Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve, Cat Rehab and St Lucia 1-3 May 2012 - Tim Brown Tours

After a early wake up I headed down to Umhanga, Durban to collect my clients Ross and Paulette Laidlaw.

After a brief introduction and communicating the plan for day one I discovered that Ross was the Chairman of the Highlanders Rugby club in New Zealand and they were down to play the Sharks in Durban on the 5/5/12.

Interestingly enough he previously was a Lawyer and Paulette still working as a Psychologist.

After Departing Durban we I got stuck into the History of the place and the population demographics etc

3 hours had passed and we were ready for the Cat rehab center.

Once Ross and Paulette had experience something quite new we headed off to the Game reserve where we would be staying for 2 nights.

We had a pretty good start to the game side of things with some great sightings.

Stopping at Hilltop camp for lunch we checked in and headed back out to see what we could find and boy was it all worth it.

We had some beautiful Rhino and Elephant sightings, giraffe and much more.

We arrived back just after 18:00 and cleaned up for dinner.

After some dinner we had a quick look at the stars but there was some clouds blowing over which made it harder to keep a focus on the constellations.

An early night was a the call with a 6am start in the morning probably a wise thing.

 

Day 2:

 

Departed on the morning game drive and it was not long before we had found some giraffe in the thickets and patiently waited till they came to the road for photos.

Driving along a route I’ve had some “Cat” success of late, Ross said he say a Lion on the road on the hill in front of us. I raced up to check and we saw nothing, at the time he was sure it was a Lion as he had not seen spots.

We looked carefully and I notices some tracks which looked like a Leopard or young Lioness to me. I turned to Ross and said “are you sure it was a Lion you saw?” reply ” I didn’t see any spots” Fair comment so we drove up a bit further and then back down one more time waiting for a game viewer to pass us.

Once they had gone we turned around and “bang” in the long grass I saw something look at us and I put foot to get back up there it was a big male leopard which returned to the road and gave up a brief look before moving back into the bush.

Once again patience was on the cards… eventually one last fleeting look before we never saw him again, but he was out marking his territory.

What a great spot from Ross!

Upon return to camp and a big breakfast it was only fair to allow Ross the privilege of placing the “leopard” marker on the sightings board for the day.

 

We decided to take a rest after all the activity and the heat of the day set in. At 14:30 we headed back out and had a quiet drive with some vultures by the river and a monitor lizzard.

Shortly after that spot on 16:00 we had a Journey of Giraffe and a Dazzle of Zebra walking down towards us. This was great as we waited and the all walked right next to the car, it was humbling as the towered above us.

We continued and head a Trumpet from an elephant so we checked the Riverside and found two Bull elephants having a full go at one another dust and Trumpets being thrown in the air.

We had to leave and get back for the 17:00 open vehicle evening game drive.

Sadly Ross and Paulette did not see much night life on the drive but enjoyed the experience.

 

The following morning Day 3:

We came through for breakfast and then hit the bush for a last effort to find the Lion and some buffalo.

We did get a Bull buffalo as we left the camp but later got 2 breading herds one on the road and another drinking. We also got 3 bachelors together chilling at a watering hole not really doing much except caressing one another so we left them to have some privacy!

We heard of a sad indecent where a 2 year old calf White Rhino was slay by a Big Bull who wanted to mate with his mother. This is not totally unusual as the small calves always get between there mother and the Big Males who want to mate…

Sad, but it did mean we got to see a Hyena with a chuck of meat in his mouth running down the road!…

 

It was time to leave the game reserve and make our way to St Lucia for the boat cruise.

Ross and Paulette loved it but surprising there were not crocodiles this time must have been the 34 degree heat in Autumn! All in the water cooling off!

We the departed for Durban and I answered a few of the final questions before we arrived back at there Hotel.

 

What  a great Tour we all had fun and it was really exciting at times.

 

Tim Brown Tours

 

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