Big 5 Durban Safaris Archives - Tim Brown Tours
  • 3rd July 2014

    Durban Big 5 Private Honeymoon 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29th June – 1 July 2014

     

    We began our Big 5 Private Honeymoon Durban 3 Day Safari Tour to the Big 5 Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve in Umkomaas where my client had been diving with sharks.

    I covered the usual things like the history of the area we were entering into and of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. The history of the world famous Big 5 Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve is always interesting as well as the Flora and Fauna in Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve.

     

    We made good time and stopped twice for coffee on the 3.5 hour long drive.

     

    After these short stops to rest we visited Emdoneni Cat Rehab Centre where my clients could enjoy touching 4 species of endangered wild cats. These cats the Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African wild cat are all here for sad reasons and now are used as educational tools and for breeding to release more back into the wild.

     

    Once we were finished here we made our way to the Big 5 Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve.

     

    These Big 5 Game reserve can be misunderstood as being a guaranteed sighting of the Big 5 but this is not the case as animals roam freely in an area of 960 Square Kilometers. We were lucky and had immediate success as we got a Kudu near the road.

     

    We were very lucky as we spotted Buffalo in the distance then Rhino and then a large herd of Elephant. I decided to be patient as they looked like they could eventually make there way out onto the road. The other cars all left and 10 minutes later we has a great look at these Elephants with the babies on the road!

    Elephants on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

    Elephants on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

     

    We continued on the main road and we found more Elephants right next to the road. Our Durban Private Honeymoon Big 5, 3 Day Safari Tour was looking good so far! It was like the animals can out especially for us in the heat of the day!

     

    We must have had some good vibes for our Durban Safari Tour to be going so well.

     

    We then spotted an old male Buffalo down at Zicaceni dam where he was resting in the heat of the day and it was 29 degrees on a winters day!

    Old Male Buffalo on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

    Old Male Buffalo on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

     

    At this point we were all getting hungry and it was only the animals that kept the hunger away so we began to head to Hilltop camp.

    At the entrance to the staff quarters we spotted a troop of Baboon Browsing the hill turning stone looking for scorpions and spiders to eat.

     

    This was becoming a great Big 5 Hluhluwe Umfolozi Private Honeymoon Safari Tour.

    Chacma Baboon female on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

    Chacma Baboon female on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

     

    Our Durban Big 5, 3 Day Safari Tour started.

     

    We settled in for some lunch at Hilltop camp before a rest once checked in.

     

    Our Big 5 Hluhluwe Umfolozi 3 Day Safari Tour continued at 16:45 when we met for the evening open vehicle game drive. I stupidly decided not to come with and true to form a Leopard showed up for my clients!

    Sadly I didn’t get a picture to show you.

     

    I had arranged a private dinner for my honeymoon clients and I ate earlier.

     

    It was the end of a successful Day 1 on our Durban 3 Day Safari tour.

     

    Day 2: Durban Big 5 Private Honeymoon 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve

     

    Our Durban Big 5 private Honeymoon 3 Day Safari Tour continued as I got the clients up for a morning game drive in the Hluhluwe section of the reserve.

    The saw more Elephants, Rhino and Buffalo with Giraffe and warthog but sadly the cats eluded them.

     

    The returned and we shared a breakfast at Hilltops restaurant. I chatted to my clients and they wanted to go back out on the reserve so at 10:30 we went back out for a few hours.

     

    We were super lucky on this Days Safari Tour in Hluhluwe. About 5 minutes from the camp we found 2 Back Rhino which are highly rare and the male was courting the female. Every so often he would do the Flemin grimace and lift his head raising his upper lip to check if the female was ready for mating! Super cool!

    Black Rhino with Flemin grimace on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014
    Black Rhino with Flemin grimace on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

     

    As our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Private Honeymoon 3 Day safari tour continued we stopped at the Hluhluwe river and spotted a crocodile resting on the bank and Elephants in the distance.

    My Clients Picture over the Hluhluwe River on there Honeymoon on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014
    My Clients Picture over the Hluhluwe River on there Honeymoon on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

     

    We then continued to Maphumulo picnic site and saw some Hippos far down in the river. A great Days Durban Safari!

