Umfolozi Big Five Game Reserve Biyela & Mthembu Lodge

Umfolozi Big Five Game Reserve Biyela & Mthembu Lodge2020-10-17T08:28:15+00:00
  • Holidays
    Fully Inclusive Safaris
  • Location
    Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal South Africa
  • Safari Lodges
    Mantis Biyela & Mantis Mthembu



Offering 2 spectacular luxury 5 star lodges in the famed Umfolozi Game Reserve, the oldest in Africa and part of Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve. The lodges are Biyela Lodge and Mthembu Lodge and are a mere 3.5 hour drive from Durban up the North Coast.

These lodges offer curated experiences to the well-heeled and conscious traveller. Rooted in conservation, with sustainable business practices and tourism products that are respectful of the environment and communities in which they operate.

Combine Biyela Lodge and Mthembu Lodge with any of our Running Packages  (including Comrades Marathon and Deloitte Challenge)


Joining the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, uMfolozi Big Five Reserve is a 6000ha private concession that has adjoined 100 000 ha great park which is the oldest in Africa, and second oldest in the world.

This private concession is land that belongs to the Chief Biyela and Chief Mthembu. The current Chieftaincies of Biyela and Mthembu both trace their ancestry back proudly to Shaka’s time. The first two five-star lodges have been named after these chiefs, descendants from Shaka’s warrior chiefs, to honour their commitment to conservation and to economic development for their people through the KZN Big Five wilderness project.

The Ingonyama Trust is a corporate body established in law and is the registered owner of various pieces of land in KwaZulu–Natal which have always historically been part of the Zulu Kingdom dating back to various Zulu kings. His Majesty the King is the sole Trustee of the land.

While the Ingonyama Trust predates the Constitution, its existence finds expression and protection under the provisions of the constitution. Firstly, the land which the Trust is the nominal owner of is administered mainly in terms of Zulu customary law. The land is divided according to clans under the leadership of Traditional Leaders (AMAKHOSI) who in turn are responsible to the King in terms of customary law.

Hence the King is the only Trustee of Ingonyama Trust.

It’s a safari-chic theme, and offers a more upmarket experience for discerning couples filled with history of the Zulu battles.


Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, iMfolozi, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa
3 hour drive from Durban, 2.5 hour drive from King Shaka Int. Airport (195 km), 1 hour 15 min drive from Richards Bay Airport (82 km).
SA Express and Federal Air offer daily scheduled flights from Johannesburg to Richards Bay, followed by a 1h15  road transfer to the reserve.

Enter at Reserve Main gate entrance (uMfolozi Main Gate) where you will be dropped off. There after you will be driven in a Game viewer to your Biyela or Mthembu Lodge.


Twice-daily game drives; Excellent sightings including cheetah, lion, elephant, buffalo, black and white rhino, and nyala.

Biyela Lodge 

Umfolozi Big Five Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal welcomed a new lodge on May 1  2019 – the luxury Biyela Lodge.

The Lodge is nestled high on a spectacular bend of the White Imfolozi. On the banks of the river, your viewing is enhanced by the search for animals moving through the water. On the doorstep of nature at work, 12 Villas for a mere 24 guests can enjoy their luxurious private stand-alone Villas, with access to a central lodge with pool, restaurant, bar and viewing decks and a Spa.

All suites have views over the park and wilderness area, with en-suite bathrooms including an extra-large king-size bed, bath, outdoor shower accessible from the large indoor shower, reception area, lounge and large outdoor patio with glass balustrades to maximise the view.

t’s a safari-chic theme, and offers a more upmarket experience for discerning couples.


Twice-daily game drives; Excellent sightings including cheetah, lion, elephant, buffalo, black and white rhino, and nyala.

Mthembu Lodge

The lodge has nine rooms that can accommodate up to 22 people. Two of the rooms are family villas that can also be booked as separate rooms, having doors that lead on to a shared lounge and kitchenette. One of the villas has its own private pool, and all rooms overlook the bush.

En-suite bathrooms have a bath and shower, with double basins, and the bathrooms are glass enclosed to maximise the view.

There is also WiFi across the whole lodge, to give guests easy access.

The main lodge has a bar, lounge and large dining area, with a separate temperature-controlled wine room that houses a collection of South African wines, including the ‘house’ wine – Bayede! – which is endorsed by HM King Goodwill Zwelithini Kabhekuzulu, the reigning King of the Zulu nation.


Mthembu currently offers morning and late-afternoon game drives, an in-room spa experience, and food and wine pairings.


