It has been a dream to show off Durban and KwaZulu-Natal to the world.
Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal – Anglo Zulu, Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana and Blood River
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Budget Package
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Standard Package
uKhlahlamba Drakensberg Hiking and Sightseeing Tour
Address: Springside Road, Hillcrest, Durban, 3610, South Africa
T: +27 71 453 2781
Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal – Anglo Zulu, Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana and Blood River
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Budget Package
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Standard Package
uKhlahlamba Drakensberg Hiking and Sightseeing Tour
Address: Springside Road, Hillcrest, Durban, 3610, South Africa
T: +27 71 453 2781
Join Tim Brown Tours on a Durban safari tour to the Hluhluwe game reserve where nature comes alive and dreams are made! Try us for your African safari experience.
After collecting my clients from their hotel in Durban we headed off to the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve where we would begin our safari.
We are blessed with good weather in Durban and it only get warmer on route to Hluhluwe game reserve. It was here that we entered and began our safari looking for as many of the Big 5 as possible.
We did really well. As we entered the gate we found Wildebeest and Zebra close to the road and further along Buffalo and Rhino. It was a great start!
This Buffalo cow next to the road was looking very ominous but we enjoyed the pose she struck and the Red Billed Ox Peckers on her back made the picture that much better.
We did spot Lion but it was one of the worst sighting I have every had as it was one Lion under thick bush a flat as a pancake!
I didn’t even both with a picture.
We later spotted these Zebra relaxing next to the road and now it was time to find Giraffe in the Umfolozi section of the game reserve but before we got there we spotted a lovely old male Giraffe in Hluhluwe.
This lovely Giraffe walked across the road in front of us and we got a great photo of him. It was time to get some lunch but before we could we spotted more Rhino and this fella was posing!
What a great day in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve it was turning out to be! We had now seen 3 of the Big 5 and only needed Elephant to make it 4 of the Big 5.
Lunch was fast and in 30 minutes we were back on the road. I bumped into my colleague who confirmed there were Elephants down by the river so we sped off not before seeing a very rare bird a Secretary bird.(I could probably use one of those in my office!)
We got down to the river and spotted some Elephants and the a funny thing happened a large herd of Elephant came down and the couple of Elephants the were there alone just followed the herd which looked really odd!
We then tried to spot some Elephant closer and had two more great sighting of Elephant close up better each time! what a great safari from Durban.
We watched these Elephants feed for a while as it was very interesting how they used their feet and trunk before some Rhinos decided to join the show! It was great as we could get a lovely photo with two of the Big 5 in one picture!
As all things do they come to an end and we needed to head back to Durban after what had turned out to be an excellent day safari. We only missed a good look at Lion which is never expected on a day tour anyway as these cats are nocturnal so we were all very happy.
We arrived back in Durban 3 hours later tired but happy. I said goodbye and headed home happy with the way they day went!
We began our Hluhluwe day safari bright and early as you would when going on an African safari tour! It was a lovely day as it had rained the night before so it was a little cooler today so we could enjoy the safari away from the extreme summer heat!
On route to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve I covered some of the interesting history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as well as the population groups and how they came to be here. It also ended up with some politics which you really should never discuss with your clients but if they are happy with hearing your opinion then it is fine.
Our arrival at Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for our safari was great for us all as I have personally been away from actual tours for 3 weeks and was fresh and really looking forward to finding animals. I also took our new 4×4 vehicle up to test the capabilities and it was very comfortable and ideal for a safari.
Our first sighting was actually Zebra just on the other side of the gate at a mud wallow. We then entered and found Warthogs as well waiting for us!
It was not long and we found Rhino up on a hill making their way down we watch for a while but I knew we would have a better sighting else ware so we moved on.
We went over the lovely rolling hills of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and found some Rhino close enough for a great photo.
After chatting about the plight of these amazing creatures we continued on and found some Nyala and more Zebra on the hills. It was not long before we spotted Giraffe in the distance. I told my clients not to worry we will get round to them and that was a stupid thing to say as the next road junction was closed due to road works so I had to take the long way round to get to the Giraffe.
We stopped at a view point of what is supposed to be the Hluhluwe river, well it was totally dry and had no animals. You know when you look at a documentary of a desert and you see bones, that is exactly what we saw!
Finally we got some Buffalo nice and close.
