It has been a dream to show off Durban and KwaZulu-Natal to the world.
Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal – Anglo Zulu, Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana and Blood River
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Budget Package
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Standard Package
uKhlahlamba Drakensberg Hiking and Sightseeing Tour
Address: Springside Road, Hillcrest, Durban, 3610, South Africa
T: +27 71 453 2781
Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal – Anglo Zulu, Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana and Blood River
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Budget Package
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Standard Package
uKhlahlamba Drakensberg Hiking and Sightseeing Tour
Address: Springside Road, Hillcrest, Durban, 3610, South Africa
T: +27 71 453 2781
It was a warm morning in Durban for our Durban tour to Tala game reserve and the Valley of 1000 Hills for a Zulu cultural village visit.
My clients were aboard the Sun Princess and we began once they disembarked with a briefing on what was to be expected for the day.
As we made our way west of Durban city I began with the tour from Durban covering some of the interesting history of the area around the City and then the suburbs of Durban.
We took the scenic route into the Valley of 1000 hills and then arrived at Phezulu safari park for the Zulu cultural village tour where we would meet the Sangoma and enjoy some Traditional Zulu dancing.
We tried to stay clear of the ship groups as best we could so after the dancing I gathered my small group and entered into one of the Zulu huts and told my clients about this amazing group of people and how they traditionally lived.
The actual Zulu dancing was great but with the ship having brought so many clients my position had a lot of glare and was not great for photos but here is one anyway.
The views in the valley of 1000 Hills are amazing and it is this valley which the Zulus have a great history with King Shaka in chasing the Debe people into the hills!
It was now time for a spot of craft shopping before we headed to Tala game reserve. Once at Tala a 3000 hectare game reserve we spotted lots of animals.
We spotted Zebra and Kudu first up as well as Blessbok.
These Zebras posed really nicely for us all in a row and the next dazzle of Zebra also posed by resting there heads on each others backs.
It was not long before we got Wildebeest and Ostrich as well and then the one we all wanted to see the Rhino! We had a great sighting of these amazing creatures which are now so highly protected due to poaching.
Our Durban tour was really taking shape!
Once we left the Rhino we made our way to try find some Giraffe but before we could get there we spotted the Eland antelope which is the Bushmans Totem animal. You will have to take a Durban tour to be told more about this by me and my team!
It was now an unexpected animals which we saw in fact 3 of them! We spotted 3 Blue Cranes which are South Africas national bird, then a Secretary bird and a female Impala with horns which is a genetic abnormality.
We really hit the jackpot and then decided to head to the lodge for a rest and the craft shop.
With this stop planned we decided to change it as we saw a big bus of people about to do the same so we went and found the Giraffe and then visited the dam where we spotted the heads of the Hippos. It was a great Durban tour.
We stopped then at the shop before we headed back to the Sun Princess in Durban harbour. On our way back we chatted more about South Africa and how wonderful the country was as well of speaking of some of the challenges we are still facing a the rainbow nation.
It had been a great Durban tour and my clients we all very happy.
I was collecting my clients of the Ocean Princess cruise ship which was docking in Durban for the Tala game reserve and Zulu culture tour.
As we were expecting some bad weather the ships was more than 2 hours late which meant we would need to adjust the tour slightly to maximize the time for the clients in Tala game reserve and on the Zulu culture tour.
We left Durban harbor at 11:30 and made our way straight to Tala game reserve, it was here we began our Safari part of the tour and tried in 2.5 hours to find as many of the animals as we could.
Tala game reserve being very small has a very high density of animals which made things easier for me to find all the animals the clients wishes to see.
We found Rhino, Giraffe, Zebra, Hippo, Wildebeest, Ostrich, Impala, Nyala, Warthog, Blessbok and much more…
Below is a picture I managed to get of a Zebra with its mouth open showing off his teeth!
It wasn’t to far away that we found our Rhino resting under the supervision of the staunch anti-poaching team which will shoot anyone who attempts to touch the Rhino!
We are having huge issue as I told my clients with poaching of Rhino horn and Tala game reserve is no exception! Tala game reserve has had 3 of its Rhinos taken down by poachers with one surviving!
We continued on and stopped to stretch our legs before going in search of Giraffe. It was not easy and we battled but being a small game reserve I knew that we could get them if we kept looking.
In the process we stopped and spotted the Hippo in the dam which we enjoyed for a short while and then we continued looking for Giraffe.
After a little longer we spotted a huge male Giraffe and enjoyed him for 5 minuted before we had to depart to get into the Valley of 1000 Hills for the Zulu culture side of the tour.
