Drakensberg Hiking Tours Archives - Tim Brown Tours
  • 1st December 2014

    Drakensberg 3 Day hiking and scenic Tour 26 – 28 November 2014 

     

     

    I collected my client from their hotel at 7am, this was the same group that we with me on the previous Durban Safari Tour.

    Our Drakensberg leg of our Tour would be very different to the game reserve safari tour.

    We began at the Nelson Mandela Capture site near Howick and this was a great part of the tour to learn about the big man and the way he chose to lead his life post imprisonment.

     

    Nelson Mandela capture site seen on our Durban Drakensberg and Midlands Tour

    Nelson Mandela capture site seen on our Durban Drakensberg and Midlands Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The actual capture site is across on the other side of the road where a plaque stands to commemorate this day in 1962 when Mandela finally was captured for trying to overthrow the South African Apartheid government.

     

    My clients at the Mandela capture site plaque

    My clients at the Mandela capture site plaque

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The latest edition to the capture site is a architectural structure which I can only describe as amazing that from one angle only shows the face of Mandela! This means of course that you have to enter the Museum section and take a “long walk to freedom” as they call it in order to see this amazing structure. Well worth the 200 meter walk…

     

    The new steel construction which shows Madibas face only at one angle

    The new steel construction which shows Madibas face only at one angle

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Nelson Mandela was also known as “Madiba” which was the name given to him by his clan/Tribe it is said that he was born of a Royal Chief of the AmaThembu people in the Eastern cape and his father relinquished this title due to a misunderstanding/dispute over stolen cattle…

     

    After this amazing visit I decided to add in the Howick Falls and craft shops to the itinerary as we had the time and it wasn’t far away. Howick is a lovely quaint British colonial town in the Midland of our beautiful province of KwaZulu-Natal.

     

    Howick falls near Mandela capture site

    Howick falls near Mandela capture site

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Howick falls is about a 96 meters drop and one of the higher waterfalls in South Africa but well behind Tugela falls at 947 meters.

    Once we had enjoyed the view of the falls we moved up the streets into the town to look at the lovely shops and have some coffee. I made the mistake of buying Joey a Vuvuzela and him being interested in music drove his poor mother mad. I do apologize Betsy! Sorry.

    At least Joey liked the Vuvuzela and Dave his father also gave it a blow.

     

    At this point we headed for our destination the amazing Central Drakensberg – Cathedral Peak and Didima where we would be spending a couple of nights. The views were breath taking and the villages we passed through were so rural but amazingly happy. I always say people are happier with less and less is more!

     

    Once we arrived and got settled at Didima we headed out on a hike to the lovely Doreen falls. We saw so much along the way including Protea flowers, Imphepo – a herb used to ward off evil spirits by burning it in your hut and breath taking scenery!

     

     Protea flower in the Drakensberg on our first hike

    Protea flower in the Drakensberg on our first hike

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Stuck between a Rock and a hard place seen on our Drakensberg Tour

    Stuck between a Rock and a hard place seen on our Drakensberg Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    When we got to Doreen falls itself if was flowing beautifully and because we are so high up you can drink they clean mountain water naturally filtered by the rocks. I got my clients to pose behind the falls as there is a lovely cave there that could have been used by the San Bushmen as shelter hundreds of years earlier.

     

    Doreen Falls with my clients behind the falls during our Drakensberg Tour

    Doreen Falls with my clients behind the falls during our Drakensberg Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we made our way back down we came across a Reed buck male and female which were alarm calling once they spotted us. We stopped and gazed at them before the decided it was time to head off and leave us in their wake!

     

    Reedbuck seen in the Drakensberg mountains on a hike

    Reedbuck seen in the Drakensberg mountains on a hike

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was time to get back to Didima lodge for the night. We had a lovely dinner and had our day all planned for the next day with some hiking in the Northern Drakensberg – Royal Natal National Park.

     

    Day 2: Drakensberg 3 Day hiking and scenic Tour

     

    We awoke to the amazing clear Cathedral Peak visible from our rooms! What a lovely sight before some breakfast and an hour drive to the Northern Drakensberg!

     

    View on the second morning from my room of Cathedral peak in the Drakensberg

    View on the second morning from my room of Cathedral peak in the Drakensberg

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    When we arrived in Royal Natal National Park named after Queen Victoria’s visit in the 1940’s we began with a short hike up to some Bushman painting which are 800 years old. These are young in the greater scheme of things as we have bushman painting dating back as far as 28 000 years. These amazing 4 foot high people have been roaming these mountain peaks for the past 40 000 years until modern man arrived.