The baboons we saw on our Durban safari tour were not really playing ball but we did find one that looked like it was lighting a cigarette! LOL
We finally made it round to the Giraffe and thank God they were still in the same area as it had been an hour detour! Our Durban safari became very exciting very quickly at this point!
This one Giraffe was chewing a bone and had all these Red Bill Oxpeckers on her feeding on the ticks.
This is very common behavior to get calcium into their diet but is not always seems or understood. I love nature!
We then hit a stroke of good fortune as I watch a Giraffe staring into the bushes and I looked to see what she was looking at. It was an Elephant hidden and feeding in a thicket on the other side of the dry river bed. We waited and waited and eventually he came out into the open and this made our Durban safari very much worth it as we had now seen 3 of the Big 5 already!
We continued our safari and made our way up to Hilltop camp for some lunch but before we could get there my clients did well to spot a Zebra which was rubbing himself on a dead branch. We stopped to watch this interesting act.
Lunch was great and we continued on with not much time to go and as it was the afternoon we battled for any new animals. We did find Hippo before lunch which I forgot about but there after it was some Impala, Nyala and some of the other animals we had seen already.
It still had been a great Durban big 5 day safari tour and we were all pretty happy with the day as we departed arriving after 7pm at the Oysterbox hotel and then 07:40 in Kloof before I headed home.
An African safari is a must and if you are in Durban why go to Kruger park which is 10 hours away when you can have the same wonderful safari experience 2.5 hour outside of our lovely city!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
We began our mini safari from Durban where I collected my 4 clients who where here for business and pleasure respectively. After covering the basic history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal we arrived at the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve by 09:30 and began with our Safari of the reserve.
We entered in the North east and tried our best to look for Elephant in the cool weather. I knew it would be difficult but had high hopes after getting them a couple days before.
Our first sighting on our mini Durban safari was the Wildebeest which was looking to link up with some Impala for safety reasons.
Just up around the corner we spotted some Zebra with one in the road which was very cool. We enjoyed them for a short while as I discussed their amazing pattern as well as interesting facts.
We then continued with our mini safari from Durban and found a massive herd of Buffalo which were on the road. We must have spent 20 minutes with them as even the Red Billed Oxpeckers though we were a big white Buffalo and kept landing on the roof of my car.
We managed to find Giraffe in the distance before we decided to stop at Hilltop camp for a restroom break then heading off to see the Giraffe carcass that Lions had killed 5 days before. I was hoping that maybe the Vultures would still be around but even the smell was gone and just some skin and bones remained.
We began to make our way around the loop to see what else we could find and sadly all the Elephants were hiding. We saw fresh tracks and dung but nothing else except Zebra and Giraffe which was still amazing!
We then raced off to the Centenary center for some lunch and into the Umfolozi section of the game reserve. Before we got there we spotted a Rhino bull which was great to see.
I was again hoping to find Elephant down the way we went but no luck again on this mini safari from Durban so we stopped for lunch and a rest.
After enjoying some good food we gave it one last bash. Our mini Durban safari took us to the Umfolozi river which is now a dry river bed. There was nothing to been seen except a Rhino mother and calf. So we had a quick look and tried again for the Elephant with no luck.
We did however spot some Kudu which are the largest antelope in the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We had now ran out of time and we made our way to the exit gate and were still very content with how the day had gone aside of the lack of Elephants. One this I always say if Nature is Nature and we cannot control it.
We made our way back to Durban where I dropped my clients off and I raced back home to get the vehicle ready for the next days 2 day mini safari from Durban.
If you would like to do this tour please click on the link below:
I met my clients in Durban for our 3 day safari to the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and we began our safari. I covered some of the major history of South Africa, KwaZulu Natal and Durban before we stopped for coffee and to stretch our legs.
Once we were done we made our way to the Cat rehabilitation center where we interacted with Cheetah and three other species of endangered or threatened cats.
We then made our way into the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and managed to find some Rhino resting before we spotted some Rhino and Zebra together.
We then made our way to Hilltop camp where we had some lunch and checked in before heading back out onto Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve just in time for the first Spring rains! Well that was a bit frustrating as it made it very hard to see.
We did find Rhino and four of them at that which crossed the road in front of us.
It took us some time before we found anything else of great significance but when we did it was a herd of Buffalo all around us and one the road in front of us.
