Durban Big 5 Safari Archives - Tim Brown Tours
  • 16th January 2016

    Durban safari tours

     

     

     

    Our Big 5 Durban safari tour began in Durban and we headed to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve stopping at a Cheetah sanctuary to interact with some Endangered big cats.

     

    Once we finished up we entered into Hluhluwe game reserve and made our way slowly to Hilltop camp, on route spotting some Zebra fighting.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Zebra

    Durban safari tours; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was not long into our Durban safari tour that we spotted some Giraffe and behind the Giraffe was a Rhino. It was a great start to our tour and we continued on to Hilltop camp for a late lunch.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Giraffe

    Durban safari tours; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After lunch we got settled in our rooms and then went back out in the hope of finding Lions in the evening on our Durban safari tour. It was not to be but we did find some Elephants shortly after lunch.

    This was great as it was close to top of the list to see and with being patient we got then to cross the road in front of us.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Elephants

    Durban safari tours; Elephants

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we winding our way on some dirt road to the Hluhluwe river we managed to spot some Rhino next to the road sleeping. They looked so cute! Our Safari from Durban was really hotting up.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Rhino

    Durban safari tours; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We were lucky enough to find more Rhino on the road and Buffalo at dusk before we needed to get to Hilltop camp for some Dinner and of course a rest.

     

     

    Dinner was lovely and so was a good nights rest, we would be up early and departed at 5am the next day to continue our Durban safari tour.

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: Durban safari tours

     

     

    With a 5 am start we were already tired but it was a day full of expectation and after one and a half hours of no cats I was feeling the heat!

    We had still great sightings at first of Elephant on the road, Rhino, Buffalo and much more.

    Our first major sighting was actually a Black Rhino which is hugely endangered and this was awesome to see!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Black Rhino

    Durban safari tours; Black Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Further into our Durban safari tour in Hluhluwe game reserve we spotted a lovely herd of Buffalo on the road.

    The one male gave us the stare of the tax man!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Buffalo

    Durban safari tours; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We made our way into the Umfolozi section of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and after a toilet stop we continued our Durban safari tour. We checked the best areas for Lions without much luck but still kept seeing other great animals like these Rhinos on the edge of the cliff.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Rhino

    Durban safari tours; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I was not beginning to feel the heat and even though I know nature is uncontrollable I like to think that if I work hard I will be able to find cats for my clients.

     

    Thankfully less than a kilometer away we found our Lions resting 100 meters from the road but after a couple minutes they got up and moved into the thickets. I was just so grateful we had seen them!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Lions

    Durban safari tours; Lions

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We headed back up to Hilltop camp feeling pretty happy with what we had seen in the 3.5 hours of Safari in Hluhluwe and Imfolozi game reserves.

    Coffee and food was calling so when we got back to camp it was great to have the food and Coffee all prepared and a ready for us!

     

    After brunch we took a rest until after lunch when we went back out again to see what we could find.

     

    Sadly two of the family we unable to make the afternoon game drive so the 3 of us headed out and spotted some Zebra on the road.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Zebra

    Durban safari tours; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued our Durban safari tour we could not believe our luck as we spotted another Black Rhino in the distance on a hill this was some sort of record! Two different sightings of Black Rhino in one day!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Black Rhino in afternoon

    Durban safari tours; Black Rhino in afternoon

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued with our safari in Hluhluwe game reserve and headed to the Hluhluwe river, it was here we located a mother Buffalo with a new born baby in the mud. The baby did stand up and sat back down so we hoped she would get up with the new mother and move away at some point.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Buffalo in the mud

    Durban safari tours; Buffalo in the mud

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We needed to get back to camp as my client were taking the open vehicle game drive and we also needed to check on the other two. Sadly they were still not feeling to great so they skipped the drive but the lads headed out.

     

    I got some time to write this post and then headed through to meet the ladies for dinner and later the men would join us.

     

    It had been another amazing day in Africa on safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

     

     

     

    Day 3: Durban safari tours

     

     

     

    Our day began at 5am and we headed out with 4 of the big 5 already under our belt and just the elusive Leopard to find which I always assume we will not as it is a glimpse every 5 months or so…

    We decided to go back to when I knew the Lions had last been seen to check again and then we would head to the Hluhluwe river to see if they finally moved around to there.

    It turned out to be a great idea! When we arrived at the Hluhluwe river we found both Black and White Rhino together 50 meters apart in the riverbed! This was a rare sight so I had to post the picture. It was a few seconds and the Black Rhino ran away into the thickets.

    For the record our Buffalo new born and mother had moved off and got out of the mud!

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; White and Black Rhino in same picture

    Durban safari tours; White and Black Rhino in same picture

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We checked the next view point and finally located our Lions and it was the whole pride. As they were down in the riverbed and all 7 Lions were there and we were at a view sight on to of a hill we were able to get out for a better view.

    It was great as no other vehicles had yet driven by so we had then to ourselves and enjoyed a young male Lion playing with what looked like a Terrapin or Tortoise.

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Lion plays with a Tortoise/Terrapin

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our Durban safari tour had really become a great trip and we now had our second sighting of Lions and finally a big Male which everyone wants to see!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Lions

    Durban safari tours; Lions

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We left our Lions and made our way for a toilet stop before finding what the kids had wanted to see, a Mongoose. We managed to see 3 Slender Mongooses on this day and the best was our second sighting.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Slender Mongoose

    Durban safari tours; Slender Mongoose

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was now time to take our Durban safari tour elsewhere to the Isimangaliso wetland park or commonly known as St Lucia estuary for a 2 hour Hippo and Crocodile viewing boat tour.

    We stopped at Hilltop camp to get breakfast, pack and check out before going.

     

    It was an hours drive from the Nyalazi gate and we were back to the boring cows and goats of the area!

     

    Once our tour got to St Lucia estuary we boarded the Santa Lucia and we enjoyed a great cruise!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Crocodile

    Durban safari tours; Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Further us stream we finally got to some big pods of Hippos and had great sightings even on in the reeds feeding. Most of the Hippos as they do in the day time were spending the day in the estuary keeping cool in the water.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Hippo

    Durban safari tours; Hippo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After this great part of our Durban safari tour we headed into St Lucia town and made our way for some lunch. After this we made our way back to King Shaka international airport as my clients had a flight to catch to Port Elizabeth.

     

    It had been a great 3 days with some amazing sightings, highlights being: Elephants close, Black Rhino 3 times, Lions twice and really everything that makes a safari a safari!

     

  • 23rd October 2015

    Hluhluwe “Big 5” game reserve safari

     

     

    Our Hluhluwe “Big 5” game reserve safari from Durban began in the city where I collected my clients. It was to be a Hluhluwe game reserve safari to remember!

