Safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Archives - Tim Brown Tours
  • 10th April 2015

    3 day safari from Durban – Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 7-9th April 2015

     

    Our 3 day safari from Durban began with two different pick ups on in Kloof, West of Durban city and the other in Warner beach, South of Durban.

     

    After I had all my clients aboard we began the 3 hour journey (Safari) to the Cat rehabilitation centre where we would learn more about endangered African cats hands on!

     

    I covered the usual history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and how each population group came to be in the area during the 3 hours we had on the road.

     

    We arrived 15 minutes early for the Cat tour and in this time rested before a very exciting time seeing these amazing endangered African cats.

     

    We first began with the African Wild cat then the Caracal before visiting the Cheetah for some hands on experience and then the Servals.

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Caracal

    3 day safari from Durban; Caracal

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We also got to interact with Rain one of the new Cheetah cubs. We actually got to have here run around us playing with a soccer ball before she got interested in the male Cheetahs in the next enclosure.

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Cheetah cub

    3 day safari from Durban; Cheetah cub

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then made our way to the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and it was here we really began our safari from Durban.

     

    We really had a good start with some Zebra and Warthog near the gate, as we continued we spotted some Buffalo in the distance and then a few Giraffe one of which with patients we were able to get to cross the road in front of us.

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Giraffe crossing road

    3 day safari from Durban; Giraffe crossing road

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was now time to make our way to Hilltop camp and it was time for a lovely lunch before I got word of Lions down south so I made the crazy call of rushing off down there to see if we could get lucky on our Durban safari and see them.

     

    We rushed and spotted a lovely male Rhino which I had to stop for as he was about to mark his territory and this was amazing as I filmed it!

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Rhino

    3 day safari from Durban; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video of Rhino marking his territory

     

     

     

    We continued on and then as we got to where the Lions were we heard they had just crossed the road and were heading up the hill on the other side. We rushed to get some look at them but all we really could see was bums and they were far away!

     

    I did make a video just to show you that we saw them and took a picture at full zoom which was terrible but a Lion is a Lion and that’s that!

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Lions

    3 day safari from Durban; Lions

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video of Lions walking up hill

     

     

     

    We were I think actually depressed at this point but we some how managed to find a huge herd of Elephant on our Durban safari and I saw they were moving fast to get to water so we waited for almost an hour in total for then to come out of the bushes into the open for us.

     

    Finally they did and the sighting was amazing!

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Elephants

    3 day safari from Durban; Elephants

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video of Elephants crossing road in front of us.

     

     

     

    They even in the video crossed the road in front of us there was about 150 Elephants in total which was really special to see so many!

     

    We also had another great experience with these Elephants and that was of them drinking which we had hoped we would see. It was really amazing as the one baby was also drinking from its mother at the same time as she was drinking water.

     

    Video of Elephants drinking water and baby suckling.

     

     

     

    After an amazing experience we began the safari back to camp and we saw about 8 Rhinos on the way before we got back and I checked the clients into there rooms safely. Here they rested for a short while and then we met for dinner.

     

    The other half of the group I was driving on this 3 day safari a colleague of mine was taking and we all met at dinner so it was very exciting for us all.

     

    Dinner was amazing with the great selection at Hilltop camp and then I had to go to bed as after the Zulu dancing the staff did for us my eyes could stay open no longer.

     

    Day 2 would be a new adventure in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

     

     

    Day 2: 3 day Safari from Durban to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game

     

     

    We began day 2 of our 3 day safari from Durban with breakfast and then headed down south to try our best at finding these Lions.

     

    As we got down South we spotted a lovely dazzle of Zebra which were right next to the road and posing for us so this was a real African safari moment!

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Zebra

    3 day safari from Durban; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video of Zebra crossing the road on our Durban 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

     

     

    We moved on from them and found more Rhino to add to our list as well as lots of Impala the McDonalds of the bush!

     

    This was a dominant male which was spraying urine to mark his territory.

