Before the municipal elections in August 2016 both Hlabisa Municipality and Big 5 False Bay municipality were functioning separately. Hlabisa Municipality was one of the local Municipalities under Umkhanyakude district in the KwaZulu-Natal province. The municipality was named after the surname, Hlabisa, of two Nkosi’s in the area. The municipality is generally characterized by rural communities predominantly under traditional areas. 91% of land was under traditional authority, 3% commercial farmland and 6% urban. The major town is Hlabisa, with secondary nodes of Mpembeni and Ezibayeni.

The Big Five False Bay municipality was named after the Big Five animals (Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Cape Buffalo and Rhino) which are found in the game reserves that are located in the area e.g. the Hluhluwe game reserve, the Mfolozi game reserve and the Phinda game reserve. False Bay is part of the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park and it forms part of the newly established municipality. After municipal elections on 3 August 2016 both municipalities were joint together and merged into the larger Big Five Hlabisa Local Municipality.


The Big 5 Hlabisa Local Municipality is a Category B municipality situated within the uMkhanyakude District in northern KwaZulu-Natal. It is one of four municipalities in the district, making up a quarter of its geographical area. It was established by the amalgamation of The Big 5 False Bay and Hlabisa Local Municipalities in August 2016. Easily accessible off the N2 National Route, it incorporates part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (previously known as the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park) and is the starting point of the R22, which links Hluhluwe to Mozambique. The town of Hluhluwe, which contains major shopping and light servicing facilities, as well as the municipal offices, services the municipality.

A large proportion of the land is used for agriculture and game lodge activities and is sparsely settled. The north-eastern parts of the municipality are occupied by fairly densely settled rural traditional communities (Makhasa, Mnqobokasi and Nibela). Tourism is the major industry centered on the Hluhluwe-uMfolozi Game Reserve, located 280km north of Durban and the oldest proclaimed park in Africa. It consists of 960km² of hilly topography in central Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal, and is known for its rich wildlife and conservation efforts. The park is the only state-run park in KwaZulu-Natal where all the Big Five game occurs. Due to conservation efforts, the park now has the largest population of white rhino in the world.

A New Hotel

A New Hotel Hluhluwe & Safaris is located on the magnificent Elephant Coast of Kwazulu Natal, near South Africa's oldest game reserve. It is between the wildlife-rich Hluhluwe Game Reserve. The great Isimangaliso, St Lucia Wetland is a short drive away.

This spectacular hotel offers affordable holiday accommodation to suit any traveler's needs, from leisure to corporate or government guests. A New Hotel has 81 modern safari rooms, with all the modern amenities as well as self-catering Rondavels.

The ANEW Hotel Hluhluwe hotel has comfortable accommodation, delicious cuisine combined with leisure and business facilities make this an ideal safari getaway destination for both recreational and corporate travellers alike. Mouth-watering meals are available at Anew Hotel Hluhluwe restaurant offers a warm, cultural charm and atmosphere where different dining experiences are possible.

The meals are complemented by an extensive wine list, providing some of South Africa's finest wines. The traditional outdoor Zulu Boma (Kraal) offers guests an exceptional and unique dining experience in the evening. The restaurant area and pub are air-conditioned, and sports enthusiasts can enjoy watching their team at The Rhino Bar, which features a big-screen TV.

The art kids zone is available to the younger guests staying here. With a variety of activities, children are good entertainment. The Anew Hotel Hluhluwe features world-class conference facilities in a magnificent setting, with three conference venues seating up to 100 conference delegates. Guests can choose from different conference packages while high-tech equipment ensures smooth functions. A New Hotel Hluhluwe scenic walks and the outdoor swimming pool is available at the lodge itself, guided safari drives to the Hluhluwe, which is home to the Big Five, are offered to guests amongst many other exciting activities.

Umkhumbi Lodge

Umkhumbi Lodge offers comfortable accommodation in spacious air-conditioned family chalets within Kuleni Game Park, Hluhluwe. Mkhumbi lodge is a bush lodge in Zululand, KZN, South Africa. It’s a great place to stay on your African safari holiday, with a bar and restaurant, comfortable air-conditioned family chalets and excellent game viewing on site.

Wildlife you can see around the lodge includes zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, kudu, warthogs, nyala, suni, impala, duikers, monkeys and mongooses. Bushbabies are often seen in the evening and even occasionally leopards are spotted too on the walking trails.

Umkhumbi Lodge is popular for its stunning birdlife with regular sightings of Pink-throated Twinspots, Narina Trogon, Eastern Nicator and many more. The area is rich in wildlife, with nearby Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park for Big 5 safaris as well as the rich, varied ecosystems of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Zulu Croc

Zulu Croc offers a hour and a half, hands-on crocodile and snake experience, bringing these fascinating creatures up close and personal and allowing you to actually feel and touch some of the world’s most feared reptiles.

