Hilltop camp 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!

     

  • 11th January 2016

    South African safari to Hluhluwe game reserve.

     

     

    Our South African safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve began in Durban. After collecting my clients we headed into Zululand and our safari began with a visit to a Cat rehabilitation center.

     

    After some amazing interaction with four endangered species of cat we departed for Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve where we would try to find as many of the Big 5 animals as we could. We were very luck and the first animal we saw close was 2 Lions about 25 meters off the road.

    My photos for them did not come out well but it was no problem as a couple kilometers away we found a Lioness resting!

     

     

     

     

     

    South African safari; Lioness

    South African safari; Lioness

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We were shocked with our luck and on route to Hilltop camp where we would be staying we spotted Rhino, Buffalo and a few other species!

    We then settled in at Hilltop camp for some lunch and then checked in before heading back out with already two Lion sightings under our belt. It wasn’t long and we had found four of the Big 5! Elephants were feeding off in the distance but we didn’t worry to much about this as I knew we would see them closer.

    It wasn’t long and our South African safari turned good again and we found Rhino close to the road and one sleeping behind a Marula tree!

     

     

     

     

    South African safari; Rhino sleeping

    South African safari; Rhino sleeping

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was getting darker with all the cloud cover but we did spot Buffalo which didn’t come out in the camera very well but the best was yet to come as at dusk we spotted a Lioness and had her all to ourselves for 25 minutes!

    She fetched a carcass of a baby Buffalo and walked across the road in front of us with it and then lay down 5 meters off the road with it and fed! This was an amazing end to the day and I have videos to show you how awesome this part of our Safari from Durban was!

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Lioness carries Buffalo calf across road in front of us 


    This was an amazing part of our South African safari and we then filmed her feeding next to us which was just incredible!

     

     

     

    Video: Durban safari tours; Lioness eats a Buffalo calf 


     

    At this point we were going to be late and we had accepted that we may have to pay a fine but it would be worth it due to the amazing sighting. We tried to get back to Hilltop camp as quick as we could but another Lioness further up the road almost on the road halted our progress!

     

     

     

     

    South African safari; Lioness at night

    South African safari; Lioness at night

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    She was so beautiful we had to take a photo of two. we arrived 15 minutes late and were let in with not reprimand but the risk is to high to break rules. It in this case was purely not our fault.

    We arrived at Hilltop camp buzzing and settled in for dinner. I knew I would not sleep after all the excitement but at some point during uploading of these videos I feel off to sleep.

     

    The second day would begin at 5am.

     

     

     

    Day 2: South African safari

     

     

     

    We had another amazing start we found some Elephants in the distance and then some Rhino. The photos were no good and as we continued we had an amazing sighting finding African Wild dogs which is the most endangered carnivore in Africa! I was so stoked! Wow! South African safaris in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve can be amazing.

     

     

     

     

     

    South African safari; African wild dogs

    South African safari; African wild dogs

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: South Africa safari; African Wild dogs on the hunt


     

    As we continued we found a Leopard tortoise on the road so I had to move it as we always find people not driving properly and hitting them.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    South African safari; Leopard Tortoise

    South African safari; Leopard Tortoise

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued our South African safari we came across a journey of Giraffe and a Dazzle of Zebra. We also had then together on the road drinking from the small puddles of water from the rain in the night.

     

     

     

     

     

    South African safari; Giraffe and Zebra

    South African safari; Giraffe and Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban Safaris; Zebra kicks gravel to get nutrients from soil 


     

     

    It was time to get to a rest room break so we headed for the Nyalazi gate. After a short stop we began to make our way back to Hilltop camp and found Rhino closer to the road.

     

     

     

     

    South African safari; Rhino

    South African safari; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Things we hotting up again on our South African safari and we found some Elephants next to the road which was amazing. The one male came onto the road for us.

     

     

     

     

    South African safari; Elephant

    South African safari; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I had been waiting for the perfect moment to take a good picture of Buffalo and it wasn’t long till we got that too!

     

     

     

     

     

    South African safari; Buffalo

    South African safari; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The rain seemed to have softened the animals hearts and they were showing themselves except for that pesky Leopard which I wasn’t expecting anyway. We still had time so we would see what happened.

    We returned to Hilltop camp and had some Brunch before a rest. We would meet again at 15:45 for another attempt at more amazing animals.

     

     

    At 16:00 we departed and as usual the African bush was slightly quiet before the later afternoon and evening. We managed to spot Elephant in the distance and had close ups of Rhino and Buffalo.

    The rain began to fall and we spotted Baboon all curled up in each others arms trying to stay away from the rain.

     

     

     

     

    South African safari; Baboons in the rain

     

    South African safari; Baboons in the rain

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It wasn’t long before we had an awesome sighting on our South African safari of Rhino where their was 3 mothers and 3 calves which joined force to play and mud wallow, it was almost like a play group.

     

     

     

     

    Video: Rhinos in Africa play with one another


     

     

     

     

    We were hoping that on our way back we would be able to find some Lions as we had done so well the day before but as nature had it, it can also take it and we did not find Lions!

    We did however come across one of my favourite Rhinos which has an abnormal horn which bends the opposite direction to usual.

     

     

     

     

    South African safari; Rhino with wonky horn

    South African safari; Rhino with wonky horn

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was time to head back from our South African safari to Hilltop camp our based for the 3 days and have some dinner which well welcomed by us all.

    After a great meal we would meet at 7am the following day for luggage collection, breakfast and check out.

     

     

     

     

    Day 3: African safari from Durban

     

     

    Our African safari from Durban began at 7am and we enjoyed some breakfast and got the formalities out the way before heading out for 3 hours or so to see what else we could find before we departed Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for St Lucia or Isimangaliso Wetland park, South Africas first world heritage site.

    It wasn’t long and we found Zebra and Giraffe near the road.

     

     

     

     

     

    South African safari; Giraffe

    South African safari; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was a quiet drive around considering we had basically seen everything most animals we saw we already had better photos so we just enjoyed the ambiance of the South African safari.

     

    It was time to exit the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and we made our way to St Lucia or Isimangaliso Wetland park which was also established in 1895 and is home to 4 of the Big 5 but most importantly Hippos, Crocodiles and Bull Sharks.

     

    Upon arrival we visited a craft shop and then boarded the boat up the St Lucia estuary to view Hippos and Crocodiles.

     

     

     

     

     

    South African safari; Hippo

    South African safari; Hippo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We also got a great photo of a big Nile Crocodile with a Grey Heron and an African spoon bill.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    South African safari; Crocodile

    South African safari; Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The St Lucia boat cruise on the estuary is amazing and we always see lots of Hippos and today we even got a Hippo out the water as it was a cooler day which we do not always get to enjoy.

     

     

     

    South African safari; Hippo out the water

    South African safari; Hippo out the water

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It had been an amazing 3 days of Safari from Durban in Zululand and we were all very happy. Each day had its big sightings like the 4 Lion sightings on day one, the Wild Dogs and Rhino playing on day two and the third day was the Hippos!

    We had some lunch in St Lucia before making our way back to Durban.

    Another amazing South African safari under the belt!

  • 6th January 2016

    South Africa safari

     

     

    Our South Africa safari began in Durban where I collected my clients and we began the drive to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve which is malaria free and home to the big 5.

    It would be a South Africa safari that we would not forget!