     

     3 day safari from Durban; Rhino male

    3 day safari from Durban; Rhino male

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we crossed over the Umfolozi river I was hoping to see some big animals but instead we saw some Storks and a Nile Crocodile.

    He was just resting on the sand and we saw him again later that day when we drove back past him during our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Nile Crocodile

    3 day safari from Durban; Nile Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we passed through Mpila camp we stopped for a break and after this we managed to find some Giraffe near the road. We spent some time watching them as they were feeding and moving around. We then left them and continued our Durban safari.

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Giraffe

    3 day safari from Durban; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then spotted a Leopard Tortoise crossing the road. We seemed to have great luck with animals crossing the road on this Safari from Durban. This little fella also had his tongue out of his mouth at us!

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Leopard Tortoise

    3 day safari from Durban; Leopard Tortoise

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We got into the area where Lion had been seen but sadly they had moved off and we were left looking at Wildebeest, Impala, Kudu and Buffalo. We actually had a great sighting of Buffalo a huge herd near the road.

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Cape Buffalo

    3 day safari from Durban; Cape Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We stopped for lunch at the Centenary center where we also looked at some curios and then we spotted an animal I am very familiar with! It is one of those South African children with no children present! It was a new and interesting sighting as this Homo Sapien climbed up upon the back of the brace Black Rhino Statue at the Centenary centre and pretended to ride the Rhino like a bicycle!

     

    I was very interested in this strange but new sighting for us. Lol

     

     3 day safari from Durban; Homo Sapien riding a Rhino

    3 day safari from Durban; Homo Sapien riding a Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    All jokes aside we them began to make our way back to Hilltop camp to have a little rest before the evening game drive safari. Before we could get there though we found a few bull Elephants and a herd of Elephant near the road.

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Elephants

    3 day safari from Durban; Elephants

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then arrived back at Hilltop camp and had about 1.5 hours before we would meet again for the evening open vehicle game drive. I was really hoping my clients would get to see these pesky Lions which had caused me so much stress during the 2 days to date.

     

    A couple of my clients went through for an early dinner as did I, We then went to bed and the others came through later for some food.

     

     

    Day 3: 3 day Safari from Durban to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game

     

     

    We began our morning game drive safari at 6am in the hope that we would find these Lions again and a little bit closer. I was really happy to hear that my clients has seen the lions on the evening night drive.

    This sort of relieved some of the pressure off my shoulders but only 4 of my 6 clients had take the game drive and seen the lions, this meant I had to find them.

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Sunrise in Hluhluwe

    3 day safari from Durban; Sunrise in Hluhluwe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After this amazing sun rise we continued and found a mother Rhino and calf with a Big male who was interested in her. She showed here displeasure and he shifted off but not before we got a photo of him crossing the road in front of us.

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Rhino crossing road

    3 day safari from Durban; Rhino crossing road

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we cruised around we stopped at one of the view points over the Hluhluwe river and I spotted something moving in the distance at another view point. I looked with my binoculars and it was lions. I literally told everyone to hold on as they were moving away from the river and we rushed around to where they were and luck for us we got to see them crossing and heading up a path. If we were 5 minutes later we would have seen nothing! I was really happy!

     

     3 day safari from Durban; Lions in Hluhluwe

    3 day safari from Durban; Lions in Hluhluwe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video of Lions seen on our 3 day Durban safari tour.

     

     

     

    We then continued our 3 day Durban safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and tried to see what else we could find. We were luck as not much further along we spotted a Rhino drinking water and later a Buffalo bull full of Red billed Ox peckers on his back crossing the road in front of us.

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Buffalo crosses road and Rhino Drinks

    3 day safari from Durban; Buffalo crosses road and Rhino Drinks

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Moving along we spotted Giraffe in the distance more Rhino, Buffalo and Impala. We had really been spoiled on this 3 day Durban safari tour that we were complaining we hadn’t seen a really good quality Elephant sighting since day one.

