The month of June is a special time in Hluhluwe and the surrounding hills and rocky outcrops stretching north along the Lebombo mountains and inland to Hlabisa and Nongoma. From now till late August the millions of Aloe’s that occur in the region come into flower in a rich display of yellow orange flowers that literally turn hillsides and mountains into a sea of red hot poker’s. There are 150 species of Aloe in Southern Africa with the families of Aloe africana, arborescens and barberiae, ferox, marlothii, and the coastal Aloe thraskii putting on the most spectacular display in Winter.
One of the easiest ways to see the Aloes is by taking a drive along the N2 freeway heading north via Mkuze to the Pongola river. One of the best sights is the Gorge between the Pongola river and the Jozini dam as well as the pass that runs from Mkuze up to Ubombo and Jozini. There are stunning views accross the lake and inland over the mountains that stretch in all directions as far the eye can see. If you have a off road vehicle there are a variety of other options. Specialized tours with a field guide can be arranged with prior notice or once at Hluhluwe River Lodge. A botanical guide can meet you at your accommodation and accompany you in your car or take you on a fully guided outing. If you want to enjoy the Aloe’s be quick and book accommodation in June and July as this is the best time in Hluhluwe. Around the lodge there are some wonderful Aloe’s to be seen especially in the rockery at ‘Rita and Mervyn’s’ house where the owners have planted a wonderful collection of Aloe’s seen in the picture above. An added bonus when viewing Aloe’s is the abundance of Sunbird’s that feed on the sweet juicy sap of the flowers.