    We began with Cheetah interaction in Hluhluwe and then made our way into the Hluhluwe game reserve. It was not long and our African safari tour began to unfold before us.

     

    Our first sighting was of Zebra inside 2 minutes and these two one a male and the other a female were resting their head on each others backs.

     

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Zebra

    South Africa safari; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Seriously if you are looking for the best African safari tour with value for money this is the one you need to choose! If you read on with this post you will see why I say that. Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve being the oldest game reserve in Africa had amazing sighting of animals but it is always safer and better to go with a South African safari guide who is registered and qualified to take you on safari.

     

    Next we saw Buffalo which were far away as well as some Elephant so already we had seen 3 of the Big 5! There was nothing really worth photographing I felt so we continued on to the Hilltop camp for some lunch. We enjoyed so good service from the manager of the restaurant before checking in and resting before we would continue at 4pm.

     

     

    At 4pm we headed back out on our South Africa safari and managed to find Rhinos. We waiting 20 minutes for them to make their way to the road and then got them crossing near us.

     

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Rhino

    South Africa safari; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Next on the agenda was Elephants close and we got them on the road! Wow what a start to our South Africa safari tour. The Elephants we coming from the river and were chilled out so we could enjoy them before moving on to check the Hluhluwe river ourselves.

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Elephant

    South Africa safari; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We also managed to get a great video of an Elephant trying to strip a branch!

     

     

     

    Video: Durban safaris; Elephant works on its meal


    We moved along with our South African safari and located some Giraffe crossing the road, we positioned ourselves and enjoyed the moving along through the thicket feeding on the Acacia trees.

     

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Giraffe

    South Africa safari; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our South Africa safari just got better as we went along and it was about to get a whole lot more amazing as we located the Lions that has been resting in the shade. This sighting was the best African safari tour sighting you could ever wish for and we were spoiled!

     

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Lion grimace

    South Africa safari; Lion grimace

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    One of the Sub Adult males got up and walked over to his sister and did a Grimace! This is typical to what you would want to see on an African safari tour! We waiting for over an hour and this is what the documentaries never show you but eventually 3 of the 5 Lions crossed the road. We now had seen clearly 4 of the Big 5!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Lion on road

    South Africa safari; Lion on road

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    They Lioness that had already crossed the road spotted some Impala and sadly for her they spotted her and the male Impala came running out towards the Lions, another thing documentaries don’t show you!

    A prey item always wants to see where the predators are. The Lions lay down and waited and then the Best African safari experience we could have ever wishes for took place.

    Let this picture be a taste before the video!

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Lion and Rhino stand off

    South Africa safari; Lion and Rhino stand off

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The video of what happened you will not believe so I am glad you can watch it! The Rhino with few month old calf walked past a young male Lion and didn’t see or smell him. He then got up and walked after the Rhino before charging and grabbing the baby Rhino which he quickly let go once mother Rhino turned around with her big horn!

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Lion attacks baby Rhino; Lion vs Rhino 


     

    Please excuse my language in the video it is not a natural sighting to see and we all get a little excited! We could not believe our luck at this point I was feeling like this was the best African safari tour ever!

     

    We had to depart now and head back to Hilltop camp for dinner and share our story!

     

    Dinner was great and we were all so tired we went to bed early but we would have a 5 am start the next day.

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: South Africa safari

     

     

     

    We began the second day of our South Africa safari at 5am and we made our way down south to try and find the only one of and the most difficult of the big 5, the Leopard.

     

    We started really well with a Porcupine which is nocturnal near the road which was super special for me as I have not seen one in this game reserve.

    It scuttled off to quick to get a picture but is was not long until we spotted Rhinos on the road sleeping.

     

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Rhino

    South Africa safari; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I realized that I had used up so much battery with the Lions and stupidly had forgotten my charger at home so I have to conserve my battery.

    We did see Giraffe around the next bend and Nyala but we had already great shots of them. Our African safari tour continued and we found a lovely herd of Buffalo near the road,

    This one female look at me as is I owed her money!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Buffalo

    South Africa safari; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued in the malaria free Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and made our way down to the Umfolozi river it was near here that we found Wildebeest with new born babies and Rhino. We also spotted Kudu which was new for us on this trip.

    We eventually turned back after not finding the Leopard and made our way back to Hilltop camp after what was a very successful African safari tour.

     

    After breakfast we took some time out during the heat of the day and met again later for another South African safari.

     

    We headed to an area we had not yet visited and its was so hot all we saw was warthogs.

    Once it finally cooled down we spotted some Rhino and then the Cherry on the top, the Black Rhino!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Black Rhino mother and calf

     

    South Africa safari; Black Rhino mother and calf

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After this great sighting we spotted a huge bull Elephant and some Buffalo which were resting near the road. This really was turning out to be an amazing African safari and one of the Best African safaris I have done.

     

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Bull Elephant

    South Africa safari; Bull Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then spotted the African Lions resting in the distance and watched them get chased by Elephants into the drainage after 15 minutes of waiting they emerged on the other side closer to us and we got a great look as 3 of the 4 Lions that were there.

     

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Lions

    South Africa safari; Lions

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This young Lioness who is the sister to the young male then presented herself to her brother and he attempted to mate with her. Thankfully he missed the spot and only made himself look silly.

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Lion attempts to mate with his sister!

     

     

     

     

     

    We had been one an amazing ride and our South Africa safari really had taken great shape and we were all very happy. We returned to Hilltop camp for some dinner and then went off to bed before another 5 am start.

     

     

     

     

    Day 3: South Africa safari

     

     

     

    Our third day began were we left off with the second day as we relocated the Lions and watched then get chased by Elephants before they reappeared. The best part was that today the Big male had joined the Lions so we had most of the pride together again.

    This really was on of the best African safari tours with us having seen Lions on all three days of this safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Lion

    South Africa safari; Lion

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After this amazing sighting and after 2 days of brilliant game viewing on our South African safari we really didn’t have any need for more pictures even though we say Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino and a lot more on this morning.

    We headed back for breakfast and checked out before heading to Isimangaliso Wetland park or the St Lucia estuary where we would be taking a 2 hour boat cruise to watch Hippos, Crocodile, Bull sharks and some wonderful bird life.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Hippo

    South Africa safari; Hippo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our first sighting of Hippo happened before we could even leave the Jetty! They were resting and playing all at the same time in the St Lucia estuary.

     

    It wasn’t long and I spotted a bull shark hunting fish in the St Lucia estuary. This is always amazing and never an animal you are likely to see.

     

    Of course it happened so fast I did not have time for a picture that was any good. Next was more Hippos and them more! We spotted two feeding on the reeds which is rare in the middle of the day at 38 degrees!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    South Africa safari; Hippo feeding

    South Africa safari; Hippo feeding

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After an amazing time out on the St Lucia estuary we went into St Lucia town for some lunch and then headed back to Durban.

     

    This truly had been one of the best African safari tours I have conducted with the highlight being the sighting of the Lion attacking the Rhino calf on the first evening!

     

  • 30th December 2015

    Durban 3 day safari tours

     

     

     

    After collecting my clients who were returning to Africa from Monaco to visit family for the festive season we headed off to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for their Durban 3 day safari tour.

    We chatted about the history of Durban and South African before arriving at Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and beginning our safari to see what animals we could find.