This was the second of the Big 5 that we had found and it was a great sighting.
We kept trying to see if we could locate these Lions I had seen the day before but the visibility was not so good. This would not stop us and even though we got a tip off we eventually spotted them but to far away for a good photo.
This is Nature though and we can never expect this to go as we would want them. Nature shows up the way it want to.
It was very dark now and time to get back to camp for some dinner. We all met at 7pm and enjoyed some good food as well as some singing and dancing from the kitchen staff.
My clients really enjoyed the evening and it was then time for me to go and get some work done before bed.
We began the day with news for Lions having killed a Giraffe on a bridge and we made our way their after we had some breakfast. The Giraffe was on the bridge and had been pregnant and had one foot of the baby sticking out of the rear as the Lions had opened her up. Sadly for us with the pressure of vehicles the Lions moved away so we did not see them.
We drove around a section of a loop to see if we could find the Lions with no luck so we continued on. We then spotted a journey of Giraffe which were feeding away and concerned that one of there family had been killed.
On our way back past the Giraffe on our Hluhluwe Safari we saw that a staff vehicle was going to move the Giraffe a little off the road. The guy decided to drive his car into the sand off the bridge and he got stuck. We now were trapped and the only way to get past was to move the head and neck of the Giraffe a little. As the Lions were far away it was safe to do so, so myself and the staff member moved the head as far back as we could and then I was able to get past.
We headed south as planed but it was such a raining morning that we saw very little. Even a Vulture seemed to be big for us aside of the Impala we could not get away from.
As the day went by we made it a mission to find Elephants which I though would not be a problem but as luck would have it we would suffer the indignity of not seeing one the whole day!
We did see lots of other things like Giraffe, Baboons, Nyala, Kudu, Warthog, Wildebeest, Buffalo and Rhino.
These Baboons were grooming each other and we then also watched some Impala pronking away as the rain had stopped. It was getting better and we found Rhino a few times close to the road.
We spotted a herd of Wildebeest in the distance during this part of our Hluhluwe Safari so I snapped a couple of shots before we moved on to see what else we could find.
We then began to make our way back up for some lunch having stopped a few time to look at view point and seen nothing!
On route we found another dazzle of Zebra and it was great as they were so close to the road.
We then had our lunch and looked around the curio shop, even I found something for my wife!
We headed back up to camp and arrived around 15:30. I arranged the dinners and open vehicle for the one couple I had with me and then got time to rest. Well it was more like work and put together the blog post!
I would be meeting the other clients for dinner which was a lovely meal and then the next morning we would leave at 6am and try find those Lions.
Day 3 of our Durban Big 5 safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve began before 6am and we visited the Giraffe carcass. It was hopeless the Lions had moved off and vultures were now landing in the trees. There had been to much activity and I am sure those Lions had moved off. Gone was the romance of the kill from the day before so we left to seek greener pastures!
We headed further north and found some lovely Zebra and Rhino.
After this great sighting I could see some vehicles stopped in the distance so I made my way around there as the Lions had been in the area for a few days now. When we arrived we found the Lions all 7 of them! Wow what a sight I am glad we stuck around as the Lions eventually got up and walked over a hill where they spotted a herd of Buffalo walking towards they. They went into hunting mode!
This is always interesting and was only for the Lions to try and find a weak link in the herd. They tried to circle the Buffalo but the Buffalo stood their ground as well as there being some back and forth no weak links were found. Eventually the Lions gave up.
This had been an amazing sighting and you will see that the Buffalo were not to allow the Lions to be dominant this is all better done for the Lions at night when the Buffalos eyesight is not nearly as good as the Lions.
The Lions do not want to risk getting an injury as that can spell death for them through infection or broken bones. As mentioned this was all about trying to establish a weak link for a hunt which would be done in the night time while we were all asleep.
Wow what a great scene on our 3 day Durban safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We continued back to the lodge and had some breakfast before checking out and departing for St Lucia estuary and Isimangaliso Wetland park.
Here we boarded a 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles which was fantastic with some great sightings of Hippos and Crocodiles.
The Hippos at St Lucia are very relaxed as over the past 40 years or so we have had boat up and down this section of the estuary and they have got very used to the boats being near by.
We were luck on this Durban safari tour to find Hippos playing near the boat.