     

    It wasn’t long and we spotted a Giraffe with a Little baby which was new for us and the a big Buffalo bull approached them it was interested to watch as the mother Giraffe just stared a him and he walked around them with not a bother in the world.

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Buffalo approaches a Giraffe mother and calf

    3 day safari from Durban; Buffalo approaches a Giraffe mother and calf

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was not time to head back to the lodge for some breakfast and then check out before a final dash down to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Weland Park to view Hippos and crocodiles from a boat. It was a lovely 2 hour boat cruise and at St Lucia we saw some really interesting things on this final stretch of our Durban safari tour.

     

    First we spotted a Big Crocodile and caught an African Fish eagle in flight which was amazing!

     

    3 day safari from Durban; St Lucia; Fish eagle in flight and a Crocodile

    3 day safari from Durban; St Lucia; Fish eagle in flight and a Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then had a couple of really interesting sighting. The first was of two Bull Buffaloes from the Eastern shores of Isimangeliso Wetland park which were walking in the estuary and the came across a crocodile which they approached and it just swam off before getting trampled on. I made a video of it below:

     

    Video of Buffaloes Approaching a crocodile in St Lucia Estuary at Isimangeliso Wetalnd Park.

     

     

     

    As we continued up stream we found lots of pods of Hippos and one was very interesting as his upper canines were growing out the side of the mouth instead of in the mouth! This was interesting and shows that even with some disability you can survive and be a big male.

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Hippos at St Lucia

    3 day safari from Durban; Hippos at St Lucia

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After a great cruise on lake St Lucia we made our way into the town not before getting a group photo to remember the 3 days we had spent on safari together.

     

    3 day safari from Durban; Picture of the group

    3 day safari from Durban; Picture of the group

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was now time for some lunch and we enjoyed some seafood, steak and a few other bits and pieces. It was lovely and a great way to end the 3 days of our Durban safari tour.

    It was now just a 2.5 hour drive back to Durban (Umhlanga) where I was dropping off my clients for a rest before a bit wedding. If you wish to be a part of one of these Durban safari tours contact Tim Brown – info@timbrowntours.com 

     

  • 30th March 2015

    Durban safaris and Tours – Safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 26-28 March 2015

     

    We began our 3 day safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve in Umhlanga and then met my other clients in the Canelands area outside of Durban. It was a humid day and only got hotter as we headed onward to the cat rehab center outside Hluhluwe. Durban safaris and tours are the best was to see KwaZulu Natal this amazing province that we live in and taking a tour with Tim Brown Tours is the best choice you can make if you have limited time.

    As usual I covered the History of KwaZulu Natal and Durban on route up to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and before you knew it we were already at the Cat rehabilitation center in Hluhluwe.

    We began our tour of the cat rehabilitation center and started with the African wild cats which look most similar to the domestic cats. Moving on we entered the Caracal enclosure where we got a very active cat to watch but not touch.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Caracal licks its nose

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Caracal licks its nose

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was then time for some interaction and we headed into the Cheetah camp to interact with two hand reared brothers. It was here that my clients got to sit with the Cheetah and have their picture taken.

     

    I got one in of two of my four clients and I hope they don’t mind me using their picture.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Clients with Cheetah

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Clients with Cheetah

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video of Cheetah walking towards me on our Durban safari tour.

     

     

    After this amazing experience we entered into and enclosure with a 6 month of Cheetah which will be used for breeding in the future with her sister which happens to be at the vet at the moment.

    We all interacted with her before moving onto the Serval which are cats that are easily domesticated which means these hand reared cats and be more playful than some of the other bigger cats we saw.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Serval yawns

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Serval yawns

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Wow! What an amazing experience! How can you visit Durban and not come on a Durban safari or Durban tour when their are so many amazing things to see and do on a cultural, historical and natural level.

     

    We had completed the tour of the cat rehab center and made our way to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for our Big 5 safari tour. It is always special to visit the oldest game reserve in Africa which is also home to the Big 5 animals, Lions, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. These are the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot, not that hunting takes place here anymore as it is a national park and used for eco-tourism.