We arrived in the valley of 1000 hills on our Durban day tour and were welcomed with some mist which was rolling in. This did not stop us from enjoying the rest of the day tour as we looked around the craft shop before the Zulu dance and Zulu song.
The rain began to fall but the Zulus kept dancing and singing for us and put on a great show. We all enjoyed the way the boys and girls had banter with one another and all enjoyed themselves in the Zulu dance.
We got to learn more about the Zulu culture and met the Songomas which are the fortune tellers and the demonstrated how they would tell a young Zulu mans fortune before his wedding to a girl.
After the amazing Zulu culture experience we entered into two of the Zulus huts for an interpretation of the two huts and to learn more about the Zulu culture.
It was now time to decided what to do as it was drizzling and the mist was thick. We already had the tickets for the Crocodile/Reptile park so two of my six clients came with me while I showed them around the center. The other looked through the shop before we met again and departed for the ship in Durban.
It had been a great day and we had managed to fit everything in with out cutting the tour short.
Join us for a Tala game reserve tour and/or Zulu Culture tour, click the link below:
South Africa has a wide range of wilderness safaris to choose from and it always boils down to what South African holiday or South African safari tours are best advertised!
I hope that this post will be able to clear up some of the many questions potential travelers to South Africa have when looking at wilderness safaris or African tours.
If you join us on your South African holiday you can expect an amazing experience from culture, culture to historical.
It is clear that most people around the world when you say South Africa they think of a Safari! Who wouldn’t but along with that comes the next thought, Kruger national park. Kruger Park is the first Wilderness safari which comes to mind and most of the time as it is so well advertised travelers will not look any further.
What does a traveler do if they have limited time and are not travelling to Johannesburg?
We have to consider that even Johannesburg is 4 – 5 hours away from the famous or well advertised Kruger park.
There are so many options when considering a South Africa holiday or South Africa tours. There are African budget safaris, Luxury safaris and middle range safaris which in my opinion are better value for your Doller/Euro or Pound!
Everybody has a budget and it is not always possible to splurge on an expensive African safari but if you are to travel all this way you do want to experience a Wilderness safari be it in Kruger national park or Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is the oldest protected area/National park in Africa established in 1895 and is home to the Big 5, Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. This is not all as Hluhluwe Imfolozi also has, Giraffe, Zebra, Cheetah, African Wild dog, Hippo and Hyena!
Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is split into two sections the Hluhluwe game reserve in the North and the Umfolozi game reserve in the south. Both of these are linked and have no fences between them but are fenced off from the local communities giving the reserve more protection and the people.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is 96 000 hectares in size and is ideally situated 2.5 hours from Durban a coastal city on the eastern tip of Africa.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi is Malaria free which is a big plus factors so you do not need to take any anti-Malarial medication!
Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve was home to “Operation Rhino” in the 1950’s which brought back the White Rhino from extinction, during these years the Kruger national park had no Rhinos left due to poaching and hunting.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve now has the highest density of White Rhino in the world and they are protected by an Anti-poaching team which are able if they come across poachers to shoot them with out asking questions. The same applies in Kruger national park.
The Rhino is part of our heritage and scientists believe by 2030 there will be no Rhinos left in the World.
In South Africa alone in 2014 – 1215 Rhino were killed for there horns, in 2013 – 1004 Rhino and in 2012 – 868 Rhinos. You can see the trend is increasing and this the Rhinos we know about or have found!
This is even more of a reason to get to South Africa for a holiday and Hluhluwe game reserve for either a African budget safari or African safari tour before it is to late.
If you compare the two pictures I have take I am sure you would agree that the living Rhino looks much better! These was taken on the same day the 29th of September 2015 to show you the reality of this situation we are in!
This was a video I took of what you can experience if you visit Hluhluwe game reserve with Tim Brown Tours. It was a cute baby Rhino laying down on the road in front of us twice!
It is clear to see that Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve as an African safari tour destination in its own right has so much to offer!
Kruger national park is the second oldest protected area/National park in South Africa established in 1898 and is home to the Big 5, Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. Kruger park also has Giraffe, Zebra, Cheetah, African Wild dog, Hippo and Hyena. This makes it on par with Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Kruger park is very commercial and is so busy due to its good marketing that the park has had to put a limit to the number of vehicles entering each gate. This means you could go there and be turned away!
Kruger park is however 1000 000 hectares in size which means if a sighting is called in you probably will not be able to get there as it could be just to far away. It is not ideally situated at 9 hours from Durban or 4-5 hours from Johannesburg. It also boarders with Mozambique on the east and Zimbabwe in the north making it at higher risk from poachers coming in from the poorer countries to kill Rhinos.