     

    Bushman paintings that are 800 years old seen on a hike in the Northern Drakensberg

    Bushman paintings that are 800 years old seen on a hike in the Northern Drakensberg

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Myself showing some of these amazing Bushman paintings in the Drakensberg

    Myself showing some of these amazing Bushman paintings in the Drakensberg

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The sites are protected and can only be seen with a guide. Over years people have defaced these amazing pictures and this is what has now caused the protection of the artwork. Thank you to David and his friends…

     

    Before we descended the slopes I pointed out some fossils of a sea snail proving that at one time the Drakensberg was under water and it was an inland sea. Unbelievable as they are over 3000 meters above it now…

     

    Fossils in the Drakensberg of sea shells seen on one of our hikes

    Fossils in the Drakensberg of sea shells seen on one of our hikes

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We began the descent and the views were lovely, we still have a 3- 4 hour hike ahead of us so it was important to get down and begin the longer hike as the wind was picking up and the weather forecast was a storm later in the afternoon which we didn’t want to get caught in. Dave’s clever solution was to take the ponchos with us and this would ward off the rain, which it did!

     

    Drakensberg day 2 view of the Northern Drakensberg Mont aux Sources

    Drakensberg day 2 view of the Northern Drakensberg Mont aux Sources

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I quickly signed the hiking register and got ourselves started on the big hike up from Mahai to Tiger falls, Look out Rock, Gudu falls and Gudu forest before the descent to Mahai parking lot.

     

    The view before we left was as follows:

     

    View of the area we hiked on Day 2 in the Northern Drakensberg on our Tour

    View of the area we hiked on Day 2 in the Northern Drakensberg on our Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We enjoyed the views of “Sleeping Beauty” and all the wild flowers before arriving at Tiger falls. This is a very special area for me as I have walked this area from a small boy. Tiger falls didn’t seem to have much water but it was a great place to refuel on mountain water before making our way around to “Look out Rock”. 

     

    Tiger Falls in the Northern Drakensberg during our hiking tour from Durban

    Tiger Falls in the Northern Drakensberg during our hiking tour from Durban

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After look out rock I think we were all getting a little hungry as the pace picked up and Joey sped down the mountain like a gazelle! We tried to match him which only made us more tired when we got down to the bottom 3 hours after beginning this hike.

     

    Proteas in flower with the Drakensberg behind seen on our Drakensberg Tour

    Proteas in flower with the Drakensberg behind seen on our Drakensberg Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    At this point it was a matter of filling out the register to say we had returned safe and then we took the scenic drive to Hlalanathi where we would have lunch. 

    My chocolate coffee was welcome after all the mountain water I had drunk and so was the Burger.

    It was already 3pm and we departed for Didima arriving near to 5pm.

    It was time for some rest before dinner which was again lovely.(excepting my missing pastry!)

    Finally the storm had caught up with us and the rain came at night.

    Bed was calling our names and we go back to the fireplace around 8-9pm for some sleep.

     

    Day 3: Drakensberg 3 Day hiking and scenic Tour

     

    This day was a later start 7am meeting for breakfast after packing luggage into the vehicle. Breakfast as pretty good and then after we checked out we went down to the Rock art center Museum and interpretive center.

    This Museum is amazing and has artifacts found on the San Bushmen dating way back. One of the most interesting finding is a full set of Bushman hunting equipment. A quiver, Arrows, poison pouch etc.

     

    Bushman arrows and Quiver seen in a Muesem in the Drakensberg on our Tour

    Bushman arrows and Quiver seen in a Muesem in the Drakensberg on our Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This was actually found by Mr J.S. Lombaard in 1926 in a cave in the Drakensberg mountains. He wrote a letter to request someone to purchase the items from him. It ended up in this museum we visited.

     

    Letter from Mr Lombaard on the findings of the San Bushman Quiver and Arrows

    Letter from Mr Lombaard on the findings of the San Bushman Quiver and Arrows

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    One of the last remaining full blooded Bushmen on the eastern part of South Africa by the name Qing also described some of the culture to the western communities which was jotted down in booked and made public. The museum contains snippets of the things he said as well as a very powerful video which explains to you more about the bushmen and there ways.

     

    Quotes from Qing a San Bushman who was interviewed on his people

    Quotes from Qing a San Bushman who was interviewed on his people

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After this powerful experience we exited and took our final picture of my clients with a life size statue of an Eland the largest antelope in Africa and can weigh as much as 1000 Kgs.

     

    My clients and a statue of an Eland antilope at Didima during our Drakensberg Tour

    My clients and a statue of an Eland antelope at Didima during our Drakensberg Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This ended the second part of our Tour, 3 days in the amazing Drakensberg Mountains.

    The Drakensberg meaning – Dragons Peak or in Zulu UKhahlamba – Barrier of Spears, these are name to describe this incredible place of peace and beauty!