    The first day of our Durban safari tour turned out to be good as we began with lots on Impala and some Buffalo.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Buffalo stare

    Durban safari tour; Buffalo stare

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued our Durban safari tour we came across some Wildebeest as well and one mother has a new born with here which still had some of the umbilical cord attached.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; New born Wildebeest

    Durban safari tour; New born Wildebeest

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    At the same point there was some Zebra which were a little skittish and after a while we got them crossing the road in front of us like a real Zebra crossing! Our Durban safari tour was beginning to hot up!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Zebra among the Sickle bush

    Durban safari tour; Zebra among the Sickle bush

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then headed down to the Umfolozi river but before we got there we spotted a Elephant bull which had just finished a mud bath and then began to rub up against a tree. Within 10 minutes a Giraffe walked around the back of him and another bull Elephant came for a mud wallow.

    It was a great sighting for the first day of our Durban safari tour.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Elephant rests

    Durban safari tour; Elephant rests

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We went down to the Umfolozi river and found only a couple old Buffalo bulls so we headed back to Hilltop camp for some lunch.

    On route to Hilltop camp we spotted some Nyala and the male was testing the female to see if she was ready to be mated! She was not…

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Nyala

    Durban safari tour; Nyala

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We arrived at Hilltop camp and as it was Sunday buffet and fully booked we had to wait for our lunch but it was fine as we had some Buffalo outside the dining room.

    We checked in and had a short rest before heading back out!

     

     

     

    Only two of my five clients came out on the afternoon game drive with me which usually means we end up seeing something amazing and the other miss out…and we did!

     

    We began with a great sighting of a Rhino crossing the road in front of us.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Rhino crossing

    Durban safari tour; Rhino crossing

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As our Durban safari tour continued we spotted another Elephant and this bull was making his way to the road as well so we let him cross in front of us and got a great shot with lovely lighting.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Elephant crossing

    Durban safari tour; Elephant crossing

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued and as the sun began to go down on what had been a great Durban safari already we spotted some Lions stalking a Giraffe in the river bed.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Lion stalking Giraffe

    Durban safari tour; Lion stalking Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was a great sighting a little hard to see but it was still great. We managed to see another male Lion just resting and watching the Giraffe from another angle.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Lion

    Durban safari tour; Lion

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    While we were engrossed in the Lions we noticed a Rhino mother with a young calf also come down to drink, it was a lovely ending to what had been a great Durban day safari tour.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Rhino mother and calf

    Durban safari tour; Rhino mother and calf

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our Durban safari tour had started so well and after arriving back at Hilltop camp we went through for some dinner to tell our stories from the day. We also got to watch some Zulu dancing from the staff before we retired to bed.

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: Durban safari tours

     

     

     

     

    I met my clients just before 5am and we headed out to check on the area where the Lions had been stalking the Giraffe the evening before.

    As per usual when you are trying to get somewhere you always on these Durban safari tours find lots of animals so on route we spotted some Rhinos resting at a view site!

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Rhinos at view site

    Durban safari tour; Rhinos at view site

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued we thought we would be able to get to the area quickly but then we had Elephants on the road and they climbed up a bank. It was a great sighting as the one Elephant slipped on the bank and let out a great big trumpet with embarrassment.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Elephant slips on hill

    Durban safari tour; Elephant slips on hill

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We left our Elephants to rest and finally got to our area where the Lions were and discovered a dead Giraffe which meant the Lion were successful and took the Giraffe down during the night. We had a decent view on the safari tour so we managed to get some decent photos.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Lions killed Giraffe

    Durban safari tour; Lions killed Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Lions take down Giraffe in Hluhluwe game reserve


     

     

    We also got the one Lioness with muddy paws walking around a bit and at the same spot Elephant, Buffalo and Zebra came to drink with the Lions looking on.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Lioness walking

    Durban safari tour; Lioness walking

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We headed back to camp spotting a few animals along the way including a living Giraffe mother and baby.

    We settled into some breakfast and then headed to the Cat rehabilitation center where we got to interact with Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild cat hands on. The are 4 endangered species of wild cat.

    It was then time to return back to Hilltop camp for lunch. On route we spotted a huge herd of Elephants, Giraffe, Zebra and Buffalo.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Zebra foal and mother

    Durban safari tour; Zebra foal and mother

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The next picture was amazing as we got this journey of Giraffe crossing the road in front of us and the one female began to groom herself and the stuck her tongue out at us as she was cleaning her nose!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Giraffe with tongue out

    Durban safari tour; Giraffe with tongue out

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A Giraffe has a 45 centimeter long tongue for twisting around twigs to remove the leaves. This was a great sighting! It was now time for our Durban safari tour to head back to Hilltop camp for some lunch and we settled back into camp until 5 pm when we headed back out on safari to see what we could find.

     

    At 5 pm we ventured out and we located a young Buffalo carcass but it was a couple days old and had been left which in Hluhluwe Imfolozi is usually a sign of a Leopards kill. As it was also close to the main road that was the verdict and sadly we didn’t see it.

     

    We headed back to the Lions for another look which turned out to be a great look as they moved around a bit but also were now closer and in the open.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Lions in river bed

    Durban safari tour; Lions in river bed

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then raced back to Hilltop camp for some dinner and some rest before another early start the following day at 5am.

     

     

     

     

    Day 3: Durban safari tours

     

     

     

     

    On our third day of our Durban safari tour we left at the crack of dawn and although we were 3rd in line to head out onto the reserve we took a quicker route to be the second vehicle back with the Lions giving us the ideal spot to enjoy these amazing animals.

     

    We managed to watch the adult Lioness feeding on the Giraffe which was great.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Lion feeding on Giraffe

    Durban safari tour; Lion feeding on Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban safari tours; Lion feeding on Giraffe carcass

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we enjoyed this great sighting which is the sighting everyone want to see on a safari we managed to photograph a young male Lions yawning. This was amazing to see his teeth!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Lion yawning

    Durban safari tour; Lion yawning

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was time to continue with our Durban safari tour and we made our way into another area we had yet to visit and it was here we found Black Rhino which for me is almost as good as finding a Leopard!

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Black Rhino

    Durban safari tour; Black Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had a great time waiting on this Black Rhino and her calf before we decided to move on to find more Giraffe and Zebra as well as some Elephants!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Elephant

    Durban safari tour; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was not time to head back to Hilltop camp and have some breakfast before we would depart for St Lucia – Isimangaliso Wetland Park. We arrived at the St Lucia estuary and had a great time with the two hour boat cruise watching Hippos in the Estuary.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Hippo

    Durban safari tour; Hippo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We also had an amazing cloud formation which I had to take a picture of as it was just so beautiful.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Cloud formations at St Lucia

    Durban safari tour; Cloud formations at St Lucia

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then made our way to the town of St Lucia and settled into some lunch before beginning our drive back to Durban. It had been an amazing 3 days of Safari tour and my client as well as myself were very happy with how it went.

    We got 4 of the Big 5 and this was just great!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; 4 of the Big 5

    Durban safari tour; 4 of the Big 5

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • 17th December 2015

    African safari tour – 13-16th December 2015

     

     

     

    Our African safari tours can be done from Durban with Tim Brown Tours and it was here where I collected my clients for this 4 day safari.