    Upon entering we spotted some Buffalo, Zebra and Impala within a few minutes. We then had a great sighting of 2 Rhino which crossed the road in front of us!

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Rhino

     

     

    As we continued our Durban safari we got a bachelor herd of Buffalo and they we close to the road but they were mud wallowing. They were not to keen to have us around and ran off down the road and onto the other side parallel to us. We drove next to then and realised they we running at almost 40 km per hour!

    At this point I noticed they wanted to cross back over to a watering hole to drink so I stopped they came across into the watering hole to drink.

     

     Video of Buffalo drinking on our Durban safari tour.

     

     

    After watching this amazing show on our Durban safari tour we also managed to get a great photo of one of these Buffaloes licking his nose clean after the drink he had. This really was a special moment.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Buffalo licks his nose

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Buffalo licks his nose

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We now were all getting a little hungry so we headed off to Hilltop camp for some lunch and we also checked into our rooms so we could have 45 minuted of rest to recover from all the excitement.

    Our Safari from Durban really had started well.

    At 15:30 we headed back out and it was still hot and humid so we had the air-conditioner on. We stopped at a few view points and spotted some Baboon on the road at one point.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; foot and mouth Baboon!

    Durban Safaris and Tours; foot and mouth Baboon!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This Baboon seemed to have so issue with his foot and mouth in sure it wasn’t the disease though! It was a great picture as the light caught his eyes and the hand to mouth and foot to head just made it such a winner!

     

    We continued and found Nyala and Rhino in the distance before spotting some Giraffe near to the road.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Giraffe

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After checking for Elephants everywhere I felt a little deflated having not seen any on day one but I also knew we had 2 more days. So after a long day in lovely Africa we headed back to Hilltop camp for the night and so great Buffet dinner. One of the meats was Eland the largest Southern African antelope which is not hunted on Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve I will have you know!

     

    We wanted to do some Star gazing but the clouds came over so we could not. We would have a not so early start the next morning at 7am when we met for breakfast and then headed down south in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

    Day 2: Durban safaris and Tours – Safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

     

    Day 2 was a very important day for us to try and knock some of the big things on the head. It was a little stressful as I was sure we would find Elephant but was not so positive on the Lion front. They always say that hard work pays off and we worked very hard on day 2 to find the Big 5 and even the little Dung beetle.

    After a quiet 30 minutes I was frustrated but then I spotted these Elephants! What a relief!

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Elephant

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had 3 or 4 Bull Elephants together and watched then in a dry river bed before they moved out into the open for a good picture! Wow it was great! It is such a relief, I don’t think anyone really realizes how stressful my job can be. It a constant effort to find these animals for my clients and sometimes no matter how hard I try it doesn’t come off. Most of the time it does though!

     

    Next was a Leopard Tortoise which was on the main road so we waited for it to move off the road so it didn’t get squashed and enjoyed it walking around, Wow what a great sighting on our Safari from Durban in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Leopard Tortoise

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Leopard Tortoise

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was now time for the Big 5 and not the little 5 so we continued down south and crossed the Black Umfolozi river it was here I made the best all of the day. I said, “lets check back on that little road” I did and bang we got a pack of Wild dogs for 2 minutes as a mud wallow all to ourselves!

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; African wild dogs

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; African wild dogs

     

     

    This was really the cherry on the top but more amazing sightings would follow, we just had to keep working hard and we would find more amazing animals.

    Just in case you didn’t know this is the most endangered carnivore in Africa and their are only 60 odd in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, we saw about 13 of them! It was amazing! What a safari from Durban.

     

    Next was a male Wildebeest which we spotted in an open area we 4 Rhino one of which made his way to the mud Wallow and lay down for a while.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Wildebeest

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Wildebeest

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After all the worry of the morning the day was really turning out very well. Our Safari from Durban was about to take another great spin as we finally found Lions, 15 meters off the road laying in the thickets.