     

  • 23rd August 2014

    Durban KwaZulu-Natal 5 Day Safari of the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and Tour to the Drakensberg 18 August – 22 August 2014

     

    Our Durban, KwaZulu-Natal 5 Day Safari began in Durban(Umhlanga) where I met my clients. Neil had been with me a year ago and had returned with his wife and son to share his experiences with them.

    I am always happy when clients return for a second taste of the South African National parks.

     

    I began by covering some of the history of Durban and KwaZulu-Natal as well as the history behind the national parks we would be visiting on day one.

     

    Day one began at St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland Park where we would embark on a 2 hour Estuary cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles. Isimangeliso Wetland Park is South Africa’s first world heritage site. It was decided by UNESCO in 1999.

    Upon arrival we had a look at a craft market and began this exciting cruise where we also spotted lots of birdlife.

     

    One of the first things we spotted was this African Fish Eagle which was perched on a tree in the Estuary of St Lucia.

     

    African fish eagle on Day 1 of our 5 Day Safari tour seen at St Lucia

    African fish eagle on Day 1 of our 5 Day Safari tour seen at St Lucia

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued on and enjoyed the breeze we came across a few large pods of Hippos. This picture below was one of many we saw this day.

     

    Hippos seen on Day 1 of our Durban Safari Tour at St Lucia

    Hippos seen on Day 1 of our Durban Safari Tour at St Lucia

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    During this St Lucia boat safari we spotted some crocodiles as well but I chose this picture of the Estuary mouth with the Crocodiles resting on a sand bank. The Indian Ocean is in the back ground.

     

    St Lucia Estuary mouth with 2 Big crocodiles on a sand bank during our Durban Safari Tour

    St Lucia Estuary mouth with 2 Big crocodiles on a sand bank during our Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Once we finished up here we went into the town and got some lunch before making our way to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, Africa’s oldest protected area.

    We entered at Memorial gate and spotted some Rhinos, Zebra, Buffalo and Wildebeest before arriving at Hilltop camp and checking in for 2 nights.

     

    Zebra foul seen on Day 1 of our 5 Day Durban safari tour seen in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
    Zebra foul seen on Day 1 of our 5 Day Durban safari tour seen in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The view from Hilltop camp is spectacular and after a short rest it was time for the evening game drive Safari Tour in the open vehicle. The clients got to see Elephant and Genet which we had not seen on the drive into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

    Huhluwe Imfolozi game has amazing Flora and Fauna and is a very diverse game reserve. The seasons have a huge effect on this protected National Park and this time of the year is really dry and baron with almost no water except in the river systems.

     

    The National park of Hluhluwe Imfolozi is home to the Big 5: Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. Being only 3 hours from Durban it is a must visit with a Guide if you are in the area!

     

    Upon our return to Hilltop camp we had dinner and went to bed ready for the new day.

     

    Day 2: Durban KwaZulu-Natal 5 Day Safari of the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and Tour to the Drakensberg 18 August – 22 August 2014

     

    We met at 7am for breakfast before heading into the Umfolozi section of the game reserve. We spotted many things including Giraffe, Zebra and Impala.

     

    I selected this picture of the White backed Vulture on a nest as the first one as Greg loved Birds.

     

    Day 2 of our Durban Safari tour we spotted this white backed vulture on her nest

    Day 2 of our Durban Safari tour we spotted this white backed vulture on her nest

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A bit further on we found a bull Elephant but he was in the thick bush so his picture didn’t get selected. However the next sighting was a Buffalo bull and he gave us a great stare which I captured and you can see below.

     

    Buffalo bull gives us the stare on Day 2 of our Durban Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

    Buffalo bull gives us the stare on Day 2 of our Durban Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued on our Big 5 Safari we had a great sighting of a Rhino chasing warthogs as he tried to cross to the road. It was a burned section so it looked great.

     

    Rhino chases warthogs as he tries to cross the road on our 2nd Day of our Durban Safari tour
    Rhino chases warthogs as he tries to cross the road on our 2nd Day of our Durban Safari tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We went to a view point to see if we could see anything and there were no cats but we spotted this great shot of a White fronted Bee eater.

     

    White fronted bee eater seen in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on Day 2 of our Durban Safari Tour

    White fronted bee eater seen in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on Day 2 of our Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Near to the same spot were a Journey of Giraffe and a Dazzle of Zebra. The Giraffe got his picture taken.

     

    Giraffe seen on our second Day in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on our Durban Safari Tour

    Giraffe seen on our second Day in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on our Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    At this point I figured we better try a watering hole as we were not finding the cats, So we headed to Bhejane hide and got a great picture of 3 different species at the watering hole. This was a great sight during our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour.