    Our day began at 06:30 and we made our way to the world famous Hluhluwe game reserve and the Umfolozi game reserve in the south. After covering the major history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa we arrived at Hluhluwe game reserve and it was only 09:30. As it was a cool day I was really hoping we would find cats but as nature has it, you have to be at the right place at the right time.

     

    Our Hluhluwe game reserve safari began at Nyalazi gate and we got a tip off on Lions for the lady at the gate. That was very sweet of her, she could have just said nothing!

    We drove only 1 kilometer and found a young male Lion literally 5 meters off the road. It was so exciting we could hardly contain ourselves but we managed and enjoyed him for 10 minutes before spotting his brother on the other side. We were very luck as the first one we found crossed the road to his brother then they both crossed over one in front of us before it started to rain.

    They them moved for the riverbed and we moved off as well. Wow what a start to a Durban day safari in Hluhluwe game reserve.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve; Young male Lion

    Hluhluwe game reserve; Young male Lion

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hluhluwe “Big 5” game reserve; Young male Lions on our safari from Durban

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We left the Hluhluwe game reserve and entered the Umfolozi game reserve in the south in the hope we would find Elephant and a few other species.

    We were now spotting things far off but to be honest the Lions had really kept our hopes up for the day and it was the best way to start a safari from Durban.

    After the Lions we spotted Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo in the distance making it already 4 of the Big 5 that we had seen in this single day!

     

     

     

     

     

    Umfolozi game reserve; Buffalo

    Umfolozi game reserve; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

    We crossed over the Umfolozi river or shall we say dry riverbed after the lack of rainfall we have had in the past 8 years… We didn’t spend to much time watching this old male Buffalo before we spotted some Baboons walkinging down the road and near the road.

     

     

     

     

     

    Umfolozi game reserve; Baboon

    Umfolozi game reserve; Baboon

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was now time to get a far down south as we could to give our selves a chance. I spoke with a couple of guiding mates through the day in passing and the both said, “Its quiet”. They were not wrong but we had luck on our side and kept chipping away and finding animals. I must say I had a great group that really helped me spotting, it is always important to remember the guide can only look in one direction at a time…

    We then found some Giraffe it was a mother and her baby which was laying down resting in the shade.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Umfolozi game reserve; Giraffe

    Umfolozi game reserve; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

    African safaris are so rewarding if you have the patients to take in your surroundings when in a game reserve like Hluhluwe Imfolozi.

    We were not thinking Rhino! and boy did we get luck when we spotted a mother Rhino and her tiny calf of about 6 months or less.

    This was one of the best sighting I have had of a baby Rhino in over 10 years! This little fella lay down on the road in front of us and waiting for his mom to cross over. They he got up and lay back down on the other side of the road! It was brilliant and I was so glad that I documented it on our African safari in Hluhluwe and Umfolozi game reserve.

     

     

     

     

     

    Umfolozi game reserve; Rhino calf sleeping in the road

    Umfolozi game reserve; Rhino calf sleeping in the road

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Rhino calf rests on road in front of us

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After this amazing sighting on our African safari in Hluhluwe game reserve we thought we couldn’t possibly have any more luck. This was wrong on me to thing and a we came around a corner in the road we spotted a Leopard which is supposed to be nocturnal about 30 meters off the road. As Leopards do they do not stick around and as we stopped the vehicle he held his pose and the scuttled off into the thick but back to the river. 

     

    It was a very sweet sighting for me as it have been a 6 month drought since my last Leopard sighting but I have made a silly mistake which I actually will never regret but may actually use again in the future now.

    I have said to my guests after the Lions sighting that if we were to see a Leopard I would buy everyone lunch as it is so rare to see them and in the day time, damn near impossible!

    We had no chance for photos but our African safari in Hluhluwe game reserve had been completed and the Big 5 had been achieved for the second time in 5 years for me on a day safari from Durban. 

    We were all stoked and could not believed our luck but we still wanted the Elephant closer. As we headed back from lunch we spotted Giraffe, Wildebeest, Impala and even Nyala. Eventually as we crossed back over the Umfolozi river we spotted Elephant but it was a 60 second sighting and he was gone!

     

    We stopped for lunch and I said to my clients that I was sure that Elephant will be waiting at the gate for us.

    We decided after lunch to continued till 15:30 before making our way back to the gate and with all the road works I got a puncture! We that is life and with the help of one of my clients I changed it and we were up and going in 15-20 minutes.

     

    What did this day not have? 

    We got to the gate to get cleaned up and depart and this is what was waiting for us!

     

     

     

     

     

    Umfolozi game reserve; Elephant

    Umfolozi game reserve; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

    Wow what a day in the African bush under the African sun, Rain, wind and with the big 5! We could not really have wished for a better day on our African safari from Durban!

    We all were very tired and made our way back to Durban with big 5 smiles one our faces!

    The Big 5 in one drive! Legendary safari with Tim Brown Tours!

  • 26th September 2015

    Durban tour – 24-25th September 2015

     

     

    Our Durban tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve began in Durban where I met my clients and we made our way to the Cat rehabilitation to interact with Cheetah hands on.

    Once we had experienced this amazing place we headed into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve only 20 minutes away.

    It was a hot day and the mercury crept up to 35 degrees, this of course meant game viewing was a little quiet at the start until the afternoon.

    We stopped at a view point however overlooking the Hluhluwe river and spotted three different species the Buffalo, Nyala and Baboons.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban tour; Buffalo, Nyala and Baboons

    Durban tour; Buffalo, Nyala and Baboons

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    On this Durban tour we also spotted Rhino but they were still resting in the shade with the heat of the day. We then made our way to Hilltop camp where we would be staying and checked in while having some lunch. We continued our Durban tour 20 minutes after arriving at the room as I had got word of Lions very far away and we needed the time to try to get there and to return for the 5pm evening open vehicle game drive.

    It turned out to be worth it even with the heat we spotted one male Lion who then go up and tried to stalk a Warthog! He was so close to catching it but for him sadly he missed.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban tour; Lion stalking Warthog

    Durban tour; Lion stalking Warthog

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban safari tour; Lion hunts Warthog and misses by meters 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After watching this exciting moment we saw the Lion looking around probably feeling a little embarrassed! As I mentioned to my client the Lions have a really pour success rate of 10%.

    Wow so far we had already seen 3 of the Big 5 on our Durban tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, Africa’s oldest proclaimed protected area.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban tour; Lion

    Durban tour; Lion

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we left the sighting we mentioned it would be nice to see Giraffe and them we spotted one! This was a lovely male and for me this really capped off a good start to our Durban tour of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban tour; Giraffe

    Durban tour; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We made our way back to Hilltop camp and I got my client onto their evening open vehicle safari which they enjoyed but didn’t really see much they said.

