Hluhluwe Imfolozi park Archives - Tim Brown Tours
  • 12th May 2015

    Durban day safari tour – 11th May 2015

     

    I met my clients in Hillcrest only about 5 minutes drive from my home which was great! They were from South Africa, Cape Town which for me is not common to have South Africans on a Durban safari tour but it was really great fun and the tour was amazing!

    On route to the most underrated Big 5 game reserve Hluhluwe Imfolozi national park, I covered lots of the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and general things that we saw like the crops of the area etc.

     

    We stopped to stretch the legs on the way up and refuel before continuing the last hour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for our Durban day safari tour.

     

    We arrived at Hluhluwe Imfolozi park and began with our game drive to see what animals we could see. We actually didn’t even need to leave the parking lot for our first sighting as there was an Elephant bull drinking near the gate!

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari tour; Elephant

    Durban day safari tour; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued with our safari from Durban we came across a huge herd of Elephants with tiny babies on the hill near the Centenary center where we would be having lunch later that day. The Elephants seemed to be on some mission as they kept walking very quickly and were heading to the eastern fence line. I had seen three herds of Elephant do this 3 days before which always makes me think they are attending an Elephant funeral or there is a weather change!

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari tour; Herd of Elephant

    Durban day safari tour; Herd of Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued with our Durban day safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and came across a female Impala with thin horns this is a genetic abnormality and could be cause by inbreeding!  This can happen is a male mates with his offspring instead of being ousted from the leadership of the Harem of female by another dominant male.

     

    We also crossed over the Umfolozi river and spotted a Buffalo bull very far away and the photo was not good so I waited till we spotted these Rhino. They crossed the road in front of us and this was a special sighting for my clients and meant we had already seen 3 of the Big 5, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo.

     

     

     

    Durban day safari tour; Rhino crossing road

    Durban day safari tour; Rhino crossing road

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After spending a few minutes with the Rhino we continued with our safari from Durban and we had a quiet patch but I knew that we would see lots of animals. It was not long and we were blessed with a sighting of Cheetah. It was a mother and her 2 cubs around a year old and they were so much fun to watch we must have spent half an hour with them. At the same place was 3 crashes or Rhino which made it even more exciting!

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari tour; Cheetah mother and cubs

    Durban day safari tour; Cheetah mother and cubs

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video – Cheetah mother and cubs on our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve


     

     

    I might have gone over the to with pictures and Videos but it was Cheetah and there were two cubs which we active and running around in an open patch. This was such an exciting moment and we all enjoyed it. What a way to begin your first safari for my clients.

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari tour; Cheetah cubs

    Durban day safari tour; Cheetah cubs

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video – Learn about Cheetahs, seen in Hluhluwe Imfolozi on our Durban day safari


     

     

    One final picture of the Cheetah playing and I promise no more Cheetah photos or Videos for today! I just couldn’t help myself! They were beautiful!

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari tour; Cheetah playing

    Durban day safari tour; Cheetah playing

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued with our Durban day safari tour I honestly could not have really cared for myself if I didn’t see another animal but I knew I have to see what we could find for my clients as they were only here for a day safari tour. We kept getting lucky and we went round one of the many dirt road bends we stopped as we had some Zebras walking down the road towards us!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari tour; Zebra walking down road

    Durban day safari tour; Zebra walking down road

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Zebra were so beautiful and we enjoyed chatting about some of the interesting facts and features of this animal before moving on with our safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and finding a couple of Wildebeest walking on the road!

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari tour; Wildebeest

    Durban day safari tour; Wildebeest

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I figured now it was time for a rest room break so I made our way to a picnic site. We arrived at the Sontuli picnic site and we so lucky again! We saw Lions laying down in the river bed. I just could not believe our luck we had now seen 4 of the Big 5 and Cheetah in just a few hours. The best part about these Lions was the structure, it was an Adult male and female with one cub around a year old or a bit less.

    It is not often you see these restful cats on a Durban day safari tour or see a big male usually its just the Lionesses and the sub adults.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari tour; Lions, Male, female and cub

    Durban day safari tour; Lions, Male, female and cub

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video – Lions doing what they do best! Sleeping… on our Durban day safari tour

     

     

     

     

    We decided that all we hadn’t seen was the Giraffe and it became our new mission to try and find the Giraffe. I drove all the best areas that I could with the time we had and then had to head up to the Centenary center for lunch.

    Before we could get to the Centenary we stopped at a view point which you are allowed to get out of your vehicle at and it was here we saw a huge herd of Buffalo.

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari tour; Herd of Buffalo

    Durban day safari tour; Herd of Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I thought this was the ideal spot to take a picture for my clients with the lovely view over the Umfolozi river with the Buffalo in the back ground.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari tour; My happy clients

    Durban day safari tour; My happy clients

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued on in the hope of finding some Giraffe before lunch and we returned to where the Cheetah had been. They had gone but there was some lovely Rhino in the area and they were really posing for us on our Durban day safari tour.