     

    Day 2 at Bhejane hide we saw 3 species of animals at the watering hole on our Durban safari Tour

    Day 2 at Bhejane hide we saw 3 species of animals at the watering hole on our Durban safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After a while we decided to head back to the home of Operation Rhino – Centenary centre to have some lunch and a rest. My clients also bought a few things at the curio shop before we departed to Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation centre for the 4pm Cat Tour.

    We were lucky as at the gate we spotted an old bull Elephant and he was feeding on some fresh shoots from an Acacia tree.

     

    Elephant bull feeds off the fresh shoot of an Acacia during our Durban 5 day Safari Tour

    Elephant bull feeds off the fresh shoot of an Acacia during our Durban 5 day Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We made it just in time to begin the feeding session Tour of the endangered Cat rehabilitation center.  Basically there are two tours a day and the second in the afternoon is when they feed the cats cuts of meat mostly chicken or wild meats. We got to interact with 3 of the 4 different species of endangered wild cat namely: African Wild cat, Serval and the Cheetah.

     

    Cheetah at Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation center during our 5 Day Safari Tour

    Cheetah at Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation center during our 5 Day Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After spending a good hour and a half with these amazing cats we returned to Memorial gate and got back to camp for dinner at 7pm.

     

    Dinner was great and after the food and conversation it was now time for some rest and we went to bed.

     

     

    Day 3: Durban KwaZulu-Natal 5 Day Safari of the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and Tour to the Drakensberg 18 August – 22 August 2014

     

    We began at 7am when I met my clients to collect there luggage and get down for some breakfast. Today was our final day of our Durban Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

    After checking out we began a very long journey as we had one last chance to find Lions before driving cross country to Didima in the Central Drakensberg (Cathedral peak).

     

    On route we saw loads of animals and on this Day we Spotted 4 of the Big 5! We finally found our lions resting in the Black Umfolozi river.

    We also spotted Black Rhino to add to our collection of White Rhino.

     

    Giraffe on day 3 of our 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

    Giraffe on day 3 of our 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Lions were a real great stroke of good fortune and they were all resting in the river on a sand bank. The heat of 38 degrees the day before must have taken its toll on them.

     

    Lions on Day 3 of our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

    Lions on Day 3 of our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I bumped into an old friend who I did my training with years ago and he mentioned a sighting of a sleeping Black Rhino. We were heading to that spot and we managed to relocate the Rhino sleeping in the shade of a bush.

     

    Black Rhino seen on our Big 5 Stretch of our Durban Safari Tour
    Black Rhino seen on our Big 5 Stretch of our Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After exiting Cengeni gate we heading to Ulundi, Vryheid, Dundee and Ladysmith before getting to the Drakensberg and Didima Lodge. This Journey took us 5 and a half hours to complete but we passed through rural South Africa and the Zulu Capital Ulundi. The battle of Ulundi saw the capture of the great Zulu King Cetswayo and his exile to Cape Town. Chelmsfords men defeated the Zulus and took over Ulundi.

     

    After lunch in Vryheid we made it to Didima at 16:30 where we checked in and recovered before dinner and a nice fire place in our rooms.

     

    Day 4: Durban KwaZulu-Natal 5 Day Safari of the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and Tour to the Drakensberg 18 August – 22 August 2014

     

    We began day 4 with a great breakfast at Didima. After this we headed down to the Bushman Interpretive centre and Museum in the rain, thank goodness when we came out the rain held off somewhat and we headed to the hikers parking lot to begin our hike.

     

    We hiked up to Doreen falls and up to a view point in the mountains before we headed back to the vehicle. During the hike up we spotted an Eland on the hill.

     

    Female Eland on the Drakensberg mountain on our hike during our Durban Safari Tour

    Female Eland on the Drakensberg mountain on our hike during our Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued with our Drakensberg Hike we enjoyed the views and sights and sounds. We spotted Baboons, heard a Jackal and found dung of Porcupines, Eland, Baboon and Jackal.

     

    Stuck between and rock and a hard place are a Cabbage tree and a Yellow wood tree during our Drakensberg leg of our Durban Safari Tour

    Stuck between and rock and a hard place are a Cabbage tree and a Yellow wood tree during our Drakensberg leg of our Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Doreen falls had a fair amount of water and we spent some time there enjoying the scenery.

     

    My clients in a cave with Doreen falls in front of then on our Drakensberg Durban Safari Tour

    My clients in a cave with Doreen falls in front of then on our Drakensberg Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Once we left the falls we hiked to a spot where we could enjoy the view and get a good picture.