     

    This was fine as we had done so well and it left me with some pressure to find then Elephant the next day. We went through for dinner and enjoyed the food before a good nights rest.

    Our Durban tour would continue the following day at 7am when we would meet for breakfast.

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: Durban tour

     

     

     

    We met for some breakfast which was lovely and we had a Buffalo bull drinking outside the restaurant from some run off water from the lodge. This made breakfast that much more exciting.

    We then checked out and headed down south to try and find Elephants.

     

    It was only minutes into our Durban tour and we found Zebra near the lodge.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban tour; Zebra

    Durban tour; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After a great look at the Zebra we continued our Durban tour and found Black Rhino a real treat! They were resting on a hill in the distance and it was only with the Binoculars that I could confirm they were Black Rhino.

    As there is around about 200 left this was like gold dust!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban tour; Black Rhino mother and calf

    Durban tour; Black Rhino mother and calf

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued with our Durban tour we also found some White Rhino which was great to see and also to show the distinct differences between the two different species.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban tour; White Rhino

    Durban tour; White Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We made our way down to the Umfolozi river and it was here that we spotted 3 of the big 5 at one spot. We saw Buffalo, Rhino and finally an Elephant. The only trouble was the Elephant showed us his bum for 15 minutes. We decided to look at a view site to see if we could see him better. We could hear him moving so we raced back down so we could get a better view. We were lucky and got him side on for a minute of two. Still it wasn’t brilliant. We continued on and decided to return later.

    When we returned we found another male Elephant much closer and almost side on.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban tour; Elephant

    Durban tour; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Wow, not only was it 36 degrees but our Durban tour to Hluhluwe had heated up and now we had seen 4 of the big 5 well in the 2 days. It was also time to head to the gate but before we could get out to go to St Lucia we spotted Giraffe and more Rhino.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban tour; Giraffe

    Durban tour; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Giraffe gave us a really good show and my clients loved them. We then departed and headed to St Lucia aka Isimangaliso Wetland park(Place of wonders/miracle).

     

    It took us an hour so the client could have a rest while I drove and them as we got closer I explained about this amazing world heritage site.

     

     

    It was now time to board a boat for a 2 hour cruise to view Hippos, Crocodiles, Mangroves and Bird life.  Sharks are also found here, the Bull shark but we don’t usually see them but this time we saw 2 of them!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban tour; Bull Shark at St Lucia

    Durban tour; Bull Shark at St Lucia

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was a great was to end our Durban tour and we had amazing Hippo sighting wish some even out of the water.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban tour; Hippos at St Lucia

    Durban tour; Hippos at St Lucia

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we went further up the Estuary we spotted Buffalo bulls resting on the shore of the Estuary. This was great to see as we hadn’t really seen Buffalo this close on our safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban tour; Buffalo at St Lucia

    Durban tour; Buffalo at St Lucia

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We also were lucky and saw a couple of Crocodiles on the shore line! This was great to add to our ever growing list of animals we had seen in the 2 days of touring from Durban.

     

    The cruise ended and we stopped in St Lucia town which is a holiday town for some lunch. It was great sea food and we then made our way back to Durban to drop off the clients.

     

    Over all it had been a great 2 days and very rewarding considering the short time we had on this tour.

     

    If you would like to do a tour like this please click the link below:

     

     

    Durban big 5 safari

  • 24th September 2015

    Durban day safari 23 September 2015

     

     

    Our Durban day safari began in Durban city where I met my clients and we headed off to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

    It was going to be a hot day and not only with the weather but with the game viewing as well. It was a bit of a Ferrari safari as I had some racing to do to get around Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to maximize our safari time.

     

    On route I covered some of the history of the area and the country of South Africa before we arrived at the gate just before 10 am.

     

    Our Durban day safari began and off we went having some good luck. It wasn’t long before we spotted Zebra and Giraffe as we made our way south in the national park.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Zebra

    Durban day safari; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This Zebra was a real poser and stood still for a while before calling out to the rest of his harem which had got to far away from him. As we continued our Durban day safari we enjoyed some Giraffe feeding on some leaves.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Giraffe

    Durban day safari; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We spotted some Elephant some distance away so I’ve put a picture from later in the day when we managed to get them a little closer to the road. Our Durban day safari was beginning to take shape as we also spotted Buffalo in the distance meaning we had now seen 3 of the big 5 in we include the Rhinos on the hills too.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Elephant

    Durban day safari; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued on with our safari in the hope we would find Lions at a carcass of Giraffe which was now 4 days old. Sadly it was only Vultures and some big ones at that, the Lappet faced Vultures!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Lappet faced vulture with Giraffe tail

    Durban day safari; Lappet faced vulture with Giraffe tail

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban day safaris; Vultures feed on Giraffe carcass

     

     

     

     

     

    We then made our way round the loop and found an amazing sighting of Rhino together with Warthog. Our Durban day safari was really heating up even the temperature was 32 degrees.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Rhino and Warthog

    Durban day safari; Rhino and Warthog

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then spotted our Elephant in the distance again before we stopped for lunch. Our lunch was great and we made our way up north as quick as we could as I heard that there was some Buffalo near to the road as well as a slim chance of Lions.

    It wasn’t long and we spotted the Buffalo but not the heard I was aiming for! One old male came up a big hill and we watched him settle in with a big her before we moved off and continued our Durban day safari.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Buffalo bull

    Durban day safari; Buffalo bull

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It had been a great day it was about to become greater as we found our Lions! The best part was they had just killed an Nyala and then decided to vocalise as well as chase a herd of Buffalo away from the river! It was amazing and my client loved it.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Lions

    Durban day safari; Lions

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban day safaris; Lions in Hluhluwe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After enjoying an amazing time with these Lions we went to see the Buffalo which had just been chased by the Lions and we got them to cross the road in front of us.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Buffalo herd

    Durban day safari; Buffalo herd

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After this great Durban day safari we began to make our way towards the gate. We were lucky to see a Rhino with little baby but we did not get a clear photo. It was time to start the 3 hour drive back to Durban. We stopped for some coffee and then arrived in Durban after 7pm. It had been a great Durban day safari!

  • 20th September 2015

    Durban safari 18-19th September 2015

     

     

     

    We began our Durban safari in the city of Durban where I collected my four clients for what was to be a very successful 2 days of safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

    On route we chatted about the interesting history of the area as well as the crops and population groups. Before you knew it we were at the Cat rehabilitation centre for the 10:30 tour for interaction with Cheetah. We would also see Caracal, Serval and African wild cat.