    This was really amazing and such a relief, we ended up watching these Lions for 20 odd minutes and one of the Lionesses got up and wondered around which was great to see.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Lions

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Lions

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video of Lioness walking:

     

     

     

    The above video was very interesting as you will see in the video the Lioness was branded with the number 13. For some people this is a lucky number and other it is not, for us it seemed to be lucky.

     

    As we moved on we found some Zebra right next to the road and they were resting their heads on each others backs which was amazing for my client to see. There is an explanation for this but you will have to take as Durban safari tour with Tim Brown Tours to find out!

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Zebra pose

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Zebra pose

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Right across the road from the Zebra was a Rhino in a mud wallow and this was a crazy sighting as he was only 2 meters from the road which made it hard to drive up and not disturb him. We managed it though by turning of the engine and rolling up top him.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Rhino in the mud

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Rhino in the mud

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This was a very special sighting and you really had to be there to feel what it was like. I made a short video which I hope can help you feel what the experience was like for us and mostly my clients on this Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour.

     

    Video of Rhino in Mud wallow on our Durban safari.

     

     

    We really had now be incredibly lucky and seen so much that we could only smile and laugh at how nervous I had been in trying to find good sightings for my clients.

    We didn’t have to go much further before we spotted a Giraffe male feeding off the trees.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Giraffe feeding

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Giraffe feeding

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We were all getting hungry again after all the concentration and made our way back up to the Centenary center home of operation Rhino which brought back the White Rhinos in South Africa from extinction and also restocked Kruger national park with the population they have today.

     

    Lunch was great and a look around the museum and curio shop was on the cards before we began the hour long drive back to Hilltop camp.

    On route we spotted another Elephant right next to the road feeding.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Elephant feeding

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Elephant feeding

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our day could not have been any better and as we arrived back at Hilltop camp we only had 45 minutes before the open vehicle game drive which my clients chose to do for the experience.

    We met again at 8pm upon there return to see if they stars would be visible so I could do some star gazing before dinner. Sadly it was very cloudy and we had no chance. Even after another half hour no luck for us!

     

    We went off to bed still very satisfied with our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour and looking forward to the last day which would contain 3 hours of Safari and a 2 hour boat cruise on Lake St Lucia at Isimangeliso wetland park.

     

     

    Day 3: Durban safaris and Tours – Safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

     

    We began which packing the luggage into the car and a 7am start then breakfast. It was a great buffet again and then we got work the another pack of Wild Dogs were on a Nyala male kill not far from the camp. We rushed off and found what was left of the Nyala which was 1 leg and some horns! That was exciting enough but the smell of the Dogs was still in the area and we drove through a thicket which lead us to the dogs in an open area. They were up to there normal behavior after  a kill of defecating and resting in the grass. A couple of the dogs including the Alfa male and a sub Adult male showed off a bit to us which was great to watch.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; African wild dog

    Durban Safaris and Tours; African wild dog

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video of Wild Dog scratching.

     

     

     

    After this we found an African Harrier Hawk in a tree near to the road. My clients seemed to be interested in birds so this was great for us to see and watch as he flew from branch to branch. As Safaris from Durban go this was really one of the better one!

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; African harrier hawk

    Durban Safaris and Tours; African harrier hawk

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We didn’t have to go much further and at a bridge crossing we spotted a Crocodile resting in the water. These are amazing creatures to see also like the Rhino so prehistoric to look at yet their simple body is so effective.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Crocodile

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued and did a loop which was not really that lucrative but after what we had already seen it didn’t seem to matter as we had some general chatter. We did spot some Rhino and Buffalo but all pretty far off except for one.

    I again got word the Lions were in another area further south in the reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi so we made our way down their before exiting the reserve and came across some very sleepy lions. At this point the rain also came down but the Lions just lay in the open not to worried.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Lions sleeping

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Lions sleeping

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We now had just the cherry on the top and this way great as it was one of my clients birthdays and to now seen Lions and African Wild dogs twice in 3 days was amazing for us all. Durban safaris never seem to let you down even when things are quiet their is always something that shows up for us.