This awesome interactive encounter will no doubt leave you with many unforgettable images and memories. Visit our “Snake O Zeum” where our guides give daily demonstrations and informative talks on snakes in general. Their infectious enthusiasm is clearly evident and their willingness to share and impart knowledge adds to their popularity.

Ezulwini Game Lodge

Ezulwini Game Lodge is set in the very heart of Zululand, famous for its wildlife, wetlands and Zulu culture. The main attractions in the area are the national game reserves - Hluhluwe/Imfolozi and Mkuze Game Reserve, and a World Heritage Site - Isimangaliso Park. Two un-spoilt beaches, Sodwana and Cape Vidal, which are only an hour's drive away.

Ezulwini Game Lodge has been a favorite holiday destination for families, corporates and hikers, offering a relaxed and tranquil atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Nestled amongst towering pale yellow fever trees and sand forest, on a 300ha private game and pineapple farm, Guests can walk freely and view plains game, numerous birds and the Livingstone Suni close by.

The lodge offers comfortable accommodation for small and large tour groups and is ideally situated for corporate escapes with our fully equipped conference venue. With great opportunities for wildlife sightings, boundless hospitality, great food and affordable prices we ensure a memorable African bush holiday.

Hilltop Resort (Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park)

Hilltop Resort is the pride of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. The Resort is situated on the edge of a forested hill and offers fine views of the surrounding countryside. It is a three-hour drive north from Durban via the N2 Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is a premier, “Big Five” park; home to lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. Its rich plant-life, grasslands and forests support a wide variety of other game animals.

The Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park lies in the heart of “old Zululand” and is rich in history dating back to the early Iron Age and the hey-day of the Zulu Kingdom of King Shaka. The Park contains many historic sites. This fascinating game reserve covers 96 000 ha and is comprised of the Hluhluwe and iMfolozi Game Reserves. The Corridor Game Reserve, established in 1989, links the two older parks.

The Centenary Centre, an easy drive from Hilltop, provides guided access to the Game Capture Complex, as well as presenting the visitor with an interpretation centre on game capture, a community-run craft market and refreshment kiosk. Hilltop holds the distinction of being the oldest tourist resort in KwaZulu-Natal, and provides a wide variety of accommodation.

Phinda Game Reserve

Phinda Private Game Reserve is situated in the lush Zululand region sandwiched between Mkuze Game Reserve and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (previously St Lucia Wetland Park), a World Heritage Site, it comprises 14 000 hectares of prime conservation land.

Seven distinct habitats shelter an abundance of wildlife including Africas Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo) and over 380 bird species, while the marine diversity off the nearby coast of Sodwana is said to rival the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Predators like cheetah, leopard and lion are tracked on a daily basis and visitors stand extremely good chances of seeing them. The territorial white rhino favour waterholes and wallows. Herd of elephant and buffalo move throughout the reserve and are easily spotted. Impressive nyala antelope feed alongside impala and warthog.

Nocturnal aardvark, bushpig and greater bushbaby may be encountered on exciting night game-drives. Mountain reedbuck dwell on rocky slopes, while common reedbuck favour palmveld and wetlands.

Accomodation inside Phinda Game Reserve

The 5 lodges inside the Phinda Game Reserve offers sophistication and style in the African bush.

Phinda Forest Lodge

Our designers have created a calming atmosphere of Zulu Zen. And theres no need to worry about the privacy of your retreat - in spite of the floor to ceiling glass walls, the towering torchwood trees and fertile forest floor that surround your suite ensure a sense of seclusion.

Phinda Vlei Lodge

At Phinda Vlei Lodge simply spending time in your spacious suite is like being on safari. With each suite carefully positioned for a prime view of the animals coming out to drink and panoramic vistas from even your shower or bathtub, the game viewing never stops!

Phinda Rock Lodge

Phinda Rock Lodge looks out over its own lush valley, like a small private castle, amidst a tangle of wild African sights and sounds. The suites of this intimate and romantic lodge cling dramatically to steep cliffs with views across the valley.

Phinda Mountain Lodge

Breathtakingly stylish and sophisticated yet refreshingly simple, the Homestead provides the ideal venue to reconnect with friends and family. With the warm, friendly faces and helping hands of a full complement of staff ready to welcome you on arrival, you will instantly feel as though this is your second home.

Phinda Hpmestead Lodge

The warm, friendly faces and helping hands of a full complement of staff are ready to welcome guests on arrival. Inviting rooms designed around retro trinkets, Zulu crafts and sleek, contemporary touches reinforce the impression that this private safari villa is designed for comfort and ease.