     

    The Cheetah was great fun and the one male was stalking Wildebeest up the fence line. Sadly for the Cheetah the Wildebeest was safe on the other side of the fence.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari; Cheetah stalks wildebeest

    Durban safari; Cheetah stalks wildebeest

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued from the Cheetah project and made our way into the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to begin our Safari side of the trip.

    It was am amazing start as I managed to spot a big bull Elephant in the distance on a road so we raced around to meeting him head on! He was in Musth which means his is at his sexual peak and had 6x the normal levels of testosterone running through his body! A scary problem which makes him potentially more aggressive. I therefore needed to sum up him mood quickly before getting closer. We had a blast with this Elephant!

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban safari tour; Elephant walks down road towards us


     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari; Elephant walks down road

    Durban safari; Elephant walks down road

     

     

     

     

     

    If we thought that this was all we would get from this lovely Elephant we were wrong. With the amount of space and respect we gave him we pulled off the road and allowed us closer so we could enjoy him feeling off Marula tree bark. The display was one we will all never forget!

    Remember it is always safer and better to go with a Durban guide who is qualified in these areas. It is important to understand the animals behaviour and you need more than just a crash course in Guiding to know these things. To many people come on there own get lost of get there car shoved off the road by an Elephant! A guide will save you a lot a embarrassment and in some cases your life! Always make sure your Durban guide is experienced and qualified!

     

     

     

     

     Video: Durban safaris; Elephant feeding on a Marula tree in Hluhluwe


     

     

     

     

    This sighting as you can see from the Videos was truly amazing and to be honest it set the tone for the rest of the 2 day Durban safari tour. We were already more relaxed as we have been battling for good Elephant sighting this past couple weeks and now we could truly enjoy our time in Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve.

     

    We began to make our way to Hilltop camp on route spotting Zebra and Rhino as well as two old Buffalo bulls in the distance. As we neared the camp we spotted some Samango monkeys and two Purple crested Turacos.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari; Purple crested Turaco

    Durban safari; Purple crested Turaco

     

     

     

     

     

    We arrived at Hilltop camp and I bumped into some friends and so did my clients as there was a big conference in Durban which clearly meant that some people had come out a day or two earlier to indulge in a safari experience!

    I got word of Lions and told my clients we need to have lunch and we can go to the room later, they all agreed and after lunch we flew down south and we blessed with an amazing sighting of two Lions. One was feeding on a Buffalo calf they had killed and the other was laying in the open!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari; Lion

    Durban safari; Lion

     

     

     

     

     

    This appeared to be two young Lions which probably had left there mother recently as the last time I saw them she was around. These two were about 18 months to two years old.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari; Lion feeding on Buffalo calf

    Durban safari; Lion feeding on Buffalo calf

     

     

     

     

     

    In the above picture you can clearly see it is a Buffalo calf and you can see the claw gripping into the animal so that the Lion can feed more easily. Wow, what a great Durban safari tour! Watch the Video below.

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Mini safari Durban; Lion feeds on Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We decided that we now had to go after almost half an hour with these amazing creatures, we need to get back to camp to get settled before my clients would attempt the evening open vehicle game drive.

     

    No sooner had we left I said to my clients “We haven’t yet seen Rhinos close” and a Rhino mother and calf appeared on the road, stayed for 2 minutes and then ran off into the bush! At this point I was actually feeling high, like “your wish is my command…” it was so funny!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari; Rhino

    Durban safari; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

    We arrived back at camp and got settled before meeting at 16:45 for the 17:00 open vehicle game drive. The excitement would not give in and there was an Elephant in front of the lodge so we all went out to look at him for 5 minutes.

     

    Amazing how our 2 day Durban safari tour just kept producing animals. I was beginning to think this will not keep up into day two.

     

    Later my clients returned from game drive cold and looking forward to the dinner.

     

    After dinner it was time for bed and we would meet for 7am the following day for breakfast before going in search of the Giraffe we hadn’t get seen.

     

     

     

    Day 2: Durban mini safari tour

     

     

     

    After collecting luggage we enjoyed the lovely view from Hilltop camp and some great breakfast.

    We then checked out and went in search of the Giraffe.

     

    It wasn’t 15 minuted and we had found a journey of 6 Giraffe near the road. We spend almost 45 minutes with them as they fed and go closer to the road and eventually crossed in front of us. Nothing like patience.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari; Giraffe

    Durban safari; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

    We were now satisfied and took it easy stopping along the way to look at view point over the river but I remembered we hadn’t seem Buffalo close so I think I murmured those words to the clients and after a short while it came to be. We found a large herd of Buffalo right next to the road! This was an unbelievable mini safari from Durban!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari; Buffalo cow

    Durban safari; Buffalo cow

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We stopped again at another view sight and now it seemed as if we were being followed by other vehicles so we didn’t stay long. We headed off and had a great sighting mostly to our selves of a Rhino bull which began in the distance and by waiting for him he crossed the road in front of us and scent marked. Wow what a great sighting we had of another of the big 5. We seem already 4 of the Big 5 in just two days having seen 4 of the big 5 on day one and 3 of the big 5 on day two again!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari; Rhino

    Durban safari; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban safari tour; Rhino marks territory with urine


     

     

     

     

    As we continued to the gate of Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve we realized what an amazing mini safari from Durban we had just experienced! It was unbelievable and we still had to go to Isimangaliso wetland park for the St Lucia boat cruise to view Hippos and crocodiles which would be amazing as well.

     

    It was an hours drive to St Lucia and most of my clients to the opportunity to rest up and before you knew it we had arrived. We got ourselves down to the jetty and I still have no idea how the rain held off but it did and we had an amazing time with some of the best photos of Hippos I have ever taken.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari; Hippos play fighting

    Durban safari; Hippos play fighting

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Isimangaliso Wetland park, St Lucia; Hippos play fighting


     

     

     

     

    The dull light and cooler weather seemed to work in our favour and some how we manage to spot Crocodile who usually dislike this weather. We had a number of Herons and King Fishers as well.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari; Crocodile

    Durban safari; Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

    To try and sum up this two day Durban safari is very difficult as words are not enough so I am glad I got some pictures and video clips to share the experience with you all. It was amazing in every aspect and a true reflection as to what we have in the amazing country of ours. I know my clients will never forget it and I am sure they will be back for more of the same in the future. 

     

    If you would like to be a part of one of these amazing experiences from Durban please click on the link below to find out more about the tour. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + basically all the major social media sites. Our videos can be found on Youtube!