Kruger park is not Malaria free which means you will have to take anti-Malarial medication!
Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve supplied Kruger national park with Rhinos as they had non left due to poaching and hunting in the 1950’s.
Now having compared Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to Kruger national park it is hard to believed why so many people choose Kruger park for a wilderness safari instead of making their holidays in South Africa for an African safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi???
Any African safari tour is better than non but having the pro’s and con’s shown to you I am sure you will be visiting Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve instead of Kruger national park for your African safari.
If the above was not enough to change your perspective see what our clients have said about us on TripAdvisor!
If that didn’t do it try this Video review about South Africa holidays with Tim Brown Tours on African safari tour.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
It was a great was to end our Durban tour and we had amazing Hippo sighting wish some even out of the water.
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.
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:
It would be north of Durban where our Drakensberg and Midlands of KwaZulu Natal tour would begin. After meeting my clients at 6am we departed for Sani Pass and a tour over into Lesotho over the majestic Drakensberg mountain range.
This day would be a very long day as it always is but this time I would have to stay at the bottom of the pass as the vehicle was full with the specialist Sani pass guide leading the adventure into Lesotho.
I was able to get some work done before my clients returned somewhat tired but happy at after the amazing tour into Lesotho up Sani pass. They got to visit a Basotho village and taste some Basotho bread and beer! This is always a highlight on these Drakensberg day tours.
Of course the climb up the pass into Lesotho is breathtaking and the stop for lunch at the Highest Pub in Africa at 2874 meters is amazing!
After my clients returned we still had what turned out to be a 3 hour drive to the Central Drakensberg as we had such bad mist I could hardly see right in front of my nose so we had to go slowly.
We arrived at 7pm at Didima one of the most beautiful places in the Drakensberg and home to Cathedral peak the main peak in the area which is 3004 meters above sea level.
It was dark so we settled in for some dinner before quick star gazing and then bed!
We enjoyed a sleep in and met for breakfast at 07:30 am but the mountain was looking so beautiful we had to get some picture of it before breakfast.
To show the perspective of the area I photographed my vehicle into the picture as well. The huts are shaped like the Eland antelope which is the San-Bushmens totem animal(the original South Africans).
After breakfast we visited the Rock art center which has a museum on the bushman and has artifacts like original San-Bushmen Quiver and Arrows. This was found my J.S. Lombard in 1926 in the area of Didima. He of course felt he could make some money and tried to sell it. It now is of huge significance and part of a rare collection in the Didima valley. We also watched a very powerful 15 minute clip of the area and the Bushmen to understand them more!
It was not time to hike to Doreen falls a lovely area in the Didima valley where the San-Bushmen used to run free before they were eradicated by Nguni, British and Dutch settlers.
When you hike in the mountains you can sense the loss of life but there is a great peace over the area and the beauty is incomparable with any other land I have visited! The Proteas, our national flower are in this belt at about 1400 meters above sea level and we eve found 2 flowers left on one tree!
We arrived at Doreen falls and on route spotted some Baboons and many wild flowers.
We made our way down the mountain and headed very happily to the midlands of KwaZulu Natal where we would visit the Piggly Wiggly for an amazing lunch as well as the shops in the area before heading to the Nelson Mandela capture site!
After visiting a couple of amazing shops we arrived and the rain had come. It was the first spring rains on the second day of Spring! Good timing!
We stopped and I explained to my clients about the capture site of Mandela and the plaque that is here to commemorate this even in 1962.
We then entered the Museum which is a recent additive. It is amazing and very comprehensive!
On the 5th August 1962 Mandela was arrested on his way from Durban to Johannesburg where he would be having a meeting about the way forward. He was basically in hiding.
Mandela had a huge influence over the changes in our rainbow nation sadly too many of the older generations feel hard done by and still have hard hearts towards the changes where now our nations is free.
Mandela stood up to the Apartheid government and back in the days when “Blacks” needed a pass just to enter there own land the city, Mandela and many other decided to protest and burn their passes.
This was one of the first major events in our history which lead to more conflict as the “White” would not tolerate the lack of control over the “Native”….
There were many trials against Mandela and other was in in 1956.
Mandela managed to get away with this one and then went under cover visiting country’s like England rallying up support against the Apartheid system and to get support for the MK, the violent struggle.
Mandela was a Lawyer and well educated and was wise. He would say things during trials that showed his complex mind and his ability to understand more than most could.
