for its white rhino conservation. The Rhino Capture Unit of the park helped save the endangered White Rhino from the brink of extinction.

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