We decided to make our way back to Durban and stop along the ways for a bite to eat, it was great to have shared such an amazing experience with such a lovely group of guests which enjoyed every part of the experience.
It was great to get home to my wife for the night and the following day.
If you would like to join or book a Durban safari tour please click on this link below:
I met my polish clients in Durban who were here for the World forestry conference and we began our two day Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
After covering the usual history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and how all the population groups came to be here we stopped for some coffee. We then continued on to the Cat rehabilitation center where we would be interacting with Cheetah hands on as well as looking at Serval, Caracal and African wild cat, species that are listed as either endangered or threatened.
This Caracal was just staring at the guide while he was explaining about the cats history’s and how they came to be at the project.
Once we had enjoyed this we made our way to the Big 5 and world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. Once we entered the gate it was game time for me and I had be make sure I was in top form to see what animals I could find for my clients.
In the national parks like Hluhluwe Imfolozi there is no guarantee of seeing the Big 5 but we always try and find as many of them as we can. The cats are always the hardest and they give me the biggest headache.
It was quiet at first but we did spot Rhino, Buffalo, Zebra, Nyala, Impala and Warthogs in our first hour before stopping for lunch.
Our best sighting was these Zebra near the road.
I am looking at this picture now and thinking “They are all in a straight line almost on the road, awesome!”
So this was a good sighting and we then arrived at Hilltop camp for some lunch and to check in before heading back out to see what we could find from 15:30.
It was usual but annoying that every animal we saw was hiding or sleeping until 5pm and then we began to spot better sightings of animals. Before this point we had spotted Monkeys and Baboons.
The sightings got really go and we spotted Buffalo and Rhino together and had great sightings of Rhino mothers with calves as well as big bulls and even young male and female Rhino together. It was starting to become a good Durban safari tour.
The God were now looking down on us favorably and we hit the jackpot! I cant remember the last time I saw 3 of the Big 5 all in one area and this quality of a sighting.
We had two Rhino cross the road in front of us after they had mud wallowed and then we spotted Lions resting! I could not believe our luck. Then as we were enjoying the Lions I spotted Elephants coming to drink.
We got a great picture of this one young Lion who reminded me of Hashim Amla or Moeen Ali cricket players with big beards.
This was amazing and the sun was going down so it was getting more difficult for photos but we moved back to look at the Elephants and they were amazing! we had about 3 tiny babies and over all about 13 Elephants.
This young female Elephant decided to drain her bowls on the road in front of us which is perfectly normal even the queen of England has to do the same thing!
We enjoyed these Elephants and then had one more look at the Lions as the sun was almost gone and really thanked our lucky stars that so Tim Brown magic showed up at the right time! I was nervous for a while there!
We started to hurry back to camp for the gate cut off time and on route spotted a Buffalo bull on the road! Sadly the pictures in the dark we not good so I did not put them up.
We arrived back at Hilltop camp and had a short rest before dinner. Dinner was a lovely affair with the Staff coming and singing and dancing for us which I think my clients really enjoyed. It always adds a special touch.
I also pointed out the Southern cross and showed my clients how to find South before I went off to bed. My clients would be doing the morning open vehicle game drive at 5am and kindly let me sleep in so I could catch up on this blog post and the one before this.
After waking early and getting some work done I met my clients for breakfast before packing luggage into the vehicle and checking out.
We would still have time before our tour at St Lucia estuary to view Hippos and crocodiles.
As we departed Hilltop camp for day 2 of your Durban safari tour we managed to find Giraffe a few times.
We then had another amazing thing happen before we could leave the game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi and it was Lions again and they were the tree climbing Lions of Hluhluwe. Unbelievable!
I could not believe our luck, It was a stinking hot day already at 35 degrees and these Lions were moving around the branches of a Marula tree on our Durban safari tour.
We watched this young male Lion get frustrated with the Lioness which kept standing and sitting on him and as it was so hot he was not in a good mood.
We had a lovely picture of these Lions in the tree they looked very beautiful in the tree.
It had been another crazy morning in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on safari from Durban and we now had to leave to get to St Lucia for our 12 o clock boat cruise.
I put on the air conditioner as it was so hot and most of my clients had a rest before we arrived at St Lucia. It was here we took a 2 hour Hippo and Crocodile boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary which is South Africa’s first world heritage site.