    Baby Nile crocodile on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

    Baby Nile crocodile on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

     

    Our amazing Durban Private honeymoon Big 5, 3 Day Safari from Durban had really turned out well and we still had one and a half days left!

     

    We made our way round to the main road and came across 3 different herds of Elephant which showed off and walked all over the road once we waited a few minutes.

    Bull Elephant reaches for leaves on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

    Bull Elephant reaches for leaves on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

     

    After we got back to Hilltop camp it was time for some lunch and a rest before the evening game open vehicle game drive. Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve had been a good host to us and still had a couple things to show us.

    We then spent a bit of time recovering and then it was time for the evening game drive where the clients got to see Hyenas feeding off the remains of a Buffalo carcass. This was amazingly great as they had asked me earlier in the day if we have Hyenas!

    So far out of the Big 5 we had seen Leopard, Rhino(Black and White), Elephant(loads) and Buffalo(dead and alive). So 4 out of the Big 5 plus the extra of Hyena and Black Rhino we were truly lucky! What an amazing Big 5 Durban Safari on my clients Honeymoon!

    Dinner was excellence as it always is at Hilltop camp and the only sad thing was that Nigeria and Algeria lost there world cup matches which meant there was no African teams in the last 8 of World cup 2014 in Brasil.

    It was time for a rest and bed, the stars were so bright and beautiful in Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve that night.

    After Waking up to the alarm it was time for the final morning open vehicle game drive for the clients and then some breakfast before we would check out of Hilltop camp and head to St Lucia (Isimangeliso Wetland park) for a 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and crocodiles!

    We had time after checkout for a final safari drive so we could recap a few animals and we were lucky to get this giraffe nice and close which the clients hadnt seen this close yet on our Safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

    Male Giraffe on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

    Male Giraffe on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

     

    This was the end of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve Safari experience and we departed to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park for our 2 hour boat cruise on this World heritage site.

    We had amazing sightings at St Lucia and saw lots of Hippos, Crocodiles and even Fish Eagles, Caspian Terns, Pied Kingfishers, Goliath Herons the list goes on.

    Hippo at St Lucia on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

    Hippo at St Lucia on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

    We also had a spectacular sighting of this Goliath Heron the World Tallest Heron. We flew up into a pod of Hippos and startled them so just got the picture of him about to fly!

    Goliath heron at St Lucia on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014
    Goliath heron at St Lucia on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

    After this great sighting at St Lucia Estuary we got to see about 10 crocodiles resting on a bank as there was a dead Hippo near by and they had been feeding. Behind them in the below picture are the Mangrove swamps. What an amazing Durban Safari tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve.

    Crocodiles Basking in the sun at St Lucia on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014
    Crocodiles Basking in the sun at St Lucia on our Durban Big 5 Private 3 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game reserve 29 June to 1 July 2014

    It was not the end of a Fantastic honeymoon Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve from Durban. I returned my clients back to Durban and would meet them the next Day for a Durban City Tour.

    Join Tim Brown Tours on your next visit to South Africa we can arrange the best possible experience for any time frame and ensure you leave South Africa – Durban with a lifetime of memories.

  • 11th June 2014

    Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5, 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    After meeting my clients in Durban at the Quarters Hotel on Florida Road we began the Journey to the Big 5 Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve covering the History of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and Hluhluwe Umfolozi.

    We stopped along the way at Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation centre where the clients were able to interact hands on with 4 endangered Wild Cats the Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cat!

    We were lucky on this Durban Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi as the Caracal and Servals were very interactive.

    African Wild Cat on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    African Wild Cat on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Caracal on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Caracal on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Cheetah on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Cheetah on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
    Serval on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
    Serval on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    After enjoying these cats and getting educated on the plight we continued to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve; Africa’s Oldest proclaimed national park established in 1895.

    The Flora and Fauna in Hluhluwe Umfolozi is remarkable and I knew the clients would enjoy it.