    We could begin by visiting the Fort Nongqayi Museum in Eshowe which features the Wheel chair of King Mpande a half brother to the famous King Shaka of the Zulu Nation. It also features John Dunns furniture, Zulu crafts and a Church showing off the missionary work of the Norwegians in the area!

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Fort Nongqayi museum in Eshowe

    African safari tour; Fort Nongqayi museum in Eshowe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Chair of Mpande the former Zulu king is always amazing to see as a Missionary called Schroeder built this chair for Mpande due to his illnesses caused by his lifestyle and weight.

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; King Mpandes Wheel chair

    African safari tour; King Mpandes Wheel chair

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After being guided through this area we had some lunch before continuing our African safari tour to the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, the oldest in African and home to the Big 5!

     

    We entered to the gate to some high security presence due to Rhino poaching concerns and we headed to Hilltop camp. I was thinking it would take us 40 minuted but it took much longer as we saw so many animals.

    Our first major sighting was Rhino, Buffalo and shortly after Elephant but they were far enough away that the pictures were no good. We then spotted a Giraffe and her baby with some Impala.

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Giraffe

    African safari tour; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued along and come across a huge herd of Buffalo on the road as well a either side of us! This was a great beginning to our African safari tour.

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Buffalo

    African safari tour; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We finally arrived at Hilltop camp and quickly checked in and then after a short break of 10 minutes in the rooms we headed out to see what else we could find. I got word of Lions so we made our way around into the area they had been seen but before we could get there we found some Rhino!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Rhino

    African safari tour; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We finally arrived at the Lions and they were far down in the valley and had recently killed a Buffalo which they were feeding on. The issues was the distance and the fact the rain began to fall… Well what can you do! A Lion is a Lion! We could consider ourselves very lucky!

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Lions

    African safari tour; Lions

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We left the Lions and went to find Elephants and it was not long and we nailed it! We located a lovely breeding herd of Elephants and even though the rain was falling it was great to see them so near to us and crossing in front of us during our African safari tour.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Elephants

    African safari tour; Elephants

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Elephants suckling 


    After enjoying a great time our on safari we headed back to Hilltop camp and we settled in for some dinner before an early nights sleep as we would be going back out at 5am the next day.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: African safari tour – 13-16th December 2015

     

     

     

    Our second day began were the first had finished off at Hilltop camp and we quickly got back into it with sightings of Giraffe, Zebra, Rhino and Elephants down at the Hluhluwe river.

     

     

    We had to wait for the great quality sightings but they say good things come to those who wait!

    Finally we got a great sighting of an Elephant bull coming down the road and we let him go past us, he was lovely and relaxed.

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Elephant on road

    African safari tour; Elephant on road

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was now time a good Zebra sighting as well and it happened for us! We go them right next to the road and you could say that now our African safari tour was hotting up!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Zebra

    African safari tour; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was now time to relocate the Lions which should be easy as we knew a Buffalo was big enough to last a few days. We were successful and got the Lions at the same place they had only dragged the carcass under a tree. The best part of this sighting was they some Rhino chased a Lioness she then went to the toilet and began to play with something perhaps a tortoise of lizard!

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Lions

    African safari tour; Lions

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hluhluwe game reserve: Lions feed on Buffalo


    It was now time to head back for some coffee and breakfast before a rest. We would head out again after lunch to the Cheetah project for some interaction with the majestic cats!

     

    Well out luck change as at 2pm the rain began to come down and we could not go to the Cat rehab center today so waiting for a gap in the weather, it was no good so we settled in and had some dinner before bed.

     

     

     

     

    Day 3: African safari tour – 13-16th December 2015

     

     

     

     

    Our third day of our African safari tour began with a bush walk mostly to look for birds in the forest and we did very well before heading down for some breakfast.

    The safari after breakfast was amazing and we saw 3 of the Big 5 very close to the road an so much more. First it was the Giraffe.

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Giraffe

    African safari tour; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After the Giraffe we managed to spot Zebras and had the drink water out of a puddle on the road.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Zebra drinking

    African safari tour; Zebra drinking

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We now had a big day on the cards and we did 1.5 hours of Safari before heading to the Cat rehabilitation center which was very good. We then continued to St Lucia – Isimangaliso Wetland Park where we had lunch and then took the 2pm Hippo and Crocodile boat cruise.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Crocodile

    African safari tour; Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After this great sighting of a Crocodile with his mouth open to regulate his body temperature we got lots of Hippos and finally one opened its mouth for us!

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Hippos

    African safari tour; Hippos

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We finally completed what was an amazing St Lucia boat cruise and we were all very happy. The ladies got into the craft shop and after they were done we headed back to the gate of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and had more luck with the animals spotting Elephants close up!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Elephants

    African safari tour; Elephants

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had one more surprise sighting as I took a dirt road loop we hadn’t covered yet and we spotted one of the best sightings of African Wild Dogs I have ever had! They were amazing, Playful and just beautiful. The most endangered carnivore in Africa shared its time with us and it was a real privilege to have spent just under an hour with them.

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; African Wild Dogs

    African safari tour; African Wild Dogs

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Wild Dog plays with stick and Wild dog drinks water

     


     

    This was such a special day on our African safari tour that I don’t think we could really take it all in as we were all so tired and ended up getting back, having dinner and heading to bed. I must say I did stay up to write this part of the Blog post but its always hard to get these things to sink in even when you see them more often than most.

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 4: African safari tour – 13-16th December 2015

     

     

     

     

    We began at 5am with the safari and tried to see what animals we could fine before breakfast.

     

    It was a day we would not forget! We only needed to find Lions closer than the two other sighting we had and this was all that was on my mind so I got us into the area where I hoped the Lions would move to.

    It was a pure blissful sighting as we first spotted them on a hill far off and then this happened!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Lion chases Zebra on our Durban overnight safari tour


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our African safari tour just got crazy from here as every possible way you could see a Lion took place meters away from us! We started with the hunt of Zebra and all the 7 Lions then walking onto the road and drinking water next to us.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Lions on road and drinking

     

     

    African safari tour; Lions on road and drinking

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    You would normally expect that it would end here and you would have to continue driving but it did not. The Lions scent marked, played with sticks and road work equipment before climbing into a Marula tree!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Lions on road and playing with road work markings

     

    African safari tour; Lions on road and playing with road work markings

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Lions walking down road, male smacks female 


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tour; Lion plays with stick and Lions in tree

     

     

    African safari tour; Lion plays with stick and Lions in tree

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This has to be one if not the best Lion sighting I have ever had! It was amazing and one I will never be able to comprehend and take in properly. I hope my clients realize what a miracle this sighting was and I am sure they will never forget it.

     

    We even had a Lioness call the other!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Lioness calls the other Lions on our Durban safari tour 


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Lions climb a tree on our Durban safari tour 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Lions drinking next to the road on our Durban safari tour 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This whole 1 and half hours that we spent with these Lions made the entire trip worth it and even though our adrenaline was pumping I personally felt exhausted afterwards. This could have been the emotion of what we witnessed but it was just amazing, really now words can describe it.

     

    We returned to Hilltop camp for breakfast and check out before heading back out which really felt like a waste of time, how were we to top what we saw! Every animal from that point on got very little attention and we left Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve after lunch.

     

    We returned to the big city very happy with what had been an unbelievable 4 days on our African safari tour!