     

     

    Durban 2 day safari tour

     

  • 16th September 2015

    Durban day tour 15th September 2015

     

     

    We began our Durban day tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve in Durban city where I collected my clients. It would be a day to remember with great sightings.

    I covered the usual history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal on route to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve and answered any questions my clients had.

     

    We arrived before 10 am and had immediate luck as we spotted Zebra and Giraffe together!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Zebra

    Durban day tour; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then continued with our Durban day tour and our safari lead us to some Rhino, 3 of them! It was great to see a mother, calf and big male. At this point we also spotted Baboons and Nyala in the distance but continued to the Hluhluwe river which is mostly dry at this time of the year.

    It was here that we spotted some male Nyala doing what is referred to as philo – erection where the 2 male pounce around on another with the hair on the back of their necks and backs standing up as well as head down and tail up, This is basically to make themselves look bigger so that they can challenge another male for the rights to mate etc.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Nyala bull

    Durban day tour; Nyala bull

     

     

     

     

     

    We then made our way around the river after spotting some Buffalo far off the road and after enjoying one of the lovely view points we tried another to see if we could find Elephants. We were in luck as we found a bull Elephant down at a section of water in the river and we must have spend 30 minutes with him at this view point. We watched him mud wallow, rest his trunk on his tusk, feed and shake a sycamore fig tree to try get some fruits to fall down. He then went to sleep. It was amazing!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Elephant

    Durban day tour; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban day safari; Elephant shakes figs off Sycamore Fig

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This had been an amazing experience and is always better with a guide who is qualified and understand nature and the animals behaviour to ensure you have the best experience possible.

    I know my clients were very happy with this amazing sighting!

     

     

     

    We then moved on and tried to see if we could find Buffalo again but before we could I spotted a Rhino walking in the distance. It was the territorial male of the area so I let him walk on the path he usually uses and we gave him space to cross in front of us, It was amazing! Wow this had been an amazing Durban day tour so far!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Rhino

    Durban day tour; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was now time to find those Buffalo before we stopped for lunch. It was great that this Durban day tour was working like clock work and my plans were working out for us all.

    We found our Buffalo and they were right next to the road and resting in the shade. The one female had a Red billed Ox Pecker on her face and she stuck her tongue out at us. This was really funny!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Buffalo cow

    Durban day tour; Buffalo cow

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I think I have forgotten to mention the Giraffe we spotted in the distance and then some closer to the road! We found some Giraffe and one male was chasing the girls(some things never change) and he was testing the females urine to see if they were ready for mating! At least human don’t have to do this.

    He obviously did not find one that was ready as he moved off.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Giraffe

    Durban day tour; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After this great sighting on our Durban day tour we were all super happy and made our way to Hilltop camp for some lunch. It was a great lunch and we spend longer than usual there but we had good reason we had done so well in the morning so we enjoyed a cup of coffee after lunch.

     

    When we finished we left Hilltop and made our way to where I knew of a Giraffe that had been killed by Lions a few days before. The Lions had long since moved off due to the activity of vehicle and the moving of the carcass off the bridge where they killed it. So we only had vultures when we were there. It was still an amazing sighting and very smelly!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Vultures feeding on Giraffe

    Durban day tour; Vultures feeding on Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

    We left the scene of the crime and we began to make our way south towards another gate. On route we spotted some more Rhino near the road and Giraffe which just capped the day off for us all.

     

    It was now time to depart Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve where we had spent a very successful Durban day tour. We were all happy and we began the long drive back to Durban.

    We stopped along the way for a rest and to refuel and arrived back in Durban after 6pm.

     

    It had been an a great Durban day tour and if you would like to do one of these tour please click on the link below:

     

     

    Durban Big 5 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. 

  • 14th September 2015

    Hluhluwe safari

     

     

    I met my clients in Durban for our 3 day safari to the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and we began our safari. I covered some of the major history of South Africa, KwaZulu Natal and Durban before we stopped for coffee and to stretch our legs.

    Once we were done we made our way to the Cat rehabilitation center where we interacted with Cheetah and three other species of endangered or threatened cats.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; Serval

    Durban Big 5 safari; Serval

     

     

     

     

     

    We then made our way into the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and managed to find some Rhino resting before we spotted some Rhino and Zebra together.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; Rhino and Zebra

    Durban Big 5 safari; Rhino and Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

    We then made our way to Hilltop camp where we had some lunch and checked in before heading back out onto Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve just in time for the first Spring rains! Well that was a bit frustrating as it made it very hard to see.

     

    We did find Rhino and four of them at that which crossed the road in front of us.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; Crash of Rhino

    Durban Big 5 safari; Crash of Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

    It took us some time before we found anything else of great significance but when we did it was a herd of Buffalo all around us and one the road in front of us.

    This was the second of the Big 5 that we had found and it was a great sighting.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; Buffalo

    Durban Big 5 safari; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We kept trying to see if we could locate these Lions I had seen the day before but the visibility was not so good. This would not stop us and even though we got a tip off we eventually spotted them but to far away for a good photo.

    This is Nature though and we can never expect this to go as we would want them. Nature shows up the way it want to.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; Lion in the distance at dusk

    Durban Big 5 safari; Lion in the distance at dusk

     

     

     

     

     

    It was very dark now and time to get back to camp for some dinner. We all met at 7pm and enjoyed some good food as well as some singing and dancing from the kitchen staff.

    My clients really enjoyed the evening and it was then time for me to go and get some work done before bed.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: Hluhluwe safari

     

     

     

     

    We began the day with news for Lions having killed a Giraffe on a bridge and we made our way their after we had some breakfast. The Giraffe was on the bridge and had been pregnant and had one foot of the baby sticking out of the rear as the Lions had opened her up. Sadly for us with the pressure of vehicles the Lions moved away so we did not see them.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; pregnant Giraffe killed by Lions

    Durban Big 5 safari; pregnant Giraffe killed by Lions

     

     

     

     

     

    We drove around a section of a loop to see if we could find the Lions with no luck so we continued on. We then spotted a journey of Giraffe which were feeding away and concerned that one of there family had been killed.

    On our way back past the Giraffe on our Hluhluwe Safari we saw that a staff vehicle was going to move the Giraffe a little off the road. The guy decided to drive his car into the sand off the bridge and he got stuck. We now were trapped and the only way to get past was to move the head and neck of the Giraffe a little. As the Lions were far away it was safe to do so, so myself and the staff member moved the head as far back as we could and then I was able to get past.

     

     

    We headed south as planed but it was such a raining morning that we saw very little. Even a Vulture seemed to be big for us aside of the Impala we could not get away from.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; White backed Vulture

    Durban Big 5 safari; White backed Vulture

     

     

     

     

     

    As the day went by we made it a mission to find Elephants which I though would not be a problem but as luck would have it we would suffer the indignity of not seeing one the whole day!