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari tour; Rhino resting

    Durban day safari tour; Rhino resting

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    There was still one more thing would we have to photograph before we made it to the lunch stop and that was a Dazzle of Zebra and Impala on the road.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari tour; Zebra and Impala on road

    Durban day safari tour; Zebra and Impala on road

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Finally we arrived at Centenary center and it was here that we had a lovely lunch and a look around the world famous museum for operation Rhino. The craft market was also available and then we made our way for the final 1 and a half to find these Giraffe.

     

    We did it! It was 20 min in after lunch and I spotted a male Giraffe in the distance so we used the binoculars to see him better and then we continued further and found more Giraffes near enough to the road.

    One of these female Giraffe was either chewing a bone which they do to get calcium into their diet or she had a twig stuck in here throat. It wasn’t long and she liked her lips and continued feeding.

     

     

     

     

    Video – African safari from Durban – Giraffe maybe with a bone or twig stuck in its mouth

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had a great look at this Giraffe and then on our way back right near the gate we spotted a Big male 5 meters from the road feeding on a Buffalo thorn. It was the perfect ending to a great Durban day safari tour and we all were very happy with our sightings.

     

     

     

     

    Durban day safari tour; Giraffe

     

    Durban day safari tour; Giraffe
  • 21st April 2015

    Safari from Durban, South Africa to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park

     

     

    I met my clients in Durban for their 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park in South Africa. It is the oldest preserve in Africa and home to the Big 5 the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. Obviously we were here for ecotourism as Hunting is not an option in a National park like Hluhluwe Imfolozi.

    We began at the Cat rehabilitation center in Hluhluwe and enjoyed the experience of interacting with some of the Cats including African wild cat, Serval and Cheetah adults and cubs. The Caracal we do not touch as they are together for mating which can make them potentially more aggressive.

     

    I was lucky enough to have done some back to back Durban safari tours so I was feeling the way the Cheetah in the picture was looking.

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Inside the mouth of a Cheetah

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Inside the mouth of a Cheetah

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    My clients also got to interact with the Cheetah hands on which is always an amazing experience and they enjoyed it just as much as every other client I have take has. This is a must in you are in the area and wish to do a Durban safari tour be it and overnight safari tour or just a day safari tour.

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Touching a Cheetah

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Touching a Cheetah

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Next it was time to head into the World famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for our safari tour from Durban. It wasn’t long before we spotted some animals and they were the Buffalo, Zebra and Impala oh and Warthogs.

    The Buffalo were a bit for off so I didn’t photograph them but the Zebra really posed for us and this made for a great start to our Safari from Durban.

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Zebra near the road

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Zebra near the road

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After the dazzle of Zebra we continued and spotted a Black Rhino which was really lucky. The only problem was that he kept going behind the bushes and was already so far away that the picture was really bad. A black Rhino is rare so I decided to put the picture up anyway.

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Black Rhino too far away

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Black Rhino too far away

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then made our way to the camp where we settled in for lunch and checked in. Again I heard from my clients that they had seen all the complaints about Hilltop camp and the roads but they were surprised that it was nothing like what some of the reviews say.

     

    After checking in we had a short rest before heading back out to see what animals we could find. It started really quiet and then I got word of Lions in the area we were heading into. As always when you are trying to get somewhere you end up seeing so many things which hinders your progress! It was still good as we got this calf Rhino with his mother near to the road.

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Rhino calf

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Rhino calf

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We also found Nyala and Buffalo but we continued and there they were, a pride of Lions in the distance sitting in the dried up Hluhluwe river. At first it was a far sighting then we found another spot where we could see them a little better. The photos were not great but it was good enough and very special to see a couple of the Lions sitting on a rock. We also had a Rhino come and drink while we were watching the Lions.

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Lions in the Hluhluwe River bed

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Lions in the Hluhluwe River bed

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then returned to the view sight where we had a look at the view. Down in the river bed was 4 Rhinos having a little go at each other so my clients watched this through the binoculars and I took a couple photos for them.

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; My clients looking at Rhino in the Hluhluwe river

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; My clients looking at Rhino in the Hluhluwe river

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It had been a good day. When you see Lions on the first day it helps and makes things easier for the rest of the tour. We continued back up to the camp for some dinner and on route spotted a crash of 6 Rhino. It was a lovely sighting and this really capped off the day for us on safari in Africa.

     

     

     

     

    Day 2:  Safari from Durban, South Africa to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park

     

     

    We began day two at 6am when the gates opened and were hoping to find Elephants and Giraffe. It was strange as we saw lots of evidence that they were around but did not find them near to the road.

    As we then continued we heard that the African Wild dogs were in the area but there was no sign of them so after waiting around for 20 minute I decided to take a dirt road perpendicular to where we were and we found the wild dogs. It was awesome as one crossed the road in front of us before joining the rest all with full bellies.

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; African Wild dogs

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; African Wild dogs

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After enjoying the African wild dogs we continued and found Rhino in the distance as well as Zebra close to the vehicle. We had lots of Nyala sightings that we just gave up stopping unless it was a clear shot. It had been a quiet morning safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve but we had seen the most endangered carnivore in Africa so we were not unhappy at all.