These words that Mandela spoke would be worth a read from our President now to the person on the street. South Africa is for all groups of people and not only to be dominated by one group!
We had now ran out of time and although we wanted to visit Howick falls it was raining heavy so we agreed to head back to Umhanga(North of Durban).
I dropped my clients off and we were all tired but very happy. I would collect them again the following day for a Shakaland day tour.
This had been another amazing 2 day Durban tour.
We began our Durban day tour in Durban city. After introductions and a briefing on how the day would run we headed up to St Lucia 2.5 hour away up the North coast of KwaZulu Natal. St Lucia is South Africa’s first world heritage site and is a one of a kind place.
At St Lucia you can come across, Hippos, Crocodiles and Zambezi Sharks! Where in the world can you get this combination?
This is not all, seasonally Whales frequent the coastline and well as Sea Turtles to lay their eggs on the shoreline. If this wasn’t enough surrounding St Lucia is Isimangaliso wetland park a 30032 Hectare game reserve home to four of the Big five!
If you are ever in the Durban area this is right up there as one of the best places to visit and can be done in a day tour from Durban with Tim Brown Tours.
Back to the day itself!
After covering a lot of the History of Durban and KwaZulu Natal we stopped for a coffee and toilet break before the final hour to St Lucia, Isimangaliso Wetland park.
After arriving and enjoying some of the warning signs that St Lucia has about Hippos crossing at night we visited the Crocodile center. These amazing creatures have been around for millions of years with a design that is floor-less however we have noted a decline in recent years in their numbers. This is one of the reasons for the Crocodile center to educate people and to get some of these creatures back to the wild.
I took my clients around the center and told them about the Crocodiles, Hippos and a range of other things. It was then time to head down to the Estuary of St Lucia for our 2 hour boat cruise.
We began and there was Hippos every where what was really good on this day tour was that we also saw a lot of Crocodiles which in not a guarantee.
It is only due to the fact that boat have traversed these rich waters of St Lucia for many years that we have the privilege of viewing the amazing dangerous animals so close without incident. The Hippos in this sections of 8 kilometers of river are used to the boats and this enables us to enjoy amazing sightings of them. We always have to remember that Hippos are wild animals and kill around about 3000 people per year in Africa!
The above picture was a Crocodile we found near the shoreline of St Lucia and it was so well hidden in the long grass! So lovely to see it though! We did see better Crocodiles but this picture just looked amazing.
As we continued up stream we came across a wide range of Bird life which is something else St Lucia estuary has to offer visitors. St Lucia is am idea place for birders to come and spot special birds they do not see every day.
We spotted this Goliath Heron fishing near the shoreline, this is the tallest heron in the world!
A bit later on we managed to spot some Hippos on the shore and two of them had a little fight with one another. It was one of those moment you don’t expect so you miss most of it when you get you camera ready but it was amazing!
As we continued our Durban day tour we spotted more birds and I am sure birders would always be happy to see this one, the Giant Kingfisher! If you are interest we can offer birding tours of KwaZulu Natal from Durban.
We began our way back to the jetty and on route spotted more Hippos and Crocodiles and had a special sighting of baby Hippos out the water on the shore resting. It is always amazing to see this but even more special when it is babies so I had to also make a little video.
We almost got to the dock and we spotted some Pink backed Pelicans which we don’t see very often this far up the estuary so it was a real treat. If we had birder on this Durban day tour they would have loved to see these birds. Maybe will have to start a KwaZulu Natal birding tour.
After docking the boat at the St Lucia jetty we made our way into St Lucia town to enjoy the vibe of this beach resort at the back end of school holidays. We stopped for some lunch which was great and then made our way to the Estuary board walk where we would walk down onto the estuary beach and enjoy the views as well as seeing Maphelane the second highest vegetated sand dune in the world.
We continued with our Durban day tour to St Lucia wetlands and got onto the beach and down to the Indian ocean which was looking amazing on this particular day! With Maphelane in the back ground it made for a beautiful picture. This is a special place for me and I love visiting St Lucia, maybe you should too!
We began our KwaZulu Natal midlands tour in the Durban area and made our way up to the Nelson Mandela Capture site near Lions river. It would be here where our historical tour would begin!
In 1962 on the 5th of August the late Nelson Mandela was captured on his way from Johannesburg to Durban where he was meeting Chief Albert Luthuli who ironically had won the noble peace prize in 1960! Mandela had been plotting to overthrow the Apartheid government.
On the one side of the road the plaque commemorates this day.