  • 12th December 2015

    Durban safari tour 9-11th December 2015

     

     

     

    Our Durban safari tour began in Durban city where I collected my clients for their safari experience with Tim Brown Tours. We headed up to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on route stopping at a Cat rehabilitation center for interaction with Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild cat hands on! 

    There is no point in coming to Africa and not experiencing an African safari! South Africa is as good a place to begin with a safari as we are home to the oldest game reserve in Africa, Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve established in 1895.

    On route to this majestic national park home to the Big 5, I always cover this history of South Africa as it ties so well into our Safari experience.

     

    After the Cat interaction we arrived at Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and began our South African safari. It was one of those days when you just try to see what you can find and you have such success in doing it!

    We had Zebra on the road, Warthog, Buffalo, Rhino and Elephants all within the first 1,5 hours.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Zebra

    Durban safari tour; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After we enjoyed these Zebra we found some Rhino and then a massive herd of Elephant the size of which we do not see often so it was really exciting! Our Durban safari tour moved on as we positioned ourselves in the best place to watch these amazing creatures.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Elephant

    Durban safari tour; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After enjoying this safari with the Elephants we moved on and spotted Nyala as well as more Buffalo in the valleys and on the hills. We then stumbled across a lovely Rhino mother and her calf which got up and raced across the road and then posed for us. Wow our South African safari was really hotting up!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Rhino

    Durban safari tour; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We made our way up to Hilltop camp where we would be spending the 2 nights and had some lunch before getting some rest. At 16:45 it was time for the open vehicle game drive which my client would enjoy and then return at 8pm for some dinner.

     

    After dinner we went to sleep to rest the body and mind and our Durban safari tour would continue the next day at 7am.

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: Durban safari tour 9-11th December 2015

     

     

    We began day 2 with a great breakfast at Hilltop camp and then headed out with two things on our minds, Giraffe and cats!

    It would be a tall order for our Hluhluwe game reserve safari but we made the best of the pressure and got really lucky at times.

     

    Our first major sighting knocked the Giraffe on the head!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Giraffe

    Durban safari tours; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    On any African safari there is never a guarantee of the animals you want to see especially the cats as the Lions and Leopard are nocturnal.

    On two occasions we actually located blood markings and drag marks which looked clearly to be Leopard but we could not spot the animal in the thick bush so far off the road.

    Our Durban safari tour continued and we made our way further south finding more and more Elephants and Rhinos which was excellent.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Giraffe

    Durban safari tours; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We were lucky to find two bull Elephants on the road and later a big male Elephant sleeping next to the road. He was so relaxed he broke wind a few times and hardly moved when we drove away. South Africa is really an amazing country!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Elephant sleeping

    Durban safari tours; Elephant sleeping

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had great luck with Rhinos and the one male we found in a mud wallow during our South African safari was in the cutest position looking like a puppy the way his feet were close to his face!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Cute Rhino

    Durban safari tours; Cute Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We made our way back up to the Centenary center for some lunch and then I got reports that the pride of Lions in the north were out in full view near the main road and close to the Memorial gate.

    At this stage we were about 1.25 hours drive way which I managed in 1 hour I think and we arrived to a brilliant sighting with no other vehicles except us! It was pure safari magic!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Lions

    Durban safari tours; Lions

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    To find Lions out in the middle of the day was amazing and even more so as they were with their heads up most of the time! Our Durban safari tour was really becoming a special one and these Lions really made our day.

    It is time now that these two young males and young female of the pride move on to prevent fights and in breeding so it is possible that today was an indication of this change. Always so exciting to see change on an African safari.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Lion

    Durban safari tours; Lion

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I was probably more relieved than my clients to have seen Lions! Every one thinks a guides job is so glamorous but at the end of the day there are pressures which we feel to deliver the best that a safari can offer. Its our job!

    We headed back to Hilltop camp and it was almost 16:00 so we had been out over 8 hours on safari in Africa.

    We then would have dinner later and some rest before day three would begin!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 3: Durban safari tour 9-11th December 2015

     

     

     

     

     

    The third day of our 3 day Durban safari tour began later at 8am and we enjoyed some breakfast before putting the finishing touches on our Hluhluwe game reserve safari before heading to St Lucia for a 2 hour Hippos and crocodile tour.

    We had some lovely sightings before we left of Buffalo, Zebra and Rhino!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Buffalo

    Durban safari tours; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was not 10:30 and time to head to St Lucia – Isimangaliso Wetland park for the boat cruise. We almost had the boat to ourselves at this world heritage site and enjoyed some great sightings of Hippos, Bull Sharks, 1 Crocodile and lots of Bird life.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Flamingos

    Durban safari tours; Flamingos

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Flamingos are a real treat in St Lucia estuary now as we only see them if the water level is low and its very low so we saw two flocks!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tours; Hippos

    Durban safari tours; Hippos

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Hippos were very sleepy today and we only had one opportunity for a Hippo yawn and I missed it! Having said that it is always an amazing experience and a great tour being around 2.5 hours from Durban and a great additive on our Durban safari tours.

     

    It was then time to have some lunch in the town of St Lucia and then head back to Durban. We arrived as the sun was beginning to set and were pretty happy with the 3 days we had spent together on our African safari.

     

    If you would like to join a tour of this nature please click the link below:

     

    Durban safari tours

  • 28th November 2015

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari

     

     

    We began our 4 day Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve safari in Durban on the 23rd November 2015 and made our way to a Cat rehabilitation center to interact with Cheetah hands on.

    This project releases and breeds endangered wild cats in order to increase the numbers in the wild in game reserves like Hluhluwe Imfolozi.

    I covered the usual history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal before we arrived in Hluhluwe and our tour began.

     

    After the Cat tour my client and myself headed off into the Hluhluwe game reserve for the big part of our tour the 3 nights and 4 days of Safari!

    It is always a pleasure showing off my country to clients from all over the world and this tour would be no exception.

    As we entered the gate of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we got lucky and spotted lots of great animals from Rhino to the Warthogs.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Rhino on the road

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Rhino on the road

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After we enjoyed this amazing sighting we also had some Rhino in the mud wallowing which was amazing! We watched them as well as the Wildebeest we spotted for some time before moving on with our Durban safari tour.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Rhino rolling on his back

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Rhino rolling on his back

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It had been an amazing start to our safari in Hluhluwe game reserve and it would only get better. As we continued we found a herd of Elephant and more Rhino.

    We would see them later in the afternoon so I will only put one picture.

     

    It was time to make our way to Hilltop camp in Hluhluwe game reserve for some lunch and to check in.

    After a great lunch we headed back out and went to the Hluhluwe river which for the first time in 6 months had water in it. It was a great sight after the heavy rains 2 days before.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Hluhluwe river

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Hluhluwe river

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We made our way back to where the Elephants were and got word of Lions hunting in one of the valleys so we changed plan and made our way there. It was well worth it as we located them again although far away it was still amazing to watch them hunting the Buffalo. We got one also drinking from a pool of water.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Lion drinking

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Lion drinking

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our Hluhluwe game reserve safari began again and we went back to the Elephants and also found a Giraffe! This was great as we could enjoy both while the sun went down.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Elephants

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Elephants

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was time to get back to Hilltop camp and get some dinner before some well deserved sleep and a very early 5 am start.

    Dinner was amazing and Julius and his team looked after us as usual, even making us breakfast packs at very short notice!