    It was not time to head to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park and it was here that we would do a 2 hour boat cruise on lake St Lucia to view Hippos and crocodiles. This area of St Lucia estuary is the largest estuary or lake system in Southern Africa.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Hippo at St Lucia

    Durban Safaris and Tours; Hippo at St Lucia

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We managed to capture these two Hippo having a little argument in the Estuary. It was great to see their mouths open and having a full on conversation over something which I couldn’t hear.

      

    We also spotted lots of King Fishers and even this amazing African Fish eagle.

     

    Durban Safaris and Tours; African Fish eagle

    Durban Safaris and Tours; African Fish eagle

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    To catch these birds in flight is a real challenge but I got it! I was pretty happy with the picture I must say.

    We headed into St Lucia town for some lunch and enjoyed the meal before we headed all the way back to Durban to return the client to their respective hotels.

    I know we all had a good time and the sightings were so special so I have to thank nature for showing up for us and making our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour that much more special.

     

  • 27th January 2015

    Durban Safaris with Tim Brown Tours in KwaZulu Natal 24-26th January 2015

    I met my clients at the Hilton hotel in Durban, KwaZulu Natal for their 3 day Durban Safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve situated in northern KwaZulu Natal.

     

    Durban safaris are always exciting and you just never know what you are going to see no matter how many time you do this. I covered some of the basic history of the area and answered the questions my New Zealand clients had to ask on route to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

    Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is the oldest game reserve in Africa and home to the Big 5, Our Durban safaris in KwaZulu Natal are focussed on this particular game reserve as it is amazingly scenic and the sightings are great.

     

    We began our Durban safari at a Cat rehabilitation centre where my clients got to interact with Cheetah cubs as well as Serval, Caracal, African wild cat and adult Cheetah. We were the only guests there so we had the place to ourselves!

     

    The Cheetahs were the big one and they looked so cute resting in the shade that I had to put up this picture of then.

     

    Durban safari tour; Cheetah

    Durban safari tour; Cheetah

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We departed the Cat rehabilitation centre after an amazing start to our Durban safari tour and were now ready for the big on the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

    It was 25 minutes and we were there and through the gates.

     

    I had told my clients at 36 degrees and being midday we wouldn’t see too much. We did however see Impala and Buffalo first up as well are Rhino on a distant hill resting in the shade.

     

    Durban safari tour, Vervet monkey

    Durban safari tour, Vervet monkey

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We arrived at Hilltop camp at 13:00 for some lunch and the place was full of people as a group came in for lunch only. I was really glad to hear it was lunch only!

     

    Just after 2 pm we were done with lunch and I check us in and showed my clients to their room before some rest. We decided to head back our on our Durban safari tour at 4pm – 7pm so we could make the most of the afternoon.

     

    It was a good decision as we saw some amazing animals in those 3 hours before dinner. Our Durban safaris try to give our clients as much of a holistic experience of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve so on the second day we usually head into the Umfolozi section in the South.

     

     

    One of our first sightings was of a big male Waterbuck which I chose no to show this picture but he was majestic and beautiful.

    As we continued our Safari in KwaZulu Natal – Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we cam across a Water Monitor lizard which was digging through Rhinos Dung to find grubs. This is common behaviour but uncommon to see! So we were lucky.

     

    Durban safari tour, Water monitor Lizard

    Durban safari tour, Water monitor Lizard

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our next sighting on our KwaZulu Natal Safari was a herd of Buffalo which crossed the road in front of us. One of the old males at the back had been in the mud and it had dried on his body making him look white.

     

    Durban safari tour, Buffalo

    Durban safari tour, Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We enjoyed a view sight in the Hluhluwe Section of the reserve on our Durban safari and we then found a lovely female Rhino and her calf. The light was perfect for a picture but the distance not!