     

    The view of Cathedral Peak on our rainy day of hiking in Central Drakensberg during our Durban Safari Tour
    The view of Cathedral Peak on our rainy day of hiking in Central Drakensberg during our Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    When we returned to the vehicle we got back to Didima lodge and I had some lunch before exhaustion set in and I rested my eyes for a couple hours before dinner and a bit of work.

     

    After dinner I had some work to do before Bed.

     

     

    Day 5: Durban KwaZulu-Natal 5 Day Safari of the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and Tour to the Drakensberg 18 August – 22 August 2014

     

    After meeting my clients at 7am and collecting there luggage we went though for some breakfast before checking out.

     

    It was then time to drive to my favourite part of the Drakensberg, the Northern Drakensberg. I have been visiting this area to hike since I was knee high to a Grasshopper.

     

    We would first start with the Bushman paintings which are 800 years old on a guided hike in the Northern Drakensberg which has to now be guided due to people defacing the San-Bushmen artwork.

     

    Bushman paintings seen on our second hike in the Drakensberg on Day 5 of our Durban Safari Tour

    Bushman paintings seen on our second hike in the Drakensberg on Day 5 of our Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    On this hike we also spotted Eland and this was the second day in a row and it brings you good luck.

     

    Eland seen on our Drakensberg hike up to the Bushman paintings on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour

    Eland seen on our Drakensberg hike up to the Bushman paintings on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Once we had enjoyed this short hike we went on to do a 3 hour hike via Tiger Falls, Look out Rock and Gudu Falls before making our way back down to the Mahai camp.

    The views are spectacular!

     

    Northern Drakenberg Royal Natal national parks view up the mountain during our 5 Day Durban Safari Tour

    Northern Drakenberg Royal Natal national parks view up the mountain during our 5 Day Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This was very enjoyable and we then visited Hlalanathi Berg Resort where we had some lunch before enjoying the great views.

     

    It was then time to head back to Durban and drop my client off after 5 great days of Safari and Drakensberg Touring! What an amazing experience it had been!

  • 1st June 2014

    Durban Day Safari Tour to the Drakensberg Mountains 29 May 2014

    After collecting my clients from Durban I found out that they were comrades runners and were novices. The Comrades in an Ultra Marathon of 89 Km in distance and no mean feat!

    I covered most of the Usual history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as well as the interesting things we saw along the way up to the Northern Drakensberg.

    After just over 3 hours of driving we reached our destination Royal Natal National Park (a requested name change by the queen Victoria).

    We started with the hour round trip Hike which is now a guided tour due to foolish children vandalising the rock art over the years. This protected area contains painting which are 800 years old which are young compared to the Bushmans history which dates back as far as 30 000 years! The San or Bushmen are the oldest know population of people who have ever lived and in this part of South Africa are extinct due to intolerance by the Zulus, British and Boers in the 1800’s.

    The hike was short and steep but more than worth it. This is a special Durban Day Safari Tour to the drakensberg which I do not advertise.

    Northern Drakensberg view from the Bushman paintings on our Durban Day Safari Tour to the Drakensberg mountains 29 May 2014

    Northern Drakensberg view from the Bushman paintings on our Durban Day Safari Tour to the Drakensberg mountains 29 May 2014

    At the bottom of the picture next to the road you can see the company car a mere ant compared to the surrounding mountains. The bushman painting hike is very steep and from the bottom to the top about 500 meters above the base level.

    Bushman Paintings of Eland and a Cobra on our Durban Day Safari Tour to the Drakensberg mountains 29 May 2014

    Bushman Paintings of Eland and a Cobra on our Durban Day Safari Tour to the Drakensberg mountains 29 May 2014

    The above painting made of white and red Ocre stone mixed with Blood, Egg, urine, animal fat and painted with natural products like feathers, fingers and twigs or 800 years old and still visible under this rock over hang. The sand stone in the mountains acted as a sponge absorbing the paint so that even a bit of weathering would not cause it to be lost 800 years later. The San – Bushman are my favorite people and the Zulus soon after! Living off the land they carved a life for themselves in Africa and were the first to start Iron/metal making. Durban Day Safari to the Drakensberg with Tim Brown Tours.

    Proof of the Drakensberg being an inland sea on our Durban Day Safari Tour to the Drakensberg mountains 29 May 2014

    Proof of the Drakensberg being an inland sea on our Durban Day Safari Tour to the Drakensberg mountains 29 May 2014

    The above images is a picture of fossils of sea urchins/shells in the rock next to the San Rock art which proves that even the mighty Drakensberg which reaches heights above 3000 meters above sea level was once an inland sea!

    Our Durban Day Safari Tour had only just begun as we now started a 3 hour hike from Mahai parking lot via Tiger Falls, Look Out Rock, Gudu Falls and Forest and returning to Mahai.