We spotted many pods on Hippos and some Crocodiles as well as bird life.
It was so hot that we were glad to be on the lower deck away from the blazing sunshine.
We managed to find Hippos also play fighting.
We had a great time and now it was time for a late lunch and then to head back to Durban. Lunch was great and we all enjoyed some good food. We arrived back in Durban with a drop of 13 degrees! But we were all very happy with how our 2 day Durban safari tour had gone.
If you would like to do a Safari tour from Durban like this click on this link.
We began our Durban overnight Big 5 safari on the Bluff in Durban where I collected my client and we headed off to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve. It would be a safari from Durban to remember!
The usual story took place with me covering the general history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal on route to our first stop, the endangered cat project for Cheetah interaction.
We had a great time as we got to interact hands on with 3 endangered Cat species.
Once we left the Cheetah project we made our way into Hluhluwe Big 5 game reserve a mere 20 minutes away. It was now time for our Durban overnight safari to begin!
Our first sighting was of some Zebra, Buffalo and Warthog. Having told me guests not to expect too much early bells, I felt some added pressure build as I knew it would be hard to keep up the success.
The Warthogs were just up the road so we spent some time being entertained by them before moving on with our Durban safari.
We then made our way through to Hilltop camp for some lunch and to check in. It had been a good start and it wouldn’t be long before we would be back out to see what we could find on our Durban overnight safari.
Lunch was great and after 30 minutes of rest we headed back out.
We were very lucky as we had a great sighting of a Crash of about 9 Rhino which was unbelievable, sadly for us the photos were not the best so I didn’t put them up.
We checked over the Hluhluwe river and enjoyed the great views of Nyala feeding and it wasn’t long after this we spotted a big old male Giraffe. It was strange as he was so focused on what must have been female in the distance that his male part was erect for a moment before he crossed the road in front of us.
We continued on and came across a huge male Elephant a few meters from the road and he was in Musth but was very relaxed so after watching him we moved closer to enjoy him more.
This great shot of the Elephant my client took for me when the Elephant opened up his ears to cool the blood down and help regulate his temperature. I decided to try and be a bit creative as the Elephant had some Rhino and a small breeding herd of Elephant behind him. Have a look at this picture below.
It was getting dark now and we needed to make our way back up to the camp. We had been very lucky and our Durban overnight safari has really begun very well with us having seen 3 of the Big 5 in the first day.
We arrived back at camp right on time and then got ready for dinner. After a quick dinner it was time for bed it had been a long day and we had agreed to start at 6am the following day to see if we could find some cats.
Our second day of safari from Durban was like a dream in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. I could not believe the luck we had and nor could my clients.
We started with Giraffe and Rhino before having the most special sighting of Lions you could ever wish to have on a safari.
We had a pride of 7 Lions walk onto the road in front of us and basically play around for about 15 minutes. It was very special and we got amazing footage.
This was pure bliss as these Lions rolled around and wondering in and out of the bushes near the road. I managed to get a couple of video clips so you can try and feel what we experienced.
We were very luck as we almost had this sighting to our selves with just one car coming behind us after a while to share it with us.
The Lions played and it was also clear that they were marking territory and one Lioness actually did what we call the Flemen grimace which is where she inhales the scent over a gland on the upper pallet of her mouth to check if it needs resenting. This is also done by males to check if a female is ready for mating or even to check if other Lions had made the scent.
This had been an amazing sighting and we very happily continued on down south to see what else we could find. Clearly our Durban overnight safari had heated up!
It wasn’t long after this that we found a young Giraffe, we couldn’t spot her mother she must have been around, well we hope so!!!
As we continued our Durban overnight safari we finally had a great sighting of Buffalo where they crossed the road in front of us. We also had them near the road not long after this.
These Buffalo crossed the road in front of us and a bit further along we got a herd walking parallel to the road all in a line heading off to find more food.
Once we left the Buffalo and crossed the Umfolozi river we spotted a bull Elephant and it was another 5 legged one! We watched him feeding and then he walked up to a Rhino midden and started to dust bath with Rhino dung!
This had been so far an amazing start to our 2nd day on safari from Durban in the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. More was to come as we got further south into more open areas and found some Rhino grazing.
It was now time for a quiet period which was fine but before we could get the words out “Wow its finally quiet” my left eye worked some magic and somehow spotted a Big male Lions laying down looking right at us. I was impressed with my spot as well!