    We did see lots of other things like Giraffe, Baboons, Nyala, Kudu, Warthog, Wildebeest, Buffalo and Rhino.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; Baboons

    Durban Big 5 safari; Baboons

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These Baboons were grooming each other and we then also watched some Impala pronking away as the rain had stopped. It was getting better and we found Rhino a few times close to the road.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; Rhino

    Durban Big 5 safari; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

    We spotted a herd of Wildebeest in the distance during this part of our Hluhluwe Safari so I snapped a couple of shots before we moved on to see what else we could find.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; Wildebeest

    Durban Big 5 safari; Wildebeest

     

     

     

     

     

    We then began to make our way back up for some lunch having stopped a few time to look at view point and seen nothing!

     

    On route we found another dazzle of Zebra and it was great as they were so close to the road.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; Zebra

    Durban Big 5 safari; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

    We then had our lunch and looked around the curio shop, even I found something for my wife!

    We headed back up to camp and arrived around 15:30. I arranged the dinners and open vehicle for the one couple I had with me and then got time to rest. Well it was more like work and put together the blog post!

     

     

    I would be meeting the other clients for dinner which was a lovely meal and then the next morning we would leave at 6am and try find those Lions.

     

     

     

    Day 3: Hluhluwe safari

     

     

    Day 3 of our Durban Big 5 safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve began before 6am and we visited the Giraffe carcass. It was hopeless the Lions had moved off and vultures were now landing in the trees. There had been to much activity and I am sure those Lions had moved off. Gone was the romance of the kill from the day before so we left to seek greener pastures!

     

    We headed further north and found some lovely Zebra and Rhino.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; Rhino mother and calf

    Durban Big 5 safari; Rhino mother and calf

     

     

     

     

     

    After this great sighting I could see some vehicles stopped in the distance so I made my way around there as the Lions had been in the area for a few days now. When we arrived we found the Lions all 7 of them! Wow what a sight I am glad we stuck around as the Lions eventually got up and walked over a hill where they spotted a herd of Buffalo walking towards they. They went into hunting mode!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; Lion and Buffalo stand off

    Durban Big 5 safari; Lion and Buffalo stand off

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This is always interesting and was only for the Lions to try and find a weak link in the herd. They tried to circle the Buffalo but the Buffalo stood their ground as well as there being some back and forth no weak links were found. Eventually the Lions gave up.

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban safari tour; Lions chasing Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

    This had been an amazing sighting and you will see that the Buffalo were not to allow the Lions to be dominant this is all better done for the Lions at night when the Buffalos eyesight is not nearly as good as the Lions.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; Buffalo bull charges a pride of Lions

    Durban Big 5 safari; Buffalo bull charges a pride of Lions

     

     

     

     

     

    The Lions do not want to risk getting an injury as that can spell death for them through infection or broken bones. As mentioned this was all about trying to establish a weak link for a hunt which would be done in the night time while we were all asleep.

     

    Wow what a great scene on our 3 day Durban safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

     

     

     

    Video: Lions vs Buffalo on our Durban safari tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued back to the lodge and had some breakfast before checking out and departing for St Lucia estuary and Isimangaliso Wetland park.

    Here we boarded a 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles which was fantastic with some great sightings of Hippos and Crocodiles.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; Crocodile

    Durban Big 5 safari; Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

    The Hippos at St Lucia are very relaxed as over the past 40 years or so we have had boat up and down this section of the estuary and they have got very used to the boats being near by.

    We were luck on this Durban safari tour to find Hippos playing near the boat.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban Big 5 safari; Hippos playing at St Lucia

    Durban Big 5 safari; Hippos playing at St Lucia

     

     

     

     

     

    We decided to make our way back to Durban and stop along the ways for a bite to eat, it was great to have shared such an amazing experience with such a lovely group of guests which enjoyed every part of the experience.

     

    It was great to get home to my wife for the night and the following day.

     

    If you would like to join or book a Durban safari tour please click on this link below:

     

     

    Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour from Durban.

  • 1st September 2015

    Durban day safari – 31/08/2015

     

     

    This Durban day safari was one of my best and not because I felt good about my performance but because nature also performed for us!

    We began in Durban as we usually do and I collected a Swedish couple who were very excited about the Durban day safari after reading reviews on TripAdvisor. This always makes me feel a little pensive as with nature it is out of our control. All I know is the best places to look for the animals and their behaviour.

     

    After covering the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal we arrived at Nyalazi gate in the Umfolozi section of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve.

     

    We had such luck at the gate with Giraffe, Elephant and a Buffalo bull that I got a little concerned that we would not be able to match it through the day.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Giraffe

    Durban day safari; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

    This Durban day safari was different though!

    As we left the Giraffe and we spotted some lovely birds one being the Lilac breasted Roller. We also saw Impala.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Lilac breasted Roller

    Durban day safari; Lilac breasted Roller

     

     

     

     

     

    It was only a few more minuted before we spotted Buffalo and then some Zebra near to the road. This was turning out to be a great Durban day safari.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Zebra

    Durban day safari; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We drove on with our safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and spotted a huge bull Elephant on the road. He was nice and relaxed and had huge tusks which were very impressive.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Elephant

    Durban day safari; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After a great time with the Elephant we crossed over the Umfolozi river and spotted and old male Buffalo sleeping, we continued…

    Further on we found Nyala, Kudu and Impala which was amazing to see.

     

    The next thing that happened was super impressive as we spotted a Lioness in a tree! It was incredible! Lions are not built for climbing trees but this female who was young was taking her chances to see if she could spot food or her pride.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Lioness in Tree

    Durban day safari; Lioness in Tree

     

     

     

     

     

    At first she looked like she would not come down but as other came and went we waited for her to see what see would do for us. Sometimes on a safari you have to be patient and wait for good things to come to you.

     

    She began to move very gingerly in the tree!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Lioness in tree image 2

    Durban day safari; Lioness in tree image 2

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We spotted her stand up and and it was clear she was keen to come down but not being very comfortable with it so we waited even longer! Eventually she made a bold move and decided to go for it! It was so exciting we could hardly contain our excitement.

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban day safari; Lioness climbs out of tree

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As you can see in the video it was a moment to saver and to never forget! I was so excited myself I had to watch the video again as after she crossed the road in front of us we never returned.

    Wow is the best way to describe the moment spend with her!

     

    At this point I honestly told the clients that I was so happy I didn’t really care what else we saw but obviously we would try our best.

