Big 5 tour Durban Archives - Tim Brown Tours
  • 6th August 2015

    Big 5 safari from Durban for 2 days

     

    I met my clients in Durban for their Big 5 safari just outside Durban to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve which is world famous for its Rhino breeding success through the 1950’s.

    We are truly blessed to have such an amazing Big 5 game reserve near Durban which in my opinion is just as good if not better than Kruger national park.

     

    Kruger National park may be bigger but it is not as scenic as Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve one of the main features all my clients point out!

     

    As usual I covered the History of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa on route to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi national park as well as anything we saw through Zululand.

     

    As we got further into Zululand we stopped at a Cat rehabilitation center to enjoy some interaction with 4 species of endangered cats, the most exciting being Cheetah!

    My client of course loved it being big cat fans.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Serval

    Big 5 safari Durban; Serval

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Servals are very relaxed and also great to interact with so the above picture if of one of the Serval we interacted with. All this cats are here for either breeding or interaction due to some issue which prevents them from being released into the wild. The idea is to try and get as many of them back to the wild where they belong if not they are used as an educational tool to highlight there situation.

     

     

    We then left and arrived in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve not 3 hours from Durban and began our 2 day safari tour.

    Our first sighting was of Nyala and Warthogs.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Warthog

    Big 5 safari Durban; Warthog

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I was a little concerned as it had been a bit quiet in the national park in the past few days but that would not stop us having good sightings!

    We spotted Giraffe and Zebra in the distance so I made our way closer and we had the most amazing sighting where we had a troop of Baboons, Zebra, Giraffe and Rhino cross the road in front of us! It was amazing so at this point we had see the first of the Big 5 animals the Rhino but it seemed like we had seem so much more which we had!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Rhino

    Big 5 safari Durban; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Rhino crossing road on our African safari


     

     

     

    I made a good video of the Rhino crossing and then later got a great photo of a male Giraffe near to the road.

    It had been a great start and it was time to head to Hilltop camp for some lunch, check in and head back out for more animals.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Giraffe

    Big 5 safari Durban; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We enjoyed the Giraffe for a while and moved on to Hilltop camp for some lunch.

    We were as quick as we could be as my clients also wanted to do the open vehicle safari at 5pm-8pm with the lodge which meant for me I needed to find as many animals as possible in the afternoon.

     

    Our first sighting in the afternoon as some Nyala and then some Baboons all over the road grooming themselves.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Baboon

    Big 5 safari Durban; Baboon

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We tried to check all the view points over the Hluhluwe river to see if we could add to our Big 5 list with Elephant but we had no luck. We did find a few Red Duiker and one new born which was very cute, sadly I missed the photo so got the adult instead.

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Red Duiker

    Big 5 safari Durban; Red Duiker

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was time to begin our way back to Hilltop camp but before we could get there we managed to add lots more Rhino and a herd of Buffalo to our Big 5 safari list.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Buffalo

    Big 5 safari Durban; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had now seen 2 of the Big 5 on our safari from Durban and the clients got on to the evening game drive before we met again at 8pm for dinner. I was surprised as when they returned they had not been too luck so had not added any more of the Big 5 to the list which meant I had huge stress to find Cats and Elephants the other 2 major ones of the Big 5 were were missing. The Leopard which would be the 5th of the Big 5 we try and think of it as a bonus as we see it so rarely.

     

    After a great dinner it was time for bed and we were all exhausted after a long day.

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: Big 5 safari from Durban

     

     

    We met before 7am and got all luggage in the vehicle before having a quick breakfast and making our way as far down south in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve as the 3.5-4 hours we had would allow us.

     

    This would be a pure crazy day as we just had such luck!

    As we had our way down south we ignored Rhino, Buffalo in the distance and most other things it the quest to find Elephant and Cats.

    We did have to stop for this sighting of Giraffe and Zebra though!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra and Giraffe

    Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra and Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We didn’t have to continue much further before we spotted our Elephants but they were far away and it did not make for the best picture. Minutes after we spotted another 2 Elephant and then another 2! Again pretty far away but we now had 3 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari.