We could not believe that we had seen Lions twice in one day in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and we spent to time with this male.
After a few minuted it became apparent that he was not alone and that he was mating with a Lioness who was hidden to us at first. This was amazing on two occasions we got them mating! Wow what a great Durban overnight big 5 safari tour.
We had been seeing vehicles stopped about 200 meters away but we were so into what we were watching we decided to wait before checking what they were looking at. During our time with the mating Lions we also had Rhinos 50 Meters away mud wallowing.
We decided to leave the mating Lions and see what the fuss was about further up the road. It was another male Lions 20 meters off the road in clear view! Wow, we had been very lucky.
This male was clearly the less dominant of the two males hence he was not mating with the female.
It was clear to see that this male was less dominant he had less black in his mane which has been proven to be less attractive to females.
We were lucky on our Durban safari to see this male Lions so close but also grooming himself in the video above.
It was time for us to see what else we could find and we found more Rhino, Buffalo and Zebra before stopping at a view sight and you wont believe it spotting another Pride of Lions! This was the third time in the day we had spotted Lions and these ones where far away! The game reserve has about 120 Lions and we had seen almost 20 of them.
I did take a picture but honestly felt it wasn’t worth put up after all the close ups we had got.
We stopped later for lunch and enjoyed the museum about Operation Rhino in the 1950’s and ’60 which brought back Rhinos from extinction.
We then left and found more Elephants before arriving back at camp mid afternoon and had a rest before the evening game drive.
We would all meet again the next day for a 6am safari.
We met at 6am for a 2.5 hour game drive to see what we could find. We found Lion tracks, Hyena tracks and even Leopard tracks but only saw 3 of the Big 5, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. We actually also spotted some antelope as well as Zebra and Giraffe but as we had been so spoiled the day before it almost was a little anticlimax.
We returned to camp for breakfast before packing up and leaving the lodge for St Lucia.
On route we covered some of the History of St Lucia and the area of Isimangaliso Wetland park before we had some lunch in St Lucia town a very quint little village really. We then ventured on a 2 hour boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary one of the only places in the world you will find Hippos, Crocodiles and Sharks living in the same area.
After spotting these 3 crocodiles together we spotted pod after pod of Hippos which really is the highlight of the boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary.
We departed St Lucia South Africa’d first world heritage site at 3pm and made way back to the Hilton hotel where I would be dropping my clients off. It was a relaxed drive back answering any final questions and just having some general chats.
It had been on of the best Durban overnight safaris I have ever had the privilege of conducting!
If you would like to book this tour, click on the link below:
I met my clients at the Sibaya lodge in Durban for their Durban day safari with me to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve which is home to the Big 5.
We had some very funny weather on the drive up as it rain intermittently but through all of this I chatted to my clients about the history of Durban, South Africa and of course the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi national park.
I always try and cover as much as possible with the 2.5 hours I have on the drive up as it is very interesting on these Durban safaris to learn more about how each population group came to be apart of our wonderful country, South Africa.
On a Durban day safari we have limited time so I tend to really get as much out as possible. Everyone seemed to enjoy the interaction through the day and we were very luck with amazing sightings.
We arrived at Hluhluwe Imfolozi around 09:30 for our Durban day safari and we spotted some Buffalo on a hill near the gate. We also spotted Black Rhino with in about 10 minuted of driving and Impala. The Black Rhino is such a rare sighting and we also caught glimpse of a Anti-poacher watching them from a distance!
We now had to deal with some road work as Hluhluwe Imfolozi is having the roads maintained which is a good thing and then we spotted some Rhino as well as some Baboons.
We continued with our safari from Durban and before we could cross the Umfolozi river we spotted some Impala as well as some Zebra. The Zebra are one of few animals which are known to bite and kick each other as well as predators. This Zebra was biting at the other.
We crossed the Umfolozi river and found no animals but it was beautiful, we made our way up to Mpila camp and continued through after looking at the lovely array of horns they have on display there.
Our next sighting was Rhino but I didn’t get a great photo so I left it out as I got some great ones later.
After this Rhino our Safari was about to hot up!
We spotted a few vehicles all reversing and in panic! We stopped to assess the situation and it was a huge bull Elephant in Musth which was walking up the road. Someone said to us “a car was off the road because of the Elephant”.