    Upon entering Hluhluwe Umfolozi for our Safari tour we got lucky with some Giraffes near the gate. As we went further up the road we spotted some Buffalo in the valley before spotting a Crowned eagle sitting on a Sycamore Fig Tree while the Trumpeter Hornbills cried there displeasure.

    Crowned eagle on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
    Crowned eagle on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
    Giraffe as we came in gate on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
    Giraffe as we came in gate on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    On the opposite side of the road was an old male Buffalo which just lay down in the grass looking very tired and old.

    We continued on towards Hilltop Camp for some lunch and to check in to the resort.

    After a great Lunch and 30 minutes of rest we headed back out onto the game reserve of Hluhluwe Umfolozi on our Safari Tour and came across a herd of Buffalo crossing the road. We were actually looking for Elephants but they were to far away we could only hear them trumpet in the distance.

    Buffalo after lunch on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Buffalo after lunch on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Our Durban Safari Tour continued and we spotted some Rhino in the long grass, we were patient and we found them coming closer to the road which made for a great photo.

    White Rhino after lunch on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    White Rhino after lunch on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    We moved on to a view point where we spotted some Hippos standing in the shallow water feeding on the reeds at about 16:30 and a Big Crocodile on the bank. Our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour was really building up.

    Hippos after lunch on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Hippos after lunch on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
    Big crocodile on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
    Big crocodile on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    We continued and spotted more Rhinos and Loads of Giraffe all over the place it was frustrating at the light was fading and I needed to drop on of my clients off at the Memorial gate. After doing this we returned to Hilltop camp in the Hluhluwe Section of the reserve.

    So far on Day 1 of our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour we had seen 2 of the Big5, Rhino and Buffalo. This left me with a great challenge the next day!

    After some great steaks at Hilltop camps restaurant we headed to bed after a brief looking at the stars. We had an early morning the next day a 6am start.

     

    Day 2:  Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5, 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

     

    We woke early long before the sun was up and began our day from Hilltop camp driving down into the Umfolozi section of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve to try find Lions. We took with us packed breakfasts and our Durban Safari Tour began!

    We sped down south and saw a few giraffe before we struck gold and got a young male Lion crossing the road in front of us. It happened so fast by I did get a photo after he lay down in the thickets 30 meters off the road.

    Young skinny Lion on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Young skinny Lion on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    We were all so happy now that we had knocked the Lion on the head so to speak. After this we moved on and spotted a Wildebeest and Impalas near the road. I heard a sound and turned the engine off, It was a Hyena calling announcing his presence. Sadly he was to far away to be seen but it added to the experience of our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour.

    We made our way down to the Black Umfolozi river where we spotted hyena tracks and a Lioness in the distance down stream which was in a bad way. She could have been attacked by a big male and was looking worse for wear!

    Sick Lioness awaits her fate on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Sick Lioness awaits her fate on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    As we left that area we were so happy having found lions twice on our morning Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour from Hilltop camp.

    We could not have asked for a better start to the day. Then we reached Mpila camp in Umfolozi and spotted some vervet monkeys and Impala before continuing down towards Mphafa hide where we were luck enough to see Zebra, Nyala and Impala drinking. Durban Day Safaris to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve are amazing and we had 3 of them back to back!

    Vervet Monkey stares at me on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
    Vervet Monkey stares at me on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
    Mphafa hide Nyalas and Impala drink water on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
    Mphafa hide Nyalas and Impala drink water on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Zebras Drink at Mphafa hide on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Zebras Drink at Mphafa hide on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    After this we continued our Safari Tour of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve and found Warthogs, loads of Impala even a Kudu and more Zebra and Wildebeest before we spotted a large Journey of Giraffe near the White Umfolozi river. Durban City had certainly become a distant memory for us at this point!

    Journey of Giraffe on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Journey of Giraffe on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Warthog rests on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Warthog rests on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
    Bush Zebra Crossing on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
    Bush Zebra Crossing on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    We came across a crash of Rhino resting in a open area before checking back on our injured Lioness which got up and hobbled along before sitting down again in the river on a sand bank. I think that tonight is the night that the call of the Hyenas will carry her name…!