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari

     

     

     

    Our second day of safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve began quietly as we tried to check on the Lions but with no luck. It was one of those days when no one found Lions but we just had to do our best and find what we could.

    The temperature picked up to 32 degrees during the day and we had many great sightings but our first special one was a new born Impala with its mother. This was the first birth of the season for me to see so I was pretty happy.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Impala new born

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Impala new born

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued our safari out of the Hluhluwe game reserve and into the Umfolozi game reserve and got onto some tracks of Elephants. We tracked them for about 20 minuted and eventually found a small breeding herd which then took a mud bath right near the road. It was amazing as they got into some great positions.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Elephants mud wallowing

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Elephants mud wallowing

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: African safari tours; Elephants in the mud in Hluhluwe game reserve 


     

    After this amazing sighting we eventually got a Giraffe in the some good light and not far away from us! He was a lovely young male Giraffe and this really was great to see on our Durban safari tour.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Giraffe

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued with our safari in the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and came across a lot of other animals from Kudu, Nyala, Warthog, Buffalo and eventually got the Zebra closer to us.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Zebra

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was getting very hot and although we were finding Elephants and other animals we really did want to see a cat and we were in luck. Quite far off the road was a Cheetah mother and cub which was resting up in the shade of the trees and we were able to enjoy here for a while before moving on with our Durban safari tour.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Cheetah mom and cub

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Cheetah mom and cub

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was not time to head back to get some lunch via the Umfolozi river loop. We didn’t see much as it was almost midday and the animals were resting. We eventually got back to the Centenary center with was so busy it was like a shopping center! We ordered some lunch and then my clients enjoyed the craft market. I had to interrupt them as there was two bull Elephants in one of the parking lots and this was very exciting. My camera was in the car so I just enjoyed them.

     

    We then left and continued our safari back into the Hluhluwe game reserve before arriving back at camp at 3 pm a full 10 hours of safari and we were all exhausted and had to have a rest before dinner at 7pm.

     

    After a good dinner at Hilltop camp it was bed time.

     

     

    Day 3: Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari

     

     

     

    We headed out early at 5am and had some immediate luck as we found a crash of Rhino on the road. It took us some time to get past them but when we did we were able to line up an amazing photo. This was a great start to our Hluhluwe game reserve safari on day 3.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Crash of Rhino

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Crash of Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After this excitement things continued going well as we came across a herd of Buffalo crossing the road this took about 6 minuted for them to do this and I filmed it! Wow it was amazing!

     

     

     

     

    Video: Buffalo crossing the road


     

     

    We didn’t need to continue much further for the next exciting sighting of an endangered bird the Southern Ground Hornbill. It is one of my favorite birds and I haven’t seen one in months so a breeding pair was a real treat. Our safari from Durban was really living up to expectations.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Southern Ground Hornbill

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Southern Ground Hornbill

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was now time to spot some Giraffe a mother with a baby and shortly after we found a herd of Elephants on the road which were not to happy so we kept our distance until they calmed down and then we enjoyed them.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Elephants

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Elephants

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was time to get onto some dirt road loops and check the hills again for the Lions. We stopped at a view site with no luck but did have a great sighting of Zebras running down the road.

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Zebra

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After the Zebra it was time for the new born Impalas and we found two mothers with two new born babies away from the herd. Our safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve really had some good timing with the arrival of new life and the rain.

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Impala new born

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Impala new born

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was time to head back for a late breakfast and a rest in the middle of the day before we headed back out after lunch to see what else we could find. I managed to get some work done and fell asleep doing it before our afternoon safari began.

     

    An African safari tour is really something that you can only experience, it is not something you can tell people about as they will have no idea what you are talking about. Africa has something which draws you and never lets you go!

     

    We headed out on our African safari tour and found many animals resting as it was still hot. We found Rhino, Buffalo, Zebra, Wildebeest and Giraffe.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Giraffe

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Giraffe were amazing and before you knew it we had to head back to Hilltop camp as my client were doing the evening game drive. We still found some amazing Buffalo on the road and we got ourselves surrounded on purpose to experience the sighting.

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Buffalo

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We left the Buffalo to cross the road and continued with our African safari tour. We then had more luck as we spotted two Leopard tortoises one crossing the road.

    This was great and as close to a Leopard as we would probably come!

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Leopard tortoise

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Leopard tortoise

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We got back to camp and changed over for the open vehicle game drive as a storm brewed. We had a little rain and the it stopped. My clients got back at 8pm for dinner which was great and then it was time for bed.

     

     

     

     

    Day 4: Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari

     

     

     

    We began day four again at 04:30 am and right at the lodge entrance was a large herd of Buffalo which were resting with the sunrise behind them. This made for a great siloet of them.

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Siloet

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Siloet

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued and it was rather a quiet morning, we did have a great sighting of two male Nyala doing what we call Philo Erection. This is where the hair stands up on the back the tail is lifted and it is all about making yourself look bigger than the other male for dominance.

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Nyala Philo Erection

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Nyala Philo Erection

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued on with our Hluhluwe game reserve safari tour and found Rhino and Giraffe before we spotted a lovely bull Elephant near the road. We were lucky as he came onto the road for a better photo.

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Elephant bull

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Elephant bull

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We made our way back to Hilltop camp so we could have some breakfast and pack before heading out of the Hluhluwe game reserve onward to St Lucia -Isimangaliso Wetland park.

     

    It took us just over an hour to get to St Lucia and we were a little early so we did some of the board walk to the St Lucia estuary mouth. We spotted here Crocodile, Hippo and a Bull shark it was amazing!

     

    We them got onto a boat and did a tour of the St Lucia estuary to see these Hippos, Crocodile and birds closer. We had great luck as we even spotted about 4 different Bull Sharks.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Bull Shark

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Bull Shark

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Bull Shark in St Lucia Estuary, South Africa

     

     

     

     

     

    The Mangrove swamps are also a big attraction to this world heritage site in South Africa but the Hippos seem to always over shadow the Mangroves during a South African safari tour.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Hippo

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Hippo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We must have seem about 100 Hippos from the boat and the bird life was amazing too. We found the illusive African Finfoot and some Greater Famingos which are rare in St Lucia.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Greater Flamingo

    Hluhluwe game reserve 4 day safari; Greater Flamingo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was not time to end our St Lucia estuary cruise and make our way into St Lucia town for some lunch. We stopped at John Dorys for some seafood and after a great lunch began the drive back to Durban.

    It had been a great 4 days of Safari from Durban in South Africa and we all enjoyed it!

    If you would like to join one of these South African safari tours click the link below:

     

     

    South Africa Safari tour

  • 18th November 2015

    African overnight safari tours

     

     

    It was to be quite an interesting African overnight safari tour! Right from the outset my clients which were arriving on a cruise ship were forced into being late due to bad weather off the coast and this could have been a big problem had we had other clients on the same tour. Fortunately it was just this couple and we could be very flexible enabling what turned out to be a great African overnight safari tour.

     

    We departed Durban a little later and decided to skip visiting the Cat rehabilitation center to give us more time in the game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi.

     

    We had a great start and found Rhino which my clients had not seen before. Even after an East African safari it just goes to show that even Africa has so much diversity and some parts of Africa on safari you will find one animal easily and some other parts of Africa you will not.