It is very important that you come to game reserves with a guide who is experienced with animal behavior and can tell the signs of a stressed animal.
This Elephant just had 6 x the normal level of testosterone running through his body as he was ready to mate with females, this does mean that he can be a lot more frustrated and aggressive.
We turned off the engine as this stresses animals further and the Elephant move 10 meters off the road to feed. We rolled up to him and enjoyed him for about 10 minutes before leaving. We then spotted the first casualty of the day!
This rental cars driver could not handle the stress and was obviously to close to the Elephant and reversed his car of the road… Next time keep your distance or come with a guide.
I later hear that the same Elephant has pierced a cars with his tusks and shoved it off the road… he had also pushed over a Knob Thorn over the road.
Anyway I think those people involved will come with a guide next time or will never come again. As we continued we had more sightings of Baboons and great sightings of Warthogs.
These two male Warthogs were having a little fight over a lady and she decided after a few minutes to run off and leave them to it! Wow at this point all had gone so well and we had been having an amazing Durban day safari.
Next was the Male Impala with a Warthog in the same picture as they share habitat.
I have forgotten that we actually saw a big male Giraffe just after the Elephant which was amazing as he was right next to the road feeding and every so often would lift his head up to look at us.
We continued our Durban day safari and found a Crash of Rhino near to the road the best part was it was a Male and a mother and her calf. What made it even better was that a Warthog was with them.
Sometime on our safaris when we see Warthogs from a distance with Rhino I think it looks like a baby Rhino… This is all again that they share habitat and eat similar things like Grass.
It was time to look at a view point over the river and in the reeds we spotted a good sized herd of Buffalo which then left the rivers edge and moved up into the grassy plains. It was here we got a good photo of them.
We now had to make our way back up to the Centenary center where we would have some lunch and a look at the museum and craft market.
On route we had to drive around a tree the Elephant had pushed over and then we came across the big Rhino we had seen earlier laying at a pan.
This Rhino we saw on our Durban day safari looked so cute! We then got back to the centenary center later than we had expected with all the amazing sightings and enjoyed some lunch before a final look around to see what we could see before departing at 4pm.
We managed to find another bull Elephant which was super relaxed feeding next to the road.
We left the Elephant and found a big herd of Buffalo right near the road and they just stared at us it was a great sighting. We maneuvered around took a few pictures before we realized we would have to leave for Durban.
We turn around and made our way back to the gate on route spotting the same Elephant walking down the road! Wow, what a great Durban day safari!
We departed Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve with smiles on our faces on route for Durban. We had enjoyed nature at its best and all have great memories from the day to take home with us. We stopped once on the way back and they the rain came down a fitting way for our safari to end with a blessing of water for the animals.
We arrived in Durban and said our farewells before I headed home.
Our Hluhluwe overnight safari began in Durban where I met my clients. We then began the journey to the cat rehabilitation center to interact with Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild cat.
It is always an amazing experience to interact hands on with these great endangered species and very memorable!
One of the Cheetah cubs was very playful and hugged one of my clients all very exciting when on Safari in Africa.
In the above picture of the Cheetah cubs they look really chilled out but this was before they noticed the bags people had with them…
After an amazing time interacting with these creatures we made our way to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve only 20 minutes away.
We arrived at the gate and found that even though it was the middle of the day and warm there were still animals out and about.
The above picture was one of Zebra which aside of Warthogs and Impala was one of the first sightings we had on day 1. We continued and it was not long before we spotted a herd of Elephant. That herd of Elephant very quickly became 3 herds of Elephant making it a crazy start to our 3 day safari from Durban.
We then finally made it to Hilltop camp where we settled in for some lunch before I checked us in and got the clients settled in there rooms before we made our way back out onto Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to see what else we could find.
It again wasn’t long before we spotted more animals one of the best being this old Buffalo bull.
It is always a better option to do a Hluhluwe overnight safari than a Hluhluwe day safari as the late afternoon is always a good time to see animals and the morning.
Next on the cards was more Elephant and one young lad was interested in displaying to us and sniffing away.
We were actually trying hard to look for the African Wild dogs which have a den in the Hluhluwe section of the reserve but sadly we had no luck. They are the most endangered carnivore in Africa so its expected that you need a bit of luck to be at the right place at the right time on a Hluhluwe overnight safari.