    Giving our pathetic Lioness a final glance we had to push on and not let the inevitable consume our minds. We were quickly cheered up as I spotted some Elephants on the hills which was great as being patient for the whole day we were rewarded. After a few minutes we continued to lunch at Centenary centre, At this point I had been driving for 6 hours and was pretty shattered!

    Lunch at the home of Operation Rhino which brought back the Rhinos from extinction in the 1950’s and 1960’s was special. You always feel humbled to know that Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve saved Rhinos from a definite extinction 60 years ago. We should all be indebted to them for this miracle!

    On completion of lunch we shot off on our final stretch to Hilltop camp on what had already been a fantastic Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour in this amazing Big5 game reserve.

    We again spotted Elephants on a ridge still a little far for good photos but as we came closer to Hilltop camp we nailed these Ellies! We got a Large herd of about 25 individuals with lots of tiny babies crossing the road in front of us. They were on a mission to get to water down at the mansiya river. What a 3 Day Safari Tour this was turning out to be!

    Herd of Elephant walk towards the road on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Herd of Elephant walk towards the road on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Elephant mother and baby cross road on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Elephant mother and baby cross road on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    After an 8 hour Safari Tour of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve we arrived back at Hilltop camp, collected the tickets for the evening game drive and I showed my clients were we had been they were amazed at home far we had travelled.

     

    After a rest for the clients I collected them and took them to the Open vehicle for there Evening – Night Safari game drive. I’m sure they would enjoy this even though it would be a bit cold…

     

    It was time for dinner and bed…

     

    Day 3:  Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5, 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

     

    We had a sleep in till 6am and met just before 7am to pack the car and get some breakfast before a final 3 hour Safari Tour of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve.

    After this we would head to Isimangeliso wetland park for a 2 hour boat cruise on the Estuary of St Lucia.

    Days 3’s Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour was unbelievable! We could not have asked for a better finale to our 3 Day Durban Safari Tour.

    We departed after breakfast and made our way to try and relocate the herds of Elephant we had spotted the day before crossing to get a drink from the river. It was 5 minutes and we spotted the on there way back feeding in the thickets. As my clients loved Elephants we spend lots of time with the Elephant waiting on then. Eventually after 40 minutes we drop off and spotted another large herd of Elephant near the road and we waited for then to cross in front of us. We the spotted an old Big male who seems to have some sort of polio in his back left leg(old hop along we called him).

    Big bull ellie old hop along and 2 other males face off on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Big bull ellie old hop along and 2 other males face off on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    The sighting got crazier as 2 younger but still big males were challenged by old hop along and we had a great time reversing to give the 3 of them space!

    There was a 3rd herd of Elephant making its way to the road and we let them cross they has some really tiny babies and this made our day!

    What a final Day Safari Tour! We also stopped next to a large male who put his trunk up to smell us and my pour clients got such a fright but he was only smelling us nothing malicious.

    I could not believe what this day Safari Tour had brought us! After about over an hour and a half we decided to leave and see what else we could find. We also spotted giraffe, Buffalo and Baboon another favourite with my clients. We even found a Southern Egg Eater Snake in a pile of Elephant Dung!

    Southern Brown Egg eater in some Elephant Dung on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
    Southern Brown Egg eater in some Elephant Dung on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    We had to head on to the gate to make our way to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetand Park. All of a sudden the wind picked up and was blowing the vehicle around a bit. We arrived in St Lucia and were disappointed that all boat cruises had been cancelled due to the strong winds.

    We made the most of this and had some great seafood and pizza in St Lucia Town. Then we headed down to the board walk and did the walk to the Indian ocean and spotted 2 hippos grazing out of the water and a crocodile on a grassy patch in the middle of the Estuary.

    Hippos graze in the day with the Indian ocean behind them on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
    Hippos graze in the day with the Indian ocean behind them on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban

    Along the walk I tried to cover things like the mangrove swamps and crabs which would have been covered on the boat had the weather played ball with us!

    After enjoying St Lucia – Isimangeliso wetland park we continued back to Durban City (actually Umhlanga) reminiscing on what the 3rd Day of our Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve had brought us.

    An amazing time, just incredible Days of Safari Touring!