     

    Within minutes we found a herd of Buffalo!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Buffalo

    Durban day safari; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

    We then made our way to the Umfolozi river where we spotted another herd of Buffalo and we enjoyed this amazing view before making our way back to lunch. Before we could get to lunch we found Rhinos which we had not yet seen! Another of the Big 5, which now meant we had spotted 4 of the Big 5 in just one day! This is a Lion more than normal!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Rhino

    Durban day safari; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then got close the the original Umfolozi river crossing and found Warthogs and the same old male Buffalo from in the morning. Wow what had we not seen?

    We Baboons! So then we just found some next to the road feeding and playing in a Knob Thorn Acacia.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Baboon

    Durban day safari; Baboon

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was time to get some lunch so we stopped for a 2 pm lunch at the Centenary center which was home to operation Rhino in the 1950s that brought back the White Rhino from extinction. They also have a craft market and museum so my clients could enjoy that as well.

     

    It was already 3pm by the time we left and it was time to begin to head to the gate. I was hoping to find some more Elephants for the clients but we had a better surprise.

     

    I spotted two tree stumps which I have not seen there before so I decided to slow down and look again. When I looked again it was Cheetah! A mother and her cub! This was amazing as their is only 30 in the whole game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi. We had seen a mother with her sub adult cub.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Cheetah mother and cub

    Durban day safari; Cheetah mother and cub

     

     

     

     

     

    We stayed with the Cheetah for a good while and then they began to move towards the drainage just as I mentioned that that is what I thought they would do.

    We watched them and the mother ran away after something and the cub got lost. This was so funny as the cub walked around and cried for its mom to find where she had gone.

     

     

     

     

    Video:  Durban day tour; Cheetah cub calls for its mother

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After this the cub actually came close to the car on a slope about 5 meters from the window and walked away into the bushes. It was amazing and for my clients just really capped the day safari from Durban off. Just for the record we usually do not see Lion or Cheetah on a day safari from Durban.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari; Cheetah cub

    Durban day safari; Cheetah cub

     

     

     

     

     

    We exited the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve being greeted with armed military wanting to check out vehicle for Rhino horn. Their must have been 7 or 8 men with semi automatic firearms ready to shoot us if we did! It was exciting!

     

    We departed and just chatted about the amazing day the whole drive back to Durban. I don’t think I have had a much better Durban day safari before.

     

    We arrived back in Durban safe and sound and very happy with life.

     

    If you wish to experience something similar, join us on this safari by clicking the link below:

     

     

    Durban Big 5 day safari 

  • 23rd August 2015

    Durban overnight Big 5 safari

     

     

    We began our Durban overnight Big 5 safari on the Bluff in Durban where I collected my client and we headed off to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve. It would be a safari from Durban to remember!

     

    The usual story took place with me covering the general history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal on route to our first stop, the endangered cat project for Cheetah interaction.

     

    We had a great time as we got to interact hands on with 3 endangered Cat species.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; My clients with the Serval

    Durban overnight safari; My clients with the Serval

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Once we left the Cheetah project we made our way into Hluhluwe Big 5 game reserve a mere 20 minutes away. It was now time for our Durban overnight safari to begin!

    Our first sighting was of some Zebra, Buffalo and Warthog. Having told me guests not to expect too much early bells, I felt some added pressure build as I knew it would be hard to keep up the success.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Zebra crossing

    Durban overnight safari; Zebra crossing

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Warthogs were just up the road so we spent some time being entertained by them before moving on with our Durban safari.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Warthogs

    Durban overnight safari; Warthogs

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Sounder of Warthogs on our safari from Durban


    We then made our way through to Hilltop camp for some lunch and to check in. It had been a good start and it wouldn’t be long before we would be back out to see what we could find on our Durban overnight safari.

     

    Lunch was great and after 30 minutes of rest we headed back out.

    We were very lucky as we had a great sighting of a Crash of about 9 Rhino which was unbelievable, sadly for us the photos were not the best so I didn’t put them up.

     

    We checked over the Hluhluwe river and enjoyed the great views of Nyala feeding and it wasn’t long after this we spotted a big old male Giraffe. It was strange as he was so focused on what must have been female in the distance that his male part was erect for a moment before he crossed the road in front of us.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Giraffe

    Durban overnight safari; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued on and came across a huge male Elephant a few meters from the road and he was in Musth but was very relaxed so after watching him we moved closer to enjoy him more.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Elephant

    Durban overnight safari; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This great shot of the Elephant my client took for me when the Elephant opened up his ears to cool the blood down and help regulate his temperature. I decided to try and be a bit creative as the Elephant had some Rhino and a small breeding herd of Elephant behind him. Have a look at this picture below.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Elephant and Rhino

    Durban overnight safari; Elephant and Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was getting dark now and we needed to make our way back up to the camp. We had been very lucky and our Durban overnight safari has really begun very well with us having seen 3 of the Big 5 in the first day.

     

    We arrived back at camp right on time and then got ready for dinner. After a quick dinner it was time for bed it had been a long day and we had agreed to start at 6am the following day to see if we could find some cats.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: Durban overnight safari

     

     

    Our second day of safari from Durban was like a dream in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. I could not believe the luck we had and nor could my clients.

     

    We started with Giraffe and Rhino before having the most special sighting of Lions you could ever wish to have on a safari.

    We had a pride of 7 Lions walk onto the road in front of us and basically play around for about 15 minutes. It was very special and we got amazing footage.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Lions play on road

    Durban overnight safari; Lions play on road

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This was pure bliss as these Lions rolled around and wondering in and out of the bushes near the road. I managed to get a couple of video clips so you can try and feel what we experienced.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban overnight safari, Lions playing on the road


     

     

    We were very luck as we almost had this sighting to our selves with just one car coming behind us after a while to share it with us.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Lions on road

    Durban overnight safari; Lions on road

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban safaris with Tim Brown Tours, Lions on the road

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Lions played and it was also clear that they were marking territory and one Lioness actually did what we call the Flemen grimace which is where she inhales the scent over a gland on the upper pallet of her mouth to check if it needs resenting. This is also done by males to check if a female is ready for mating or even to check if other Lions had made the scent.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Lioness does Flemen grimace

    Durban overnight safari; Lioness does Flemen grimace

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This had been an amazing sighting and we very happily continued on down south to see what else we could find. Clearly our Durban overnight safari had heated up!

     

    It wasn’t long after this that we found a young Giraffe, we couldn’t spot her mother she must have been around, well we hope so!!!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Giraffe

    Durban overnight safari; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued our Durban overnight safari we finally had a great sighting of Buffalo where they crossed the road in front of us. We also had them near the road not long after this.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Buffalo

    Durban overnight safari; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These Buffalo crossed the road in front of us and a bit further along we got a herd walking parallel to the road all in a line heading off to find more food.