     

    Durban safari tour, White Rhino and calf

    Durban safari tour, White Rhino and calf

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As the day drew on we made our way to the main road and found a crash of 3 female Rhinos walking down the road. KwaZulu Natal Safari tours can be really exciting when you see such amazing things. The light was not great for a good photo but the experience on this Safari from Durban was incredible.

     

    We made our way to the rest room and before we got there a lovely herd of Buffalo greeted us. The light was now perfect and the picture can out really good during this part of our Durban safari tour.

     

     Durban safari tour, Buffalo cow

    Durban safari tour, Buffalo cow

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We stopped at the gate for a break and watched some warthogs playing around, we then decided to continue slowly back to the lodge enjoyed the setting sun on our KwaZulu Natal safari.

     

    It was minutes and for some amazing reason my eyes spotted something light rolling around in the distance near a burned tree stump. It was Lions! I could not believe our luck, what made this even better was they had a dead wart hog with them and were playing with it. During this time an Nyala antilope ran past the Lions and they all got up one of them chasing the Nyala but missing it.

     

    The light was fading so photos were not so good but video was on so I took a bit of both.

     

    Durban safari tour, Lions of Hluhluwe

    Durban safari tour, Lions of Hluhluwe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video of Lions Playing:

     

     

    During the sighting the Sun was setting and I thought a picture of it would be lovely. A sunset with a story behind it!

     

    Durban safari tour, African Sunset

    Durban safari tour, African Sunset

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We were now running late and I had to wrench myself and my clients away from these Lions which weren’t easy but a fine would not be a good thing. We moved off and raced back to the lodge full of adrenaline and hungry ourselves for dinner. Good job it wasn’t Warthog!

     

    We arrived back to Hilltop camp with smile on our faces and our Durban safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve in KwaZulu Natal had started with a bang! We got 4 out of the Big 5 as we did see and Elephant in the distance as well on this game drive.

     

    The staff had a sing and dance and then we headed to bed after a great day.

     

     

    Day 2: Durban Safaris with Tim Brown Tours in KwaZulu Natal

     

    We met at 7am for breakfast and then travelled down into the Umfolozi section of the game reserve to see if we could find better Elephant and some Giraffe.

     

    I again could not have predicted the morning we would have in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on Safari.

     

    It all began rather quietly and we then found a big Bull Elephant which crossed the road in front of us, he kept walking so we left him and stopped at the Nyalazi gate. We had a surprise waiting for us down there; Durban Safaris usually are full of surprises.

     

    At the gate were two Bull Elephants drinking from one of the drains and we watched from the safety of the main building. They then moved into the parking lot to feed on the Marula trees.

     

    Durban safaris; Elephant Bulls

    Durban safaris; Elephant Bulls

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Some tourist decided they wanted a selfie with the elephant which was really a stupid idea but I have my camera ready just in case I got some good footage to share with you!

     

    It was not to be and the Elephants kept feeding.

     

    Durban safaris; Bull Elephant reaches for some leaves

    Durban safaris; Bull Elephant reaches for some leaves

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Moments later we had a great sighting of Black Rhino a mother and her calf this is rare but in KwaZulu Natal you have better chances to see them in protected areas.

     

    Our Durban safaris just seem to be getting better and better!

     

    Durban safaris; Black Rhino

    Durban safaris; Black Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued on and found a Journey of Giraffe 2 of which were under a tree near the road with a baby near by. The others were down in the valley feeding of leaves. Durban safaris are amazing!

     

     Durban Safaris; Giraffe under the shade of a Marula tree

    Durban Safaris; Giraffe under the shade of a Marula tree

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Moving on from this amazing creature we spotted some Baboons and Zebra together and we spent some time with them as the babies we were trying to film kept moving in the thickets. I eventually gave up and took a picture of the big male Baboon as he was not too bothered!

     

    Durban safaris; Plains Zebra

    Durban safaris; Plains Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris, Baboon

    Durban safaris, Baboon

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We returned back to Hilltop camp in Hluhluwe after a very successful Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and settled in for a little rest before we would head back out at 4pm. We did spot a huge herd of Elephant in the distance on route.

