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Easter in South Africa

I have just returned from a whirlwind trip through South Africa's little-visited KwaZulu-Natal and all I can say is Wow!

We flew overnight into Durban (via Jo'burg) and before we could draw breath zoomed up north to Hluhluwe, passing through rolling hills and thatched huts as the scenery became increasingly dramatic. I had never been to South Africa before and know that most people head to Kruger for great game and beautiful scenery, but Hluhluwe (pronouced schle-schle-we, in case you were interested!) was wonderful! Very green and lush, and we spotted wildlife straightaway, starting with a group of rhinos, a giraffe and my personal favourite, a big group of baboons ambling along the road towards us – the babies on mum's back were particularly cute. Sadly we didn't see any big cats but I know I'll be coming back to Africa one day, so I can live with that!

A real highlight was the walking safari. I was a bit nervous about being eaten by lions or speared by a charging elephant (the usual stuff) but the whole experience felt very safe. Our guide Truman was excellent and showed us how to read tracks, how to walk into the wind so your scent is not picked up by the animals and when sometimes, even if you can hear an elephant close by, it might be best to leave him be – certainly a moment which inspired my trust! We were lucky enough to get close to white rhinos, zebra and elephants and it's really when walking through the open bush that you realise you're in this incredibly wild land.

We then travelled north to St Lucia, a dreamy, watery island a short drive north of the Hluhluwe. By this point, we were all in need of some R n R, so a hot shower, cup of tea and cruise along the lake at St Lucia were brilliant. Before we even got onto the boat we saw swimming hippos (who have been known to walk through the town's streets at night!) and the cruise as the sun set was very relaxing. The perfect end to an action packed couple of days!

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Rhinos in Hluhluwe game reserve
first spot of rhinos in Hluhluwe National Park!
Creeping up close to rhinos