     

     

     

     

    African safari tours; Rhino

    African safari tours; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This was great start an put a smile on our faces! We continued further south in the Umfolozi game reserve and stopped at a view point spotting an Elephant in the distance. We managed to get closer and and where we stopped we also saw another Rhino in the mud and a bachelor herd of Buffalo coming to join him!

     

    It sometimes is crazy to think that just 2.5 hours from Durban you have the possibility to do a Durban safari tour in Africa deepest secret the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve!

    Durban is surprisingly well locates to the worlds oldest game reserve and being home to the “Big 5” make a it a place to visit on your South Africa holidays!

     

     

     

    African safari tours; Buffalo give a Rhino a fright

    African safari tours; Buffalo give a Rhino a fright

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After this amazing sighting of this bachelor herd of Buffalo coming around the corner in the dry river bed and this Rhino which was resting in a small mud wallow jumping up with fright we really knew our luck had turned for the better! Our African safari tour would get better from this point on and it was not long before we found an Elephant nice and close!

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tours; Elephant

    African safari tours; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This great big bull Elephant was drinking from a hole he had made in the river bed and then proceeded to walk to the side of the Umfolozi river bed and wonder up the hill. This was very exciting and an Elephant is one of those animals which screams out “Safari”!

     

    It was time for us to turn back and head north into the Hluhluwe game reserve to see if we could find more animals before checking into our lodge.

     

    As we continued with our African safari tour we found Giraffe near the road which was amazing!

     

     

     

     

    African safari tours; Giraffe

    African safari tours; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Wow! Our African safari tour was really hotting up and who doesn’t like to see Giraffe! We watched them feeding and moving around before we continued on with our safari in Africa.

     

    It had been a bit surprising that we hadn’t seen Zebra but it was a cooler day and the rain was on its was so understandable why. We did however manage to find Kudu, Nyala, Impala and Water buck as well as Warthog!

    With luck having turned in our favor we found some Zebra!

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tours; Zebra

    African safari tours; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We were feeling pretty complete at this stage with 3 of the “Big 5” and all the rest we had seen. We made our way up to Hilltop camp in Hluhluwe where we would be spending the night as the rain began to fall and the mist set in.

     

    We arrived and checked in and at this stage we had no chance of getting out again on our African overnight safari tour due to heavy rain. This didn’t bother my clients as they relaxed around the bar with a good bottle of Red Wine in the lovely setting that is Hilltop camp.

    Hilltop camp is the place I always take my clients and in 5 -6 years of taking them there have never had a complaint over the place. Hilltop camp is a lovely 3 star facility and the rooms are lovely, set in the forest and some with views over the rolling hills of Hluhluwe game reserve.

    I would never again pay to stay at a 5 star lodge as you only really spend a couple hours a day at the lodge and then to sleep.

    Hilltop camp is my choice so join me, Tim Brown on your South Africa holidays! I will collect you from Durban where we begin our safari tour to Africa’s Oldest game reserve, Hluhluwe Imfolozi!

     

     

    Later I met my clients for some dinner and it was lovely with a great atmosphere, the staff even came out and did some Zulu dance and song for us!

    The Zulu people are from the area and song and dance is in there blood no matter what the age or size of the person.

     

    It was now time for bed for me so I bid farewell to my clients as we would start at 5am the next day with another crack at Hluhluwe game reserve and later Umfolozi game reserve.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: African overnight safari tours

     

     

    We woke early and began at 5am from Hilltop camp where we would see if we could find cats. We had an amazing start as we found Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino in the first 20 minutes.

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tours; Buffalo

    African safari tours; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This morning brought new life as in the above picture you will see a new born baby Buffalo with its umbilical cord still intact! This was exciting for us to see as we got to enjoy them crossing the road with a very protective mother. This was a great way to start a morning on an African safari tour from Durban.

     

    Next was the Rhino and then Elephant but we needed cats so we had to keep working. We located Lion tracks and then more tracks from another direction meeting but we could not locate the Lions. It seems that they lay down in the thicket and we could do nothing about it but we tried.

     

    We needed to get back to camp for some breakfast so we arrived at 08:30 am. Breakfast at Hilltop camp was enjoyable and then we checked out making our way to the Umfolozi game reserve in the south to see if we could get lucky with cats.

     

    It was one of those African safari tours where you just can’t seem to get it 100% right!

    We did have some amazing sightings like these Water buck posing for us and they looked like one animal with 2 heads.

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tours; Waterbuck

    African safari tours; Waterbuck

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The sun all of a sudden came out and we had a great sighting of Giraffe and Zebra.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tours; Giraffe and Zebra

    African safari tours; Giraffe and Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued our African safari tour and tried to get to where Lions had been seen but time just wasn’t on our side but funnily enough as we made our way back we did see a Lion but he was sitting far in the thickets south of the Umfolozi river and it photo was so bad that I would not post it here. Alex, I will email it to you!

     

     

    We had a 12:30 appointment in St Lucia – Isimangaliso Wetland park and a boat cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles! Wow, the things you can do and see on a Durban safari tour!

     

    We arrived and began a great boat cruise and even spotted a fin of a Bull Shark! Our first close up sighting was of Crocodile and a Goliath heron almost to closer to one another.

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tours; Goliath heron and Crocodile

    African safari tours; Goliath heron and Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was minuted later and we spotted a huge pod of Hippos in the water this trend would continue for the rest of our boat safari! This pod of Hippos got a big fright from one of the other Hippos and made some splashes.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tours; Hippos get spooked

     

     

    African safari tours; Hippos get spooked

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our African safari continued and we enjoyed so much bird life even an African fish eagle catching a fish and feeding off it.

     

     

     

     

    Video: African fish eagle feeds on a fish during our safari in Africa

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A bit further up stream we found some baby Hippos playing in the Estuary. At one point they put there heads in a row.

     

     

     

     

     

    African safari tours; Hippo heads in a row

    African safari tours; Hippo heads in a row

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After an amazing time out on the St Lucia estuary we made our way into St Lucia town for some lunch it was a quick one and we then got back to the Ship in Richards bay by 5pm.

    It was a wonderful African overnight safari tour and I am sure that my clients will be back in Africa for some more of the same.

    If you would like to join on of these African safari tours please click on the link below:

     

    African safari tours with Tim Brown Tours

     

     

  • 2nd October 2015

    Durban safari tour – 29 September to 1st October 2015

     

     

     

    I was blessed with a repeat client who brought a friend out from Australia to experience a Durban 3 day safari tour. We departed from Umhlanga and we were able to cover the history and new things that I hadn’t said the last time. It wasn’t long before we stopped and got some coffee and the continued on to the Cat rehabilitation center which was a real experience.

     

    My clients loved it and after interacting with the Cheetah hands on the day was set up to be legendary!

     

    I knew that Julie loved Elephants and I had to tell her we were battling for Elephants over the past three weeks. It is always good to cover yourself as you cannot control nature.

     

    We were greeted at the gate with some very disturbing news that 9 Rhinos had been killed in the past two nights by poachers for their horns to be sold for medicine in China etc. I was gutted! We made our way into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and fortunately found two Rhinos and Buffalo in the distance before I had to make the shock discovery of one of the Rhino carcasses! I hardly knew what to say and it wouldn’t surprise me if I actually swore out loud which I apologized for. The unnatural death of a symbolic animal like the Rhino is very hard to stomach, with no head and a bloated body even the vultures had not yet arrived.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Poached Rhino

    Durban safari tour; Poached Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I am sorry to have posted the above picture but I believe it is important for you all to see how horrible the human race can be! We are the apex predator and we have the ability to love and give but we so often just take away and its always from nature and each other! We will be judged eventually!