On the other side of the street is the Mandela capture site Museum and the amazing steel structure which at one angle shows off Mandelas face. It is a special walk from the museum to the structure as it is a long walk giving you time to take in and thing about what had happened in this country during those Apartheid years and what was to follow.
This is a tour from Durban into the midlands of KwaZulu Natal which hasn’t yet taken off but I do hope it is one that I get to take clients on more often!
Mandela was one of the few to step out of the box and start the MK, Mkonto we Sizwe, the violent movement against the Apartheid government. In the museum we got to see a lot of the history behind Mandelas life from failed marriage to being set free after 27 years of imprisonment.
After Mandela was captured and then trialed, during this trial he mentioned that freedom was much more important than his own life and if he was to be put to death he would accept it. Amazingly for Mandela he was sentenced to life in prison which meant he could contemplate ways of trying to free the people from apartheid. This he did!
During our Durban day tour to the Midland and spending time in the museum you really realise how stupid the Whites in South Africa were. If brings to mind questions like “what were they so afraid of?”
The next image show something I am not proud of and something which I will try and explain with my own thoughts.
On a Midlands day tour in KwaZulu Natal and seeing images like the above I can only feel huge pain for how ignorant the White south africans were.
I can also only explain the above image as meaning that the Whites were scared of loosing control as they were the minority and the Blacks were the majority. No other explanation comes to mind or makes any sense.
Freedom would eventually prevail when Mandela was set free and when South Africa had its first democratic election in 1994.
Finally all South Africans could have a say into who and how the country would be run and Mandela was voted into power with an overwhelming majority! As memory serves me the ANC won with about 67 % of the vote.
Finally Mandelas dreams had come true for the country of South Africa and being as selfless as he was he stepped down after his first term to allow others to continue his legacy.
One of South Africas major moments particularly for the White South Africans what in 1995 when we won the 1995 Rugby world cup.
There was a lot of build up to this event with Mandela rallying around the team and what was always known to the Black South Africans as being an Apartheid sport was now being portrayed by Mandela as bigger than just the sport. Sport has the ability to bring people together of all races and Mandela used this to help unite our countries people. I will not forget that day as I watch South Africa win the World cup and Mandela being there to hand over the William Web Ellis trophy to Francois Pienaar!
Mandela had achieved so much and to look at his names in the next image is very interesting.
We had now finished with the Mandela capture site and we made our way back to “Butterfly’s for Africa” for lunch and then to take a look around the Butterfly house.
It was lovely and humid inside but we saw a huge variety of Butterfly’s and the lunch was great as well.
Our Durban midlands tour was now completed and we made our way back to Umhlanga near Durban where I dropped my client off who has spend 4 days on tour with me and at least seen a lot of what KwaZulu Natal has to offer from History to Culture and Nature!
What a great selection of Durban day tours.
If you wish to join any of these tour please contact me or look at the link below:
We began our Durban city tour north of Durban in an area which used to be covered with reeds, Umhlanga!(Zulu for reeds).
We took the old road into Durban the M4 and crossed over the Umgeni river where the Blue Lagoon is now and made our way towards the NMR(Natal mounted rifles) passing the Suncoast casino and visiting the Moses Mabida stadium. This stadium was built for the 2010 soccer world cup that South Africa hosted and was named after one of the many freedom fighters, fighting against the apartheid government for the liberation of all.
We sadly could not do up the stadium as they were doing maintenance to the sky car but we made another plan and visited the Globe in Morningside which also has a great view of the city. Ironically the Globe covers the pumps as that area of land is a reservoir.
Our Durban city tour then took shape and we headed down the Golden mile and area which has been revamped in recent years and is looking amazing and is very safe for people to walk, run, bicycle and even take the dog for a stroll!
By the time we completed the golden mile we made our way past Ushaka marine world an amazing aquarium and visited the Vasco da Gama clock which is remembrance of his discovery of Durban or as it was known the “Rio de Natal” The Christmas river.
The clock itself was revamped as well but still looks like it needs a bit more work.
Moving our Durban city tour just a short way down the road we stopped at the Statue of Dick King the man that managed to save Durban from a Dutch invasion by alerting the garrison in Grahamstown 960 kilometers west of Durban! He made the trip on horse back and completed it in 10 days and 10 nights!
We stopped at the Wilsons warf and looked at the old building of the Yacht club established in the 1850’s yes and that in not a TYPO!
Prior to that we also passed the old Vic Bar which is a bar where all the sailors would come in and have drinks.
After this we moved our Durban city tour to the center of Durban the CBD and I showed my client the wide streets which were used to turn the ox wagons in the early days of Durban as it was a trading port.
