Safari from Durban 2nd -4th June 2015
I met my clients in Durban city and this was where we would begin our Durban 3 day overnight safari tour. After the general introductions the 5 of us began this amazing 3 day safari from Durban.
I began some free flowing conversation about the History of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa which is always worth a listen, well I think so!
The usual being covered, I then also explained about each population group and how they come to be here as well as all the plantation we would see on route to our first stop the cat rehabilitation center, outside of Hluhluwe.
It had now been 3 hours on the road and it was nice to stop to see something new and stretch the legs further to what we did at the couple of stops we took along the way. We began our tour of the cat rehabilitation center at 10:30 and it was here that my clients would be able to interact with 4 species of endangered cats, namely the Serval, Caracal, African wild cat and Cheetah.
The clients always love this part of the tour and it add so much more to the whole safari experience from Durban.
Safari from Durban; Cheetah cub at Cat rehabilitation center
After we finished at the Cat rehabilitation center we drove 20 minutes to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and entered at the Memorial gate.
It was here we entered and within a few minutes we spotted Baboons near the road and some crossing.
Safari from Durban; Baboon
Our safari from Durban had truly began and it was not long before we spotted even more animals! We spotted first a single bull Elephant and by watching him we found a herd of Elephant walking from a drainage line through a dip onto the open plain!
Video – Safari from Durban – Elephants walk out of a dip in Hluhluwe
After enjoying these Elephants we continued and spotted some Giraffe which we were all excited about as it is one of the big animals that clients always want to see. We spotted a baby with a mother and a couple other female Giraffe.
Safari from Durban; Giraffe
We were on our way up to Hilltop camp where we would be staying for the 2 nights and it was not easy to get there as we kept seeing animals which of course we were not complaining about. We had another sighting of a small breeding herd of Elephant and it was great.
Safari from Durban; Elephants
We eventually made it up to camp and settled in for some lunch most of us having the Bunny chow before heading to the rooms for a short while. I them met my clients and 3 of the 4 did the open vehicle game drive leaving myself and Jan to spend about 1 hour doing our own Ferrari safari(fast one).
We headed out and with the cloud building up it was a little dark but we still spotted a herd of Elephant on the hill near the camp.
Safari from Durban; Elephants at sunset
The lighting on one Elephant was amazing and after enjoying the view we continued seeing almost nothing except Nyala as it was so dark and windy. We then got back onto the main road and had some amazing luck as we found a lone African wild dog the most endangered carnivore in Africa.
Safari from Durban; African wild dog
The picture was not good as it was so dark and he was running down the road so I made a video clip in the hope that it would work out better.
Video – Safari from Durban – Wild Dog runs down the road in the dark
It was now time to get back to camp and wait on the others arrival from there evening open vehicle safari. I was glad to hear when they got back that the did see African Wild dog so we all had seen the same things.
It was time for dinner and we all enjoyed what we wanted off the menu and then headed off to bed after a long but great safari from Durban. Day 2 of our safari I was sure would be just as good as day 1.
Day 2: Safari from Durban
We met for a 7am breakfast before departing the lodge at 07:30. We would be heading into the Umfolozi section to see if we could get lucky with cats and any other animals.
Our first sighting was of Rhino which was not a good as I hoped but as I always say a Rhino is a Rhino!
Safari from Durban; Rhinos hiding
We enjoyed the Rhino mother and calf for while before continuing our safari from Durban. It was interesting as we managed to spot some great animal behaviour a bit later on when we found a White backed Vulture breaking a twig and then flying into a tree with it clearly looking to build a nest. This you don’t see often!
Safari from Durban; White backed Vulture with a twig in its beak
As we continued further south we found a dazzle of Zebra and got some to cross the road in front of us before finding some Giraffe just before the Umfolozi river.
Safari from Durban; Zebras look over Umfolozi
At the river itself we managed to spot some Elephants up stream just on the edge of the river and they were not really doing much except flapping their ears to cool off. It was already 27 degrees and this is our winter.
Safari from Durban; Elephants
Driving on with our safari from Durban we were enjoying the views when we found 5 Buffalo bulls resting near to the road and just chewing the cud. It was a great site and they completely ignored us as normal.
Safari from Durban; Buffalos
We stopped for a rest room break and here we enjoyed watching some warthogs. We then went through a very frustrating patch where we spotted lots on Impala, warthogs and animals in the distance but nothing close. I got word that Lions had been seen earlier in the morning so I decided to give it a bash and see if we could relocate them. We were successful and it was an amazing sighting as we watched a Lioness and her sub adult male cub resting with each other clearly fat and full from eating something!
Safari from Durban; Lions sleeping on a full belly
Wow what a great day it had just turned out to be on our safari from Durban! We then watch the adult Lioness get up and walk away from her cub and I managed to get this on video before the male gave us a lovely glance.
Video – Safari from Durban – Lions in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
Safari from Durban; Young male Lion
We must have spend 30 minuted with these lovely Lions before beginning the long drive to the luncheon stop at the Centenary center, home of Operation Rhino which brought back the White Rhinos from Extinction.
The drive back was very quiet until we got to the Umfolozi river and spotted more Elephants.
Safari from Durban; Bull Elephant
Before we could get to lunch we spotted some Giraffe with a huge herd of Impalas which at this stage we were a little tired of seeing. The Giraffe male came very close to the road showing us his 45cm long tongue as he ate the acacia tree leaves.
Safari from Durban; Giraffe
We stopped for lunch and had a great meal before a look around the Museum and the curio shop respectively. Once all were done we began the hour long drive back to Hilltop camp to book the clients on the evening open vehicle game drive. Our safari from Durban had gone really well today and we met again just before the evening game drive and then at 8pm for some dinner.
Day 2: Safari from Durban
The next day would be again a 7am start with some breakfast and checking out before some game drive time and then heading on to St Lucia -Isimangeliso Wetland park for our 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and crocodiles.
We managed to finally get a great sighting of Rhino and we had 3 of them together on the road and in an open area which was very exciting. We watched them doing their thing and then moved on to find Buffalo and some Zebra before we needed to make our way out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to go to St Lucia.
Safari from Durban; Rhino
We were super lucky when we were at St Lucia and apart from the lots of Hippos and a Crocodile we saw we managed to spot the elusive Bull Shark which is found in the St Lucia Estuary.
Video : Safari from Durban – Bull shark in St Lucia estuary
Our Hippos sightings were very good and we managed to get some out of the water and one which was feeding on the reeds near the bank of St Lucia estuary.
Safari from Durban; Hippo at St Lucia
After a great 3 days of Safari from Durban it was time to grab some lunch and chat about how amazing a safari we had and then make our way back to Durban city.
My clients were sad to leave the Nature behind but I am sure they will be back in the future to see it all again. Africa has a way of pulling at your heart strings!