     

    Anyway on a better note we moved on to try find Elephants and it was a great feeling of joy when we did find a few small breeding herds of Elephant and they fed next to the road. They then crossed the road and stood in the shade interacting with each other on the road too! It was a great start to our Durban safari tour.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Elephants in the shade

    Durban safari tour; Elephants in the shade

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban safari tour; Elephants rest in shade

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We were so happy and spent so much time almost an hour with the Elephants that we almost forgot about lunch. We decided to leave the Elephants to themselves and we made our way slowly to the camp. We managed to find some Buffalo and even Rhino that were living as well! Yay.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Rhino

    Durban safari tour; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Come to think of it these Rhinos seemed sad themselves which I only just realized now! It is sad that by 2030 there will be no more Rhinos in the world, and all at the hands of humans the most intelligent animals around…

     

     

    We arrived at Hilltop camp with a lovely view and a cool breeze where we could  enjoy some lunch and check in. Once we were done I got my clients to there room and then arranged to meet them later for the afternoon safari.

     

    Our Durban overnight safari tour would just get better as we managed to find a huge herd of Buffalo on the road.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Buffalo

    Durban safari tour; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After these Buffalo we spotted 2 young male Lions up on a hill a million miles away but Lions are Lions! As it was only 5pm we decided to return again later in the hope they would have come down from the hill it was not to be! They were all in the open but as flat as cats can be!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Lions

    Durban safari tour; Lions

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    When we returned and we actually had an amazing sighting! A Black Rhino mother and calf poking their heads above the thickets. We were hoping they would come into the open but then a staff vehicle came flying by and the Rhinos ran away. We still could see our Lions but they were sleeping even though the Buffalo were walking towards them.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Black Rhino

    Durban safari tour; Black Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We now were losing light and had to make our way back to Hilltop camp for the night and of course dinner. We arrived back having big smiles as we had seen 4 of the big 5 in one day and Black Rhino! This helped with the sadness of the Rhinos that had been killed but we will never forget them. Also just before Hilltop camp we spotted a bull Elephant which was making his way to below the rooms to feed.

     

    Dinner was a buffet of lovely foods and we tucked into the meal before we went off to bed. When I was walking to my room I could hear the Elephant we had spotted on our way back to camp feeding on the trees.

     

    During the night I heard Hyena and Lions at 4am vocalizing wow it was amazing.

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 2:  Durban overnight safari tour

     

     

     

    We began at 6am after a great night of animal sounds which made me feel like we would really do well in the morning. Within 2 minutes we found some Kudu crossing the road.

     

    5 minutes later we spotted a herd of about 10-15 Elephants they were moving fast so I asked it the clients would be happy to wait to see if they crossed the road and they did. It was really exciting to get this as they had such lovely babies with them.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Elephant herd

    Durban safari tour; Elephant herd

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In our quest to find the Lions we managed to find Warthogs, Baboons and a range of other amazing creatures. The Giraffe was one of the highlights but it was great to have the variety.

    Sadly we missed the Lions as did everyone else and talking to others that went past we were lucky to have seen the Elephants!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Giraffe

    Durban safari tour; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After enjoying the Giraffe we made our way round to check the Rhino carcasses to see if there was any predator or scavenger activity, before we could get there we spotted some Zebra next to the road and then a huge herd of Buffalo.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Zebra

    Durban safari tour; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Next was the big herd of Buffalo on the road which meant we were stuck in a real road block much better than the ones the people in the cities talk about! This big male just gave us a stare as we made our way past them.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Buffalo bull

    Durban safari tour; Buffalo bull

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Finally on our Durban safari tour we got back to the Rhino carcasses and there was lots of vultures but no Lions or Hyenas. It was still an amazing sight and we didn’t stay to long as the reality was a little hard to swallow but it did again feel more natural then the previous day.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Vultures on dead Rhino

    Durban safari tour; Vultures on dead Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After a great morning safari on Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we headed back to Hilltop camp for breakfast and then a rest before lunch.

     

    After lunch we headed back out and temperatures got up to 39 degrees! It was very hot…

     

    We made our way down to the Umfolozi river and found a pride of 13 Lions resting in the river bed. It was an incredible sight.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Tim Brown Tours – Durban safari tours; Lions and Elephants in the river bed

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Lions resting

    Durban safari tour; Lions resting

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban safari tour; Lions rest in river bed


     

     

    We spend a lot of time with them and got to watch Elephants walking out onto the riverbed as well with the Lions paying no heed!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Lions and Elephants

    Durban safari tour; Lions and Elephants

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we watched we found another Lioness coming out of the bushes and it was clear by looking at some of the faces of the other Lions that they had been feeding as well as looking at there bellies. Wow this really was a treat on our Durban 3 day safari tour.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Lioness

    Durban safari tour; Lioness

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was still 38 degrees so we made our way back to camp as we also had to catch the evening open vehicle safari for the clients from 5pm -8pm. After the 3 hours I met my clients and we had some dinner before a well deserved nights rest.

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 3: Durban 3 day safari tour

     

     

     

     

    We began at 6am with an early morning safari drive to make the most of the day. We were very lucky as near the camp we spotted a Rhino and then further on some more not to far away.

    We were again on the mission to try find these Lions but with out success. We did find Baboon which was good to see, Nyala, Elephant, Buffalo, Zebra, Warthog, Impala and a couple other species in our time out in the bush.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Baboon

    Durban safari tour; Baboon

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Life is always about timing and so is a Durban safari tour. We had many vehicles ask us had we seen Elephants and no one else except us had found Elephants. We were lucky and found a bull Elephant walking in a dry river bed and sniffing where the females had been the day before. He then also stopped for a drink of water.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Elephant bull

    Durban safari tour; Elephant bull

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then made our way back to camp for some breakfast and coffee before we checked out and went on a final safari drive to see what we could find before heading out to St Lucia.

     

    We were lucky again and found Giraffe right next to the road.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Giraffe

    Durban safari tour; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then arrived at the gate and departed to St Lucia – Isimangaliso wetland park which is South Africa’s first world heritage site.

    It would be here that we would begin a 2 hour boat cruise viewing Hippos and Crocodiles as well as Mangrove swamps and bird life.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Crocodile

    Durban safari tour; Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This Crocodile was feeding on a fish he had caught near the shoreline. There is a wide range of fish in the estuary and we even spotted a fin of a Bull Shark.

    As we continued we spotted lots of Hippos and this male was on his own with a few cuts from a recent fight probably with a dominant male.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Hippo

    Durban safari tour; Hippo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After a wonderful boat cruise we stopped in the town of St Lucia and had some lunch, nothing like fish and chips on a cold day to make you feel warm inside.

    It was then time to make our way back towards Durban and we chatted along the way about how lucky we had been and possibly another visit with more family of my repeat guests.

     

    Thank you again to my guests Julie who was on her second Durban safari tour and Kris on her first. It was great to have see as much as we did and the quality as well was amazing! Look forward to welcoming you back and thanks for the Tim Tams!

  • 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

     

1 2 3