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Zebra

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We were getting closer to Hilltop camp where we would be having our breakfast and we finally spotted a giraffe male near to the road. He was great posing for us and walking next to us. They are such amazing creatures full of character.

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Giraffe

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Once we returned we enjoyed the breakfast and took some time out from the Safari and rested until after lunch when we headed back out again to see what we could find. We actually we desperate for Elephant but nature has a strange was of leveling you and showing you that even though we are the most successful animal we still cannot have everything our way. This is still a good thing.

     

    We however found another male Giraffe which looks like he could have been the same male from in the morning as well as Rhino in the distance.

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Giraffe crossing road

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Giraffe crossing road

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued we spotted a whole troop of Baboon and some Nyala males having a joust with one another. The Baboons we really great and one mother had a tiny baby with her as she sat in the tree watching us. Our safari from Durban in South Africa was really great and its moments like these you remember how great they are!

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Chacma Baboon and baby

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Chacma Baboon and baby

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I was feeling a little frustrated that we still hadn’t found Elephants but it was just one of those things, life is all about timing and we had seen such amazing other animals we could not really be sad.

    We still tried, and then we saw Buffalo below Hilltop camp.

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Buffalo

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After this it began to rain heavier and we still tried for another 35 minuted for Elephant with no luck. We did however enjoy a spectacular rainbow which was not only going a full semi circle but was a double rainbow. It was so beautiful we could not even capture the beauty in a picture but we tried. Our safari was coming to an end and we spotted a Baboon on the road outside Hilltop camp. The best part was that he walked right next to us and was inline with the rainbow. People always say there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but this was a Baboon at the end of our Rainbow!

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Baboon at end of Rainbow

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Baboon at end of Rainbow

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We got back to camp and then I got the client onto the open vehicle safari that would hopefully find then Elephant but if not I would have to in the last hour and a half we would have the following day.

     

    I went off to do the blog post I writing now and we would meet the next day for breakfast and check out.

     

     

     

     

    Day 3:  Safari from Durban, South Africa to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park

     

     

    Day 3 of our Safari from Durban began with luggage collection and then a great breakfast before the final pressure took shape realizing that in the 2 days prior we had not seen Elephant. This was not normal for me so my blood pressure was so high I had a headache.

    I rushed off to try and maximize the 1.5 hours we had left to find an Elephant or 3 and thankfully the Elephant Gods looked down on us favorably and we found a Bull Elephant right next to the road it was great as he was relaxed and feeding away!

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Elephant feeding

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Elephant feeding

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then had this great sighting of a Big bull Elephant coming down the tar road towards us. He looked angry but it was just the angle of the road which gave him the loping walk down towards us. At first I couldn’t tell as I was holding the camera trying to get the video for the clients.

     

     

     

     

    Video of Elephant walking down the road towards us.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    At this point the adrenaline was pumping and we were shaking with excitement as we were only 5 minutes from the gate and having to leave the game reserve. We had such great sighting in the last 1.5 hours of our Durban safari that we could not believe it. We even spotted this male Rhino with and Impala in front of him.

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Rhino and Impala

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Rhino and Impala

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then were pumped up and seconds later a we saw a mother Rhino near the road and I figured she and her calf would cross the road in front of us so I waited and bang! That is what the did and at some rate of knots!

     

     

     

     

    Video of mother Rhino and Calf running across road in front of us.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was not time to exit and make our way to St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park which is South Africa’s first world heritage site and has great biodiversity and we had great sightings!

    We boarded a 10 am, 2 hour Hippos and Crocodile boat tour in inside 5 minutes we had seen both!

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Crocodiles

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Crocodiles

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These two crocodile were actually laying on top of one another but my picture was really out of focus so I have to settle for this one after the one Crocodile moved to the water.

    Next it was pod upon pod of Hippos that we saw, one of the best being a large group up stream.

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Hippos

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Hippos

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had a lot more sightings including a Giant Kingfisher catching a fish, a Saddle Billed Stork as well as a Goliath Heron. The best was yet to come as on our sail back to the jetty I spotted a Shark not one but 2 shark fins, we stopped and watched and saw them swimming around a bit. They could have been mating or hunting fish together. I was so excited I got the picture and even a video. Please excuse the South Africans making all the noise in the back ground!

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Saddle billed stork and Zambezi Shark

    Safari from Durban in South Africa; Saddle billed stork and Zambezi Shark

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video of Zambezi Sharks swimming in St Lucia estuary – Isimangeliso Wetland Park

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    My  work was done and we returned to St Lucia town for some lunch and then headed back to the Airport where my clients would be heading back home. It has turned out to be a great Durban overnight safari with us having seen 45 of the Big 5 and Wild Dogs in Hluhluwe Imfolozi oh and Black Rhino. At St Lucia the special was the Zambezi sharks the first time I have successfully filmed them in the St Lucia estuary.