VALID: 01 MAY 2021 – 30 SEPTEMBER 2021

  •  3 Nights Minimum & 2 Pax Minimum (or subject to extra costs)

Subject to Lodge availability

BIYELA LODGE – 3 Nights Minimum Package

DOUBLE / TWIN R 18,200  per person sharing (x 2 Pax for 3 nights)

MTHEMBU LODGE – 3 Nights Minimum Package

DOUBLE / TWIN R 15,700  per person sharing (x 2 Pax for 3 nights)


What is included in your package?

  • Return scheduled transfers between Durban area / Umfolozi Lodges, Biyela Lodge or Mthembu Lodge
  • 3 Nights, luxury lodge accommodation, 15% VAT & Conservation fees incl.
  • Inclusive of accommodation, all meals, two game drives per day and selected local beverages. Any additional expenses to be settled upon departure.
  • minimum 2 guests (does not apply to groups of 12 or more guests)

What is not included in your package:

  • Surcharges & a minimum 3 night stay may apply over peak holiday periods & long weekends to be confirmed at time of booking.
  • Personal Travel Insurance (compulsory & available on request)
  • All  items of a personal nature
  • Anything not mentioned above, as included

DAILY LODGE SCHEDULE – Subject to changes


  • Guests arrive at Umfolozi Big Five Game Reserve main gate either via self-drive or transfer. Please use directions given to you by our reservations team (do not follow Google Maps).
  • Guest arrival time: Transfer is at 12:00 from the main gate. Alternative transfer times need to be arranged with the lodge/reservations.
  • Guests will be met at our welcome lounge by one of our guides where indemnity forms are signed. Rest room facilities are available.
  • Guests will then be transferred to either Biyela Lodge or  Mthembu Lodge by a game viewer
  • Welcome, refreshments and orientation of the lodge and villas.
  • Guests then have time to relax and enjoy their villa and the lodge environs.
  • Our delectable a la carte lunch/high tea offering is served at approximately 14:00 daily, while a light
  • lunch is available from 10:30 – 15:00 for in-house guests.
    Afternoon Game Drive:
  • Afternoon game drive departs around 16:00 and returns at approximately 19:00 with a sun downer stop along the way.
  • Pre-dinner drinks and dinner is served on your return to the Lodge.
  • Guests are welcome to relax around the re place following dinner.
  • All guests will be escorted back to their villas at the end of the evening.

Early Morning:

  • Wake-up call to guests 30 minutes prior to departure of morning game drive.
  • Fresh coffee, teas and pastries available at main lodge prior to game drive departure.
  • Game drives depart from main lodge around 05:30
  • Coffee, tea and a light snack to be enjoyed during morning game drive drink stop
  • Return to the lodge for breakfast which is served from approximately 09:00
  • Following breakfast guests will have the option of relaxing at the pool or in their villas.
  • For guests staying at Biyela Lodge, feel free to make a booking at Africology Spa which offers a variety
    of holistic treatments.
  • For guests staying at Mthembu Lodge, you can arrange a relaxing in-room Africology Spa treatment.
  • Light lunch is available from 10:30 – 15:00.

Day of Departure:

  • Check out on your day of departure is at 10:30


As uMfolozi Big Five Game Reserve is a private concession within the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, safaris are not confined to main roads. Our Guides have access to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park and our Private Concession.


Once the Royal hunting ground of King Shaka of the Zulu, and the origin of every Southern White Rhino in the world; uMfolozi Big Five Game Reserve is privileged to offer you a personal gateway into nature as it was before us, as we would like to keep it.


Our chefs produce a palate of perfection and cater for all dietary requirements. Every meal offers unique uMfolozi dishes and tastes, combined with a selection of wines and impeccable service.


At Biyela Lodge: All Africology products uplift the mind and body in a positive therapeutic way and are used in the holistic Africology spa treatments, which are influenced by traditional African wisdom and reiki techniques.

At Mthembu Lodge: In room treatments available on request.


Unbeatable location with incredible views over the Wilderness area of Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park.

Within Umfolozi Priavte Game Reserve there are 6000 hectares of private concession with 11 km of the White Imfolozi river meandering past.


As for the Mantis guest experience, both Lodges staff will welcome you with warm smiles and look after your every need to you can discover the exceptional.

Bush Walks and Curio shops available


  • Specific Event Terms & Conditions apply as per Race Organisers
  • Standard Sports Adventure tours Terms and Conditions Apply


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