    I could tell that these runners we a lot fitter than myself especially after the issues I have been having with my back, however I managed to keep up with the pace and drank 3 bottles of fresh mountain water at Tiger Falls.

    The views were amazing and from the bottom this is what we saw.

    View up to Tiger Falls from Royal natal National Park on our Durban Day Safari Tour to the Drakensberg mountains 29 May 2014
    View up to Tiger Falls from Royal natal National Park on our Durban Day Safari Tour to the Drakensberg mountains 29 May 2014

    The above image is a part of the route we walked we covered the grassed plains below to reach the forest in the “V” of trees and moved from left to right and back down through the grasslands. All in all about 6 km of tough hiking.

    A great Day Tour from Durban to the Drakensberg mountains.

    We stopped for lunch at Hlalanathi – Elements restaurant where a warm meal was welcome and we then has a final look at the mountain before heading back to Durban City. We returned very tired but happy with how the Drakensberg Day Tour from Durban had gone.

     

  • 29th August 2013

    Hluhluwe Umfolozi 3 Day Safari Tour 25 – 27 August 2013

     

    After collecting my clients from Durban on the morning of the 25th we headed out to Emdoneni for the Night and the afternoon Cat Feeding Tour.

     

    After this we had a great Boma dinner under the stars and went to bed.

     

    The following day it was up for breakfast check out and head to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve where we would spend the night.

     

    When we entered we had about 4 hours of game drive time and had some great sightings for 3 of the Big 5 as you will see in the pictures above.

     

    Lunch was calling at Hilltop so we stop there and then checked in before another 3 hours of game drive where we also had some very good sightings.

     

    After a great Safari we returned for dinner and some star gazing before bed.

     

    Day 3 was great, the clients wanted to do the open vehicle game drive so I got up early and had a run around camp before finding out where the Lions were.

    Upon there return I mentioned I knew where we could hopefully find the lions so we quickly atebreakfast and checked out before speeding off to find the Lions.

    When we got there we had to wait 30 min before we got a look at the male Lion and then he mated with a Lioness we never saw as the grass was so long. This was a great experience and just the sound and seeing him made the Tour all worth it.

     

    Onward to St Lucia next with some happy clients in the car including me! The boat cruise was very relaxing and we saw loads of Hippos even out the water and a few big crocodiles.

     

    Then some lunch and curio shopping before returning to Durban.

     

    All in all a great Tour.

     

    Tim Brown Tours

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  • 29th August 2013

     

    Hluhluwe Umfolozi 3 Day Safari Tour 22 – 24 August 2013

     

    After collecting my Danish client from Durban on the morning of the 22nd we headed out to hluhluwe umfolozi where I had word of 3 Lion sightings, 2 of them buffalo kills.

    I thought to myself this is a guaranteed sighting. Lol.

    Well we entered at the Nyalazi gate and drove to the first Buffalo Carcass it was completely finished and the Lions were gone over the hill.

    We decided to check the next area where they had been spotted but it was like chasing Ghosts…

    By the time we returned to the carcass we did see with Binoculars a single Lion on the hill so far away it was pointless really to photograph but with 30 x optical zoom I tried.

    It was time to look for other things and we saw Elephants, Buffalo, Rhino, Giraffe, Zebra and Warthog. Bush was pumping!

    Lunch was calling at Hilltop.

    Then we checked in and settled for an hour before heading back out to see if we could find the other Lions on the other Buffalo kill.

    We found the Kill and a Hyena feeding but the Lions had been scared off by a clan of 5 hyenas. So we still had an awesome sighting and loads of vultures in the trees.

     

    It was time to rush back for the open vehicle game drive at pm which turned out to be a huge success bringing the lions back to the carcass and a stand off with the 5 hyenas! Amazing stuff.

    Dinner and bed.

     

    Day 2: We headed out looking again for animals. We again saw loads but no more lions. We returned for breakfast and a rest.

    Later that day we headed out looking for Elephant and saw a herd on mansiya loop but the disappeared into the bush before we could get down to photograph them, such is nature.

    We kept trying with no luck.

    Dinner was great a Braai and then it was bed.

     

    Day 3; Game drive was good and we saw lots  including one Elephant on the hills and heard a herd in the bushes but they didn’t come out.

    After 3 hours of looking we left the game reserve for St Lucia boat cruise at Isimangeliso wetland park.

    This was great and we got the Hippos out the water.

     

    Then it was time for curios, Lunch and more curios before leaving for Durban.

    The end to a good tour or so I thought.

    On my way home I got a nice puncture and had to change the tyre, only problem was the following day was a Sunday and I had a tour! So back up car needed to be used as no tyre places open for me to get a new tyre.

     

    All in all a great Tour.