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Elephants

    Big 5 safari Durban; Elephants

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued on we headed over the Umfolozi river and saw nothing but on the other side I bumped into a friend of mine Marumo who is involved in research. She said that 10 minutes before there was Lions in the river bed. I though we may as well turn back and check from a view point and there they all were all 14 of these amazing Lions! We were all so excited.

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Lion mom and cubs

    Big 5 safari Durban; Lion mom and cubs

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Lions in Imfolozi game reserve


     

     

     

    We now had 4 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari and were very happy with that. I had to put up another picture with a couple of big males in it to share with you all.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Lions

    Big 5 safari Durban; Lions

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We must have spent 15-20 minuted watching them and knew we still needed to try find Elephants closer but I think in our hearts we were all content having seen 4 of the Big 5 during our Safari from Durban.

     

     

    We battled and only found everything else except the Elephants close. We got one good sighting of Zebra though!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra

    Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We made our way to the gate to head to St Lucia estuary for our 2 hour boat cruise to see Hippos and Crocodiles as well as some Bird Life. It was an hour drive and we said farewell to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve and hello to Isimangaliso Wetland park.

     

    We stopped for some lunch in St Lucia town which was lovely before the boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary.

     

    Our cruise went very well we saw Hippos galore, Crocodiles, Birds and even a baby Hippo new born and its mother out the water.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Hippo mom and baby

    Big 5 safari Durban; Hippo mom and baby

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I was really fortunate to have filmed this and it was amazing watching the young Hippo head into the water with its mother and have her display by opening her mouth.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hippo mother and baby on the shore run to the water

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had a great look at couple of Crocodiles which was great and after seeing 4 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari to see Hippos and Crocodiles is always a treat!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Crocodile

    Big 5 safari Durban; Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    One of my favorite pictures from the St Lucia boat cruise was the this one below where I managed to have the good fortune of lining up 2 or 4 Hippos heads in a row.

     

    We had a great 2 hours at St Lucia on the boat and it was not time to head back to Durban and say goodbye after sharing some great memories.

     

    If you wish to do the same tour as described above please click on this link below:

     

     

    Durban 2 day Big 5 safari tour

     

     

  • 9th March 2015

    Durban day tour – Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 8th March 2015

     

    We began our Durban day tour in Kloof where I collected a group of 4 clients before heading down into Durban city to collect another couple from the Elangeni. Once all were aboard and introduced to one another we began the 2.5 hour drive up to the game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi.

    On route as normal I tried to cover as much of the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as possible and also opened the floor to questions. It is always amazing to get everyone’s perspective on South Africa and Durban and a lot of the time clients do not expect to see such a well developed City or country. I always hear how wonderful our roads are as well as the infrastructure. One of the major things my clients tell me is how green it is! 

    Being our Summer time going now into Autumn this is still the time of the year we have the majority of our rainfall in KwaZulu Natal. Our tours in KwaZulu Natal are always amazing even when we have times where the animals choose not to show up.

    We finally arrived at Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve at I think 09:30 and after getting the entrance pass we headed into the national park to be greeted by some Warthogs with piglets. They were covered with mud and this one mother was rubbing herself on one of the bridge crossings.

     

    Durban day tour; Warthog

    Durban day tour; Warthog

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After watching these Warthogs for a while we continued with our Durban day safari tour to see what else we could find! It was a matter of a minute and we spotted some Baboons and Buffalo in the distance. We decided to wait and watch the Baboons as they were getting closer to the road, every so often we had one run across the road in front of us but I was to slow to get a photo of that.

     

    Durban day tour; Baboon

    Durban day tour; Baboon

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After the Baboons we spotted some Zebra and Buffalo that were closer to the road. We even got some Zebras crossing in front of us which is always great to see. While we were watching all of this and I was explaining about some of these amazing animals we spotted a Giraffe in the distance which was great to see but didn’t make for a good photo; we could have to wait!

    So far it had all been rush and the sightings on our Durban day tour had been thick and fast!

     

    Durban day tour; Buffalo and Zebra

    Durban day tour; Buffalo and Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued on but within another few minutes we spotted Nyala one of the man types of antelope we have in Africa and then it was a beautiful bird a European Roller! Wow this was turning out to be a great Durban day safari.