We then moved to the Berea and Morningside areas of Durban the more upmarket areas but not before passing the Warwick street markets and Victoria street market.
It was now time to visit the Botanical gardens and it was here we had a lovely walk around the gardens.
There is a lot of Exotic plants but also some indigenous ones. It is well worth a visit on a Durban city tour.
The above sculpture depicts a Great White Shark feeding on a Seal and lots of Sardines, Cape Gannets and even a turtle. This is an amazing thing which takes place annually when a small stream of cold water is pushed by currents east into the Indian ocean of KwaZulu Natal and the Sardine get trapped in it. As the water warms the Sardines may beach themselves in the search for the cooler water they enjoy. This happens around end June.
As we continued our walk in the Botanical gardens on our Durban city tour we spotted a lovely philosophical sign.
We then made our way onto Florida road the major party street in Durban as well as to the Globe before winding our way back to the Moses Mabida stadium and back to Umhlanga.
It had been a great Durban city tour!
I met my clients down in Durban near the harbour and it was here where we began our Durban 2 day safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is the oldest national park in Africa and home to the Big 5, Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant!
Seeing the Big 5 is not the only attraction in on a Hluhluwe safari as we also have beautiful scenery and other animals like Giraffe and Zebra to mention a few.
We started at the Cat Rehabilitation center to interact with 4 endangered species of Cat namely the Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cat.
Here my client really had a blast as they loved cats.
We also got to interact with the Cheetah cubs on our Durban safari tour before we made our way into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to see how many of the Big 5 we could spot in the 2 days.
Our game drive began very well and we spotted some Impala, Buffalo and Zebra before reaching Hilltop camp in Hluhluwe.
The Buffalo were a little further away but we managed one or two decent pictures of them before making our way to Hilltop camp for some lunch.
After lunch I check us in and got my clients to their room for 20 minuted before we headed back out onto Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to see if we could find more of the Big 5.
It was not long before we spotted a crash of three Rhino next to the road! This was awesome as we waiting and watched and we actually had them get quite close to us before they moved around us and we decided to let them enjoy their dry grass.
Our Big 5 safari from Durban was hotting up and we headed to the Hluhluwe river to see if we could find more animals down there. We did, We actually got out at a view sight and watched Rhino, Buffalo and Baboons in the river bed feeding, drinking and grooming! It was a great sight and it had a lovely view of the area!
We continued on and found more Buffalo, Nyala and Rhino before we had to start to make our way back so that my clients could catch the evening open vehicle safari from Hilltop camp.
As usual this would mean we would begin to see more animals to halt our progress, which I was not complaining about!
We had an awesome sighting of Elephant near to the road feeding and moving quickly over the area we were in. This was not the 3rd of the Big 5 that we had seen today!
After this amazing Elephant sighting we had to rush off to Hilltop camp but before we could get there my clients threw down a challenge and I accepted their challenge! It was to try find Giraffe and would you believe it we did! It was amazing, we spent another 2 minutes watching them before we could eventually get going to Hilltop camp for the evening safari tour.
Finally we arrived and we still had time to have a washroom break before the night safari! I would arrange dinner and my clients would be back at 8am for it. In the mean time I could get this work done on the Blog post and some emails that needed attending too.
Day two would hopefully be as good as the first and we were hoping to find a cat or two.
We met for a quick breakfast before a final 3 hour safari drive. It was one of those days when you just cannot believe your luck and when you seem to get almost everything you wanted.
I actually wanted to find the African Wild Dogs and Lions and within 30 minute I had located the Wild Dogs walking back to their den sight. The best part of this was we were the only vehicle the whole time to see them.
They had fat little bellies which meant they had fed and were going to give meet to the expectant mother.
We also came across all the usual suspects like the Rhino, Buffalo, Warthog, Impala, Nyala and Zebra before in the quest to find lions we hit the jackpot. We came round a bend in the road and in the long grass I spotted 3 heads poking up it was Lions! After a few seconds we spotted another 3 Lions resting on full view on the bank near by.
This was not the end of the action as a Big Buffalo bull walked straight into the resting Lions and I had the camera ready for the action! It was great as it was the day time the Lions knew it would be stupid to try take the Buffalo down when he can see them in case they get injured. An injury in the African bush can mean death!
The Buffalo made the Lions move and even in the second video gave them a grunt and stomp!
Just when you think things could not get any better we found on our trip out of Hluhluwe a mother and bay Rhino. The baby was running around as is he/she had drank some energy drink or something as eventually mom had to tell the baby off from playing hide and seen with here. It was and awesome sighting!