We did however had the most amazing sighting of two huge female Rhinos which have been hanging out with each other for at least 4 years.
What was so funny about the whole sighting was the fact that over lunch I had been telling my clients about this exact Rhino with the abnormal horn growth and that I hadn’t seen her in ages! So what you think about you can bring about!
After having these Rhino walk around and then cross the road in front of us our spirits were high. I made a second video to show you below as well. What a great Safari from Durban.
It had been an amazing first day safari from Durban and we made our way back to Hilltop camp for some dinner and rest before the second day of safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Dinner was amazing again!
We began after a great breakfast and made our way down south into the Umfolozi section of the game reserve. This time of the year the lack of rain has hit us hard and the reserve is very dry and in particular the Umfolozi section.
We were hoping that if we got to the river sections that we would be able to find animals there.
We didn’t stop to much for the animals on the hills that we saw but we were very luck when we visited a view site and spotted 3-4 Hyena and a huge number of Vultures feeding on a dead Buffalo! This was the real highlight of the days safari.
We must have spent half and hour enjoying this sighting and chatting about what was going on. What a great start to the Hluhluwe overnight safari on day 2.
This obviously kept us in high spirits through the quiet times in the day but we did come across a great sighting of Zebra on the road not long after the Hyena sighting.
There is nothing like a real Zebra crossing it beats all the rubbish in the city!
Our next sighting was a huge herd of Impala and an old male Buffalo at the Umfolozi river before we continued past Impila camp and down into the deep South West of the reserve.
Down here I could not believe how quiet it was and I personally began to get a little frustrated.
We stopped for a toilet break and to enjoy a view over the river and then we found some Impala with Red Billed Ox Peckers on them.
I checked the 2 places Lions had been seen in the morning but sadly we had no luck for the cats on our side! It wasn’t all bad as we did spot a Leopard Tortoise on the road.
Our safari from Durban in Hluhluwe continued and we made our way slowly back up for lunch, actually it was quite quickly as we were hungry. On route we did have a great sighting of a Giraffe picking up a bone and chewing it to get some calcium and some Baboons.
We continued to the lunch stop and had some food which was very welcome as we had been driving a long time with little success!
I managed to book 2 of my clients on the evening open vehicle game drive and we then began to make our way back up to camp.
On route we had another great sighting of a herd of Elephant. The best part being that a tiny baby lay down and began to play on the ground for us all to see. I had to share this in a video as well.
We eventually made it back to camp and aside of not seeing cats we had a great experience during the day of safari. It was time to get tickets for the evening game drive safari and book dinner.
We would all meet again the following morning for breakfast.
After a great breakfast we checked out and continued with our 3 day safari from Durban in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We found Zebra very early on just standing in the road. We were able to to so close I could take a picture of the one Zebras eye!
We continued trying everywhere for these Lions without luck! It was driving me mad. Eventually I think I resigned myself to the fact we may not see them today.
We did then come across a troop of Baboons grooming one another which was nice to see as there was also babies around.
We noticed the Baboons all of a sudden looked over their left shoulder and I was hoping they may have seen a predator but no it was just a herd of Elephants which wondered into the dry river bed and crossed to the other side.
Our time was running out and we needed to make our way to the gate to exit and get to St Lucia -Isimangaliso wetland park for lunch and our 2 hour boat cruise.
On route we did spot some Rhino, Zebra, Buffalo etc.
We departed and spent an hour getting to St Lucia, South Africas first world heritage site. It was here we had lunch before a great 2 hours on a boat in the St Lucia estuary.
Our first major sighting was of Crocodiles.
As we continues up St Lucia estuary we spotted more bird life than usual as the estuary was so low.
The specials we spotted were a Pink backed Pelican, Saddle billed stork and Yellow billed stork with chick.
We found lots of Hippos which is always a guarantee and we had a fantastic sighting of one pod of Hippos which did not move at all they just lay out on the shore calling away to each other.
Overall we had had an amazing 3 days of safari from Durban only missing the cats but aside of that it was incredible. If you wish to join us on a 3 day safari tour from Durban click the link below.
Durban Safari Tours and KwaZulu-Natal Safari Tours have been areas that few have focused themselves on. It has been a dream to show off Durban and KwaZulu-Natal to the world.