     

    Once we left the Buffalo and crossed the Umfolozi river we spotted a bull Elephant and it was another 5 legged one! We watched him feeding and then he walked up to a Rhino midden and started to dust bath with Rhino dung!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Elephant

    Durban overnight safari; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Elephant dust bathing in Rhino dung

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This had been so far an amazing start to our 2nd day on safari from Durban in the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. More was to come as we got further south into more open areas and found some Rhino grazing.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Rhino

    Durban overnight safari; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was now time for a quiet period which was fine but before we could get the words out “Wow its finally quiet” my left eye worked some magic and somehow spotted a Big male Lions laying down looking right at us. I was impressed with my spot as well!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Big Lion

    Durban overnight safari; Big Lion

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We could not believe that we had seen Lions twice in one day in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and we spent to time with this male.

    After a few minuted it became apparent that he was not alone and that he was mating with a Lioness who was hidden to us at first. This was amazing on two occasions we got them mating! Wow what a great Durban overnight big 5 safari tour.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Lions mating

    Durban overnight safari; Lions mating

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had been seeing vehicles stopped about 200 meters away but we were so into what we were watching we decided to wait before checking what they were looking at.  During our time with the mating Lions we also had Rhinos 50 Meters away mud wallowing.

    We decided to leave the mating Lions and see what the fuss was about further up the road. It was another male Lions 20 meters off the road in clear view! Wow, we had been very lucky.

     

    This male was clearly the less dominant of the two males hence he was not mating with the female.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Big Lion licking his paw

    Durban overnight safari; Big Lion licking his paw

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was clear to see that this male was less dominant he had less black in his mane which has been proven to be less attractive to females.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Lion licking his paw on our Durban overnight safari tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We were lucky on our Durban safari to see this male Lions so close but also grooming himself in the video above.

    It was time for us to see what else we could find and we found more Rhino, Buffalo and Zebra before stopping at a view sight and you wont believe it spotting another Pride of Lions! This was the third time in the day we had spotted Lions and these ones where far away! The game reserve has about 120 Lions and we had seen almost 20 of them.

     

    I did take a picture but honestly felt it wasn’t worth put up after all the close ups we had got.

     

     

    We stopped later for lunch and enjoyed the museum about Operation Rhino in the 1950’s and ’60 which brought back Rhinos from extinction.

    We then left and found more Elephants before arriving back at camp mid afternoon and had a rest before the evening game drive.

     

     

    We would all meet again the next day for a 6am safari.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 3: Durban overnight safari

     

     

    We met at 6am for a 2.5 hour game drive to see what we could find. We found Lion tracks, Hyena tracks and even Leopard tracks but only saw 3 of the Big 5, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. We actually also spotted some antelope as well as Zebra and Giraffe but as we had been so spoiled the day before it almost was a little anticlimax.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Rhino

    Durban overnight safari; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Rhino and Wildebeest

    Durban overnight safari; Rhino and Wildebeest

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We returned to camp for breakfast before packing up and leaving the lodge for St Lucia.

     

    On route we covered some of the History of St Lucia and the area of Isimangaliso Wetland park before we had some lunch in St Lucia town a very quint little village really. We then ventured on a 2 hour boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary one of the only places in the world you will find Hippos, Crocodiles and Sharks living in the same area.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Crocodiles

    Durban overnight safari; Crocodiles

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After spotting these 3 crocodiles together we spotted pod after pod of Hippos which really is the highlight of the boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban overnight safari; Hippos

    Durban overnight safari; Hippos

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We departed St Lucia South Africa’d first world heritage site at 3pm and made way back to the Hilton hotel where I would be dropping my clients off. It was a relaxed drive back answering any final questions and just having some general chats.

     

    It had been on of the best Durban overnight safaris I have ever had the privilege of conducting!

     

    If you would like to book this tour, click on the link below:

     

    Durban overnight safari

  • 21st August 2015

    Durban day tour – 19th August 2015

     

     

    I met my clients outside of Durban for their Durban day tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, the closest Big 5 game reserve to Durban!

     

    It was a different tour for me as of the 5 clients, 3 of them were from South Africa originally and 2 of them had grown up in Australia and were visiting their Mothers land so to speak.

    I usually only have overseas clients so the change was as good as a holiday and I had very nice clients.

     

    As usual I covered the history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal which the clients seemed to enjoy which always helps me run a successful tour.

     

    We arrived sooner than I had expected but it was a good thing as we could get cracking and see what animals we could find in the day.

     

    As we came in the Memorial gate we came across some Zebra, Warthogs and not to long after that some Rhinos which were sleeping!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Rhino resting

    Durban day tour; Rhino resting

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued with our Durban day tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and spotted some Buffalo on one of the hills. I made my way around to where there were so that the clients could get some good pictures and we managed a great shot of some old males.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Buffalo bulls

    Durban day tour; Buffalo bulls

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then looped around and made our way to the Hluhluwe river to see if we could find any Elephants. We had no luck with them but did find a troop of Baboons which were resting and grooming one another.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Baboon

    Durban day tour; Baboon

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was time to make our way to the lunch stop where we all enjoyed some food before heading down south to see what else we could find on new terrain!

    Before we could get to lunch I was lucky and spotted some Elephants in the valley near Hilltop camp in Hluhluwe. It was not the best sighting but Elephants are Elephants.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Elephants

    Durban day tour; Elephants

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After lunch we continued our Durban day tour into the Umfolozi section of the game reserve but before we got there we spotted Giraffe in the Hluhluwe Section which was exactly what we wanted to find.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Giraffe

    Durban day tour; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This made us all feel really happy to see such a graceful creature and we happened to see them twice during our Durban day tour.

     

    Next was had a great surprise, We were looking at Giraffe dung of all things and I spotted some movement in the bushes. We checked and realized it was 3 Rhinos and they wanted to cross the road.

     

    I waiting on them and then the crossed right in front of us. It was very exciting and we got some great shots.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Rhino crossing

    Durban day tour; Rhino crossing

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then continued our Durban day tour and got into the Umfolozi section and were treated to a dazzle of Zebra crossing the road in front of us and then posing next to the road.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Zebra

    Durban day tour; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After the dazzling display by the Zebra we made our way to the Umfolozi river to see if we could find more Elephants sadly we had no more luck but we had already had a great day. We made our way to the Nyalazi gate and exited for Durban stopping along the way for some coffee.

     

    It had been a great Durban day tour and I am sure my clients enjoyed it just as much as I did.

     

    If you would like to do a Durban day tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve click the link below.

     

     

    Durban day safari – Hluhluwe Big 5 game reserve.

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