     

    Tim Brown Tours

     

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  • 29th August 2013

    Hluhluwe Umfolozi 3 Day Safari Tour 18-20 August 2013

     

    Day 1: After collecting my client from Umhlanga(Durban Area) we headed out to the Cat rehab centre near Hluhluwe where the client interacted with the cheetah and other endangered cats.

    Ollie with his Go Pro was told off by another client but as he didn’t hear it, it made things very funny.

     

    Go Pro became an integral part of the Tour as the expanding and contracting are of Go Pro like an Elephant was able to squeeze into small spaces.

     

    Upon our arrival at Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve, we began seeing a few great animals and the group had decided to go all out on open vehicles. This meant I was not doing quite as much driving.

     

    We found Elephants, Rhino and Buffalo and many nyala and Impala, Giraffe etc

     

    We tried star gazing that night but no way was the cloud going to lift so it was to be the second night.

     

    Day 2: After Morning game where the Guest saw Lions they were stoked so was I actually, we headed out in my vehicle for a few hours before a late lunch. We had great sightings again.

     

    Lunch was great and a quick rest before heading out on the night drive. Upon return we had a big buffet dinner and tried the stars one more time. Sadly during dinner the clouds came over and it was a waste of time…grrr

     

    Bed was calling.

     

    Day 3: I collected luggage and we all had breakfast before heading out to St Lucia for the 2 hour boat cruise at Isimangeliso wetland park. We had a great cruise and Go Pro was out and about collecting footage of the Hippos, Crocs and water.

     

    After this we had some lunch at Wimpy and began our travels back to Durban.

     

    A great group of clients which helped make the tour easy and fun for me.

     

    Thanks Guys

     

    Tim Brown Tours

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  • 16th August 2013

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe Umfolozi, Cat Rehab and St Lucia 4 Day Safari Tour 11-14 August 2013

    This was a great tour with some weird things happening

    After collecting my client from a Durban hotel we headed off to the Cat rehab center Emdoneni. Unfortunately I had what I thought was Sinusitis which later turned out to be Tonsillitis which was fine until I lost my voice for a day and had to whisper.. Thankfully I had some really nice clients which were happy to hear my whispers and see my written dialogue.

    Later on day One: We entered into Hluhluwe section of the game reserve and had some really great sighting mostly of Elephants crossing the Hluhluwe river in the afternoon which really made our day!

    After Dinner we tried a bit of star gazing as the clients were interested to know where the Southern cross was and how to use it to find South. Sadly if was a little hazy so we did our best and decided the 2nd night would be better.

    Day 2: We Traveled around the Seme, Maqanda area which was a little frustrating as it had just been burned so we had very little luck with good sightings. Later that afternoon we looped from Isivivane back around to Gontshi flats were Lions had made a kill a couple days prior but they were to far in the drainage for any visual.

    Dinner was great and then came the amazing stars. Scorpios was out above our head and the Southern cross was a clear a day. So star gazing worked a charm that night.

    Day 3; We decided to do a 6.5 hour marathon safari to try find Lions, we such great sightings of everything that didnt resemble a Cat and sadly did not have the good fortune of seeing them. However it was consolation when nobody else had any luck either.

    Dinner was lovely and my voice had been back all day so no complaints at all.

    Day 4; We had breakfast and checked out before we started our final game drive. This was the next weird thing lol. After some amazing sightings again we came across a lovely herd of Elephants, in fact 3 herds. 2 herds to our southern side and one on the road dust bathing and standing there looking pretty.

    After 15 minutes of great viewing and the gate in sight we needed to part the “red Sea” so to speak and get out to st lucia for our boat cruise. They was also one car which became two cars stuck on the otherside, one longer than us.

    So I gently coaxed then to give us a gap and they obliged without any displays which was great.

    However, on our passing through a British Family decided they thought it was “very naughty” – me helping them out. hum very strange as Ive been guiding for almost 9 years, a few of those spent in top lodges in Africa. But you get all sorts…

    Onward to St Lucia and we got there with some time not continue with our plans of curio shopping before the cruise.

    Then it was 2 hours of cold bliss on the Santa Lucia boat where we viewed Hippos and crocodiles very nicely.

    Lunch in St Lucia and Back to Durban.

    A quick farewell and some well wishes to my great guests and I was on the road home to see my wife.

    Tim Brown Tours

     

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  • 15th August 2013

     

     

    Team Great Britain – World Transplant Olympics 2013 Durban South Africa

     

    This was a huge tour with a million emails back and forth in order to secure this great group of people for a tour in Africa!

     

    Eventually after almost a year the day arrived. I had arranged 2 buses as we were running with two separate groups; One to Emdoneni and one to Hilltop camp.