     

    The sun was so hot that at Midday it was 36 degrees.

     

    At 4pm we headed out again of the second half of the day till 7pm when we would return for dinner and a rest.

     

    Just when you think you have seen it all a Safari from Durban will surprise you and you will be blown away!

     

    We headed down to find the large herd of Elephant and we spotted them with out much trouble and they had tiny babies with this which made the sighting that much more special! Boy can KwaZulu Natal safaris from Durban be interesting!

     

    We saw herd after herd of Elephant until we had Elephants coming out of our ears!

     

    Durban safaris, Elephant babies

    Durban safaris, Elephant babies

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was quite a mission getting passed all these Elephants and once we did we had some hard road to traverse before getting to a lovely river crossing in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve where a Lioness with 2 cubs of about 9 months old lay resting on the bank! It was amazing to see them and after finding Lions on both days we felt really lucky.

     

    Durban safaris, Lion cubs

    Durban safaris, Lion cubs

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued around the loop and spend lots of time waiting on Elephant that were creating a road block. We got back to the Lions to see if they moved and the cubs had gone and there was only the Lioness.

     

    We left her after a short while and continued our Durban safari tour; we came round another corner and found Rhinos in the road mating! I could not believe our luck!

     

    What an amazing Durban safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

    Durban safaris; Mating Rhinos

    Durban safaris; Mating Rhinos

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video of Rhinos mating in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

     

     

    We got stuck behind these Rhinos for half and hour and our plan to get back early was not a distant thought. We waited and waited and waited! I almost decided to go all the way back the other way but then finally the moved and we could get by safely.

     

    We made our way back to the lodge shocked with all that we had seen and settled in for some great dinner before a good nights sleep.

     

    Day 3: Durban Safaris with Tim Brown Tours in KwaZulu Natal.

     

    We began our day with some breakfast before checking out and heading into the Hluhluwe section of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. It began as a cool 24 degrees and I was hoping it would stay that way but I was wrong. By 10 am it was 34 degrees!

     

    We had really seen more that usual and just tried to fill the gaps with better sightings of animals my clients like most; one being the Baboon; which we got mating and fighting all at the same time. Wow this was an amazing sighting to see on our KwaZulu Natal safari from Durban.

     

    Durban safaris; Baboon playing and mating

    Durban safaris; Baboon playing and mating

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We moved on looking at herds of Buffalo, Zebra and Rhinos before finding a couple of old Buffalo bulls that had just had a mud wallow! They were covered in it.

     

    Durban safaris; Buffalo covered in Mud

    Durban safaris; Buffalo covered in Mud

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The time moved on quickly and we left Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve after what had been an amazing 3 days of a Durban safari and we honestly could not have had better sightings. We got Lions on 2 out of the 3 days and the quality of our sightings had been really good. This is a real tribute to conservation in KwaZulu Natal and Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

    We spent the next hour driving to St Lucia or Isimangeliso Wetland Park as it is now known and when we arrived we were very lucky to have only 4 other clients on the boat!

     

    We had great sighting of Hippos, Fish eagles and Goliath herons etc.

     

    Durban safaris; Hippo at St Lucia

    Durban safaris; Hippo at St Lucia

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We managed to find this breeding pair of Fish eagles sitting next to one another in a White Mangrove tree.

     

    Durban safaris; African Fish eagles at St Lucia

    Durban safaris; African Fish eagles at St Lucia

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After a fulfilling boat cruise for 2 hours on the lake St Lucia with lots of Hippo sighting we made our way into the small town of St Lucia for lunch.

    It was great and I past on all my photos and videos from this very special tour to my clients. John will at some point be making a video with all the footage he got and maybe some of mine with feature as well.

     

    It had been an amazing Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and St Lucia, oh and the cat rehabilitation centre. We all really enjoyed what nature provided for us to enjoy.