This was a super safari experience in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and we were so happy with the day to this point! We spent some time then with some Giraffe before make our way to St Lucia – Isimangaliso Wetland park for lunch and our 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles.
We had some lunch in St Lucia a restful town and the hopped on the boat. Again you never know what you will get on these cruises and we had seen 4 of the Big 5 in Hluhluwe Imfolozi in 24 hours and now wanted see how our luck would be here.
We began with Crocodile.
I them decided to save my pictures for the one moment I knew would come and even though we saw lots of Hippos the light and reflection was not the best. We spotted a African Fish Eagle with a fish it had caught so I snapped that picture.
It was now time for me to capture the moment we all had been waiting for! A Hippos raised itself out of the water and marked his territory before giving us the best pose you could get the mouth wide open! Wow this was a great Durban overnight safari!
Between the African Wild dogs the most endangered carnivore in Africa, the Lions who should have been sleeping and now this Hippo raising himself out of the water to display to us, I felt like we were in the Jungle Book!
It had been an amazing two days on Safari from Durban and we all returned to Durban with big smiles on our faces! Mr Luck as we called Cahel one of my clients had maybe brought some extra luck to my usual luck… Thanks mate!
This was a very exciting and interesting Durban overnight safari tour with clients which were visiting Durban for the Travel Indaba beginning after the 3 day safari.
I collected my first client in Durban itself and then collect the group of 4 clients from King Shaka International airport aptly names after the great Zulu King for 1816 -1828 who revolutionized the the way the Zulu’s fought against any other nation or tribe.
On route I covered the usual history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and any questions my clients had.
We made good time considering we had a late start and half of the luggage got lost between JHB and DBN.
As we began this Durban overnight safari later thank usual we had to rush and speed the day along to get all activities into the day. We began at Nyalazi gate on the eastern side of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, and it wasn’t long before we were reeling in the sightings of animals. It was actually and amazing start!
After a short drive seeing Zebra and Warthog we stopped for a quick lunch at the centenary center and then continued on to find more animals.
Our first major sighting was of Lion cubs in a Marula tree and we found a young male hiding in the bushes near the road it was amazing.
When Lions are you first major sighting on day 1 of a 3 day overnight safari tour you know you could be in for something special! An my goodness was this a special 3 days of sightings!
This was so exciting for us all and it was not long after that we found Elephants and lots of them as well. The only problem was they were a little tucked behind the bushes which was still fine as we made the most of it before moving on to get ourselves checked in to Hilltop camp.
We arrived at Hilltop camp and we were all smiles as we had just had a great start to our overnight safari from Durban. We checked in and enjoyed the view as well as getting the luggage we had to the rooms. 10 minutes later it was time to go to the Cat rehabilitation center and enjoy some interaction with endangered cats hands on.
On route to the gate we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo.
Again luck was on our side as we spotted Rhinos fighting and we stopped again quickly to enjoy them. This was very exciting as we had now seen 4 of the Big 5 in such a short space of time and still had the Cats to see and interact with at the rehabilitation center.
We got to the gate and had to deal with the Nguni cows and goats on the road before finally arriving 5 minutes before the cat tour began. Wow we did well with our timing! The tour at the Cat rehabilitation center began at 4pm and we enjoyed the feeding of the cats and the interaction with the adult Cheetah and Cheetah cubs as well as the Serval.
After this it was a matter of trying to relax after what was an amazing day on Safari from Durban but also trying to locate the luggage that was lost at the airport and to be delivered to the gate. Now of course the gates close at 6pm so we first needed to get ourselves back and then worry about the luggage. We made a few calls and as we arrived at the gate at 17:50 the luggage was there waiting for us! I could not believe our luck on that either. We then re entered and made our way back to Hilltop camp for a lovely dinner and a good nights sleep.
Before I could leave my room outside was a great scene of an array of animals! Nyala mother and calf suckling, Crested Guinea fowl and Vervet monkeys!
We began with breakfast at 7am and then headed out on what would be a long 8 hour safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve the most underrated game reserve in South Africa! It also just happens to be the oldest in Africa!
We began and our first sighting was of the animal we all wanted to see the Giraffe!
We enjoyed the Giraffes for a while before moving further South in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to try and cover as much of the reserve as possible in the 8 hours.
What happened next was also amazing as we spotted some Elephants in the distance and we waited as they were making their way to the road. It was to be an amazing sighting and one we would remember for a long time. With patience we were able to have these Elephant cross right in front of us and I made a video we could even hear the dung and one went to the toilet hitting the ground!