     

    Durban day tour; European Roller

    Durban day tour; European Roller

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This had been an amazing start to our Durban day tour but I knew the day was still long and we had more chances of seeing better or more sightings of the Big 5 and others. At this point we had seen out of the Big 5; Buffalo and Rhino. The Rhino had been in the thickets so I chose to return later to see if we could get them more in the open.

     

    The craze continued as I headed to the Hluhluwe River to look for Elephants but before we could get there we saw more Giraffe. Then at the Hluhluwe river itself we hit the Jackpot! A  Lioness walking in clear view down at the river and we just watched here. Every so often she would turn back to see if anything was following her. It became clear when I looked back at the photos that she had swollen nipples meaning she had cubs she was feeding. She walked cautiously up to some Buffalo in the river and then crawled away into the thickets behind the reeds. This was not the 3rd time in 2 weeks I has seen Lions here and clearly now in my mind it was because she had a den sight.

    Very exciting stuff for us and we were all pumped up with the luck we were having! Not 3 of the Big 5 we had seen!

     

    Durban day tour; Lioness

    Durban day tour; Lioness

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Fortune had favored us and we continued to another section of the Hluhluwe river to find Elephant. Again we managed to spot more Nyala antelope and even a crocodile in the river before finally spotting our Elephant at a designated view sight. As the Elephant was in the river and 50 meters away it was safe for us to get out and watch him feeding on the grasses growing in the ever drying up river!

    What a great Durban day tour this had been so far! This was not the 4th of the Big 5 and we were on a role!

     

    Durban day tour; Elephant in Hluhluwe river

    Durban day tour; Elephant in Hluhluwe river

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    At this view sight I took picture for my clients of them with the Elephant behind them and I hope they don’t mind me putting their photo up on this blog post. It is always nice to show how if you respect nature you can have a chance to take photos like this on a Durban day tour.

     

    Durban day tour; Ed, Daniela, Sarah and Cathy with the Elephant

    Durban day tour; Ed, Daniela, Sarah and Cathy with the Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After spending some time with the Elephant we shot back to where the Rhinos were from earlier and we were lucky as they were sleeping in the open under a tree in the shade. The best part of this was that their was 3 Giraffe that walked right past the Rhinos which meant the Rhinos got up to have their photo taken. This was a great sighting and we were all smiles!

     

    Durban day tour; Giraffe and Rhinos

    Durban day tour; Giraffe and Rhinos

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The temperatures were rising and it was 33 degrees, it got a little worrying as we headed up to Hilltop camp for lunch and the temperature crept up to 38 degrees. It luckily came down and while we were having lunch it dropped off to about 32 degrees.

    Lunch was great apart from the waiter forgetting one of our orders, he tried to make amends by bringing out some ice cream in the mean time which was a nice touch but obviously was a little random. All in all we were very happy with the day and the lunch went down a treat.

    We finished up later than I was hoping but what can you do. We continued on our merry way and tried a new area of the game reserve to see if we could find some Lions that had been seen in the morning. Sadly the animals we did see were very far away as it was so hot. We found Rhinos sleeping in the shade, Nyala, Zebra and Rhino.

    We also spotted a lovely little crocodile in one of the streams.

     

    Durban day tour; Crocodile

    Durban day tour; Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We kept trying and as we exited the eastern gate we spotted two Elephant Bulls just drinking water from a mud wallow. As we had the safety of the gate we were also able to get out for better photographs and this was not the second time we had seen Elephants on foot on a Durban day tour! In fact we had not seen Elephants the whole day from the vehicle.

     

    Durban day tour; Elephants drinking

    Durban day tour; Elephants drinking

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I also used this opportunity to get the clients a good photo of themselves with the Elephants. This had been a great gesture by nature to show up as we were about to leave, it was 4pm and we had struggled after lunch. Over all it had been an amazing Durban day tour and we had seen so much including 4 of the Big 5 which for a day tour was exceptional.

     

    Durban day tour; Jason and Luma with the Elephants

    Durban day tour; Jason and Luma with the Elephants

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It had be a great day and now it was time to hit that long road back to Durban and then Kloof. We had a little rain on the way back to the city but we were fortunate that the whole safari had been a hot sunny day!

    Another brilliant day safari tour with Tim Brown Tours.