     

    On the morning of pick up myself and Shelldon Wells a friend and work colleague who I trust to assist me with tours rounded up the team into the two buses and began our tour.

    Sadly the bus company CK Travel and Tour forgot a microphone for the one bus! OH my gosh did I nearly need a heart transplant!

     

    Anyway we sorted thing out and got cracking up the North coast to Hluhluwe where one Group would be having an open vehicle game drive and the other heading to Hilltop camp with me.

     

    On the Trip up as usual we covered the history of the area of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Durban and South Africa as well as how each population group came to be here in our lovely country.

     

    Day 1: We settled in with lunch and after eventually getting the luggage and clients to the rooms we departed for our 5pm game drive.

    It was great and we saw a lot just no cats.

    Dinner was to follow and some Zulu Dancing before everyone went to bed.

     

    Day 2: Early rise as we had a 6am game drive returning for breakfast at Camp and a rest before the afternoon evening game drive @ 3pm.

    This was a great drive as we found the Elephants drinking in the hluhluwe river.

    Dinner again was a musical affair and everyone enjoyed themselves.

     

    Day 3: Early morning game drive at 05:30am and then the small issue of checking all luggage was there and loading it before breakfast and departure to St Lucia(Isimangeliso Wetland park) – South Africa’s first world heritage site.

     

    This was great as we had lunch on board and got to see Hippos out the water and a few big crocodiles.

    After this we began the 3.5 hour return to Durban.

    Upon arrival it was off loading of luggage at a couple of hotels and then home to my wife.

     

    Overall a great tour and most people were happy and enjoyed themselves as far as I could tell anyway.

     

    A great bunch of people who got a second chance at life and really took it! I personally learned some much an will be putting myself on the organ donor list as well.

     

    Congratulations to all those that took part in the Olympics, just being there is a huge achievement in itself let alone all the medals you won!

    Well Done Team GB!

     

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  • 3rd August 2013

    This was a very different Tour for me in many ways, one was the fact that I didnt get to drive my clients around so took a drive straight to Hilltop and spotted 3 for the Big 5 on the way. So I was hoping they saw them as well… Thankfully they did so we were all square.

    We had a nice lunch with a view at Hilltop before heading out again to see what else we could find.

    We had a great sighting of an Elephant Herd crossing the road and one young male showing interest in us which was great that to made the trip special.

    We still had other sightings of Buffalo, Rhino, Nyala, Impala and Warthog. By the time we got to the gate it was after 4pm and we were sent off by 2 male elephants eating the bushwillows trees at the gate just outside the Toilets we needed to use…

    This was all great.

    The most amazing thing was actually the clients as they were all here for the World Transplant Games! The stories they could tell was amazing of how they have overcome great challenges just to be alive let alone competing in a major World Games. I was humbled by this and really realized more about life in those few hours that I had in a while. Its amazing to think that an act of good will in Donating an organ at your death can bring life to so many people. I will be signing up to be a donor after this!

    The one Guy that gave a heart to one of the guys on my Tour also saved 6 other peoples lives in one night through his death! This is really amazing to me.

    Anyway it was a great tour!

    Tim Brown Tours

     

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  • 26th July 2013

    A great Safari tour in Hluhluwe Umfolozi began on 23 July 2013.

    My clients im sure had a blast it was brilliant with some very good sightings. Day one we got some good solid Giraffe, Zebra, Rhino, Elephant and of course Nyala. I must not forget we stopped at the cat rehab centre for the interaction with cheetah and other endangered cats which set the tone.

    We had a great lunch and check in before heading back out to see what we could find, no cats on Day one except at the rehab.

    Day 2 began with a blast a 9 and half hour game drive which exhausted us all but was so good. We first saw a Hyena then 2 lionesses one which drank from a river crossing right in front of us. It was a great start.

    We decided to push into the deep south to sontuli loop where we had a great sighting of a Musth bull elephant aswell as Impala, Nyala, Rhino, Zebra which had been attacked in the night but survived aswell as Warthogs Giraffe, buffalo. Really we saw a lot even a crocodile and birds of prey.

    We got back exhausted just in time to find out the water was off due to a burst pipe so we all came through for dinner stinking like the bush.

    After a good dinner water came back for an hours then off for the rest of our stay so we really had a bush experience.

    Day 3 was a interesting one…. After breakfast we got out into the bush and caped off the tour with more great sightings and then exited for Isimangeliso wetland park(St Lucia) for a 2 hour boat cruise. We saw hippos out the water crocodiles and lost of bird life. A great Tour as the lads also got stuck into there Cider…

    Then it was lunch and back to Durban. Thanks to accidents everywhere I only got home at 8pm but that was fine it was a great experience for all.

     

    Tim Brown Tours

     

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