Things on our overnight safari from Durban then just got better and we spotted herds of Impala crossing the road and some Zebra before we stopped to look at some Rhino of a hill. As I picked up my binoculars I spotted a pride of Lions resting on the hills to the left of the Rhinos. Of course we didn’t care about the Rhino any more and focused on the Lions!
We continued on crossing the Umfolozi river and once on the other side we were lucky enough to spot 2 Rhinos near to the road which we watched grazing away. It was a lovely sighting as they were just a couple of young males staying with each other for companionship.
We left the Rhinos and stopped for a rest room break at Mpila camp and it was here that we began to take in what an amazing 1.5 days we had had so far! After the rest we continued our Durban 3 day safari tour and as we went further south we came across an old Giraffe kill from a week prior. It was here we spotted a couple species of Vultures and even a few Hyenas. Sadly we could not photograph the Hyenas as the bush was to thick and the moved to fast for us.
We then did a big dirt road loop which actually was a little pointless as we didn’t see very much except Impala, Rhino and other animals far away. It was only at the end of the loop back past where we saw the Hyenas that we spotted some Zebras.
As we headed back through Mpila camp and over the Umfolozi river again we spotted some Wildebeest and Rhinos! Wow our overnight Durban safari tour was really going well. We had not yet seen Wildebeest so this was another tick on the list.
We left the Wildebeest to relax and then began to head to the Centenary center for some lunch. Out the corner of my eye I spotted a Male Water buck mating with a female up on a hill which was interesting behaviour and we stopped of a picture.
The picture actually came out very clearly for the distance and time of day I took it and you really can see everything. It was also funny as the females first born was right their looking on.
We finally got to lunch and we were all super happy with how everything had gone and we tucked into a great meal before the curio shopping for Ostrich eggs and other items took place.
After a while we left the Centenary center and headed straight back to Hilltop camp to get the tickets sorted for the evening night drive and book dinner for 8pm when my clients would arrive back.
It was already after 15:30 so we had around an hour before the open vehicle safari would take place. I decided to stay behind to catch up on this blog post and other work. The vehicle was full anyway but I still regret not having gone as when my clients returned they had seen a Leopard! So that was the Big 5 completed in 2 days and we still had one day to go on our overnight safari tour from Durban. Wow is all I can say!
We had some dinner and headed off to bed before day 3 which would begin at 7 am with a luggage collection and then breakfast.
After luggage collection we had breakfast and then check out before heading out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park.
Before we left we spotted some amazing animals including Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant.
It was minutes after the sighting above that we got a herd of Elephant crossing the road in front of us and behind us which was a fitting good bye for out visit to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
It had been an incredible 3 days of Safari from Durban.
We exited all feeling a little sad but really we still had a lot more to see and do at St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland Park. We arrived for our 10 am boat cruise and had some amazing sighting of Hippos in and out the water, Crocodiles and bird. St Lucia is South Africa’f first world heritage site and is the largest lake system in Southern Africa.
Further up the estuary we came across some beautiful pods of Hippos and the best part was some were out of the water on the land which is not common for them during the day time. We really had a special overnight safari from Durban.
Next we had a great shot of a Goliath Heron it was actually the 3rd time we had seen on from the boat but this one flew and I managed to catch it in flight! It was a super cool photo so I had to post it.
On our sail back to the jetty we spotted some Hippos making their way into the water, the best part was that there was a crocodile and Goliath Heron right near by so they ended up in the video too!
We had come to the end of the boat cruise and after arranging for the photographers to bring us a Calendar or two with the clients pictures in it we settled in for lunch at John Dorys.
We all enjoyed our lunch and the general chatted about how wonderful the Safari from Durban had been and all the amazing animals we had seen in the wild.
After lunch we stopped to try and get a Zebra skin but the were very expensive so my clients settled on some smaller items the Ostrich eggs and other general carvings.
We then headed to the Board walk so I could show my clients the estuary and Indian ocean as well as Maphelane the second highest vegetated Sand dune in the world.
It was amazing and as we got off the board walk onto the beach which was very beautiful I showed everyone the Titanium in the sand which is mined further South of the World heritage site.
It was now time for the long drive back to the airport, Umhlanga and then Durban. It actually went really well and all final questions we asked and answered before the day ended with the sun having long set on the day and our amazing 3 day safari tour from Durban.
Durban Safari Tours and KwaZulu-Natal Safari Tours have been areas that few have focused themselves on. It has been a dream to show off Durban and KwaZulu-Natal to the world.