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
Our Tala half day tour from Durban began in the city of Umhlanga. Once we heading off we got chatting about the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa before we arrived at Tala game reserve.
The history is the build up to a great Durban tour and it is always interesting to answer questions on my beautiful country considering how much has happened here and what we have managed to come through.
Once we arrived at Tala game reserve for our half day tour we got into 4×4 and off we went through the reserve looking for animals. Fortunately the one animal the clients really wanted to see as they hadn’t seen it the day before on another tour was the Giraffe and we spotted it in the distance.
I made our way around to the Giraffe first but before we could get there Tala threw up some get other sightings like; Ostrich and Hippos.
We got round to the Giraffe and there were 6 of them enjoying the succulent leaves of the Acacia trees. We really spent some good time with them till we could get the best photo before moving on with our Durban safari.
It was time to look for the Rhino now which is never really that hard at Tala game reserve as they have a very high density of animals and of course male Rhinos are territorial. The first pair we found we hard to photograph but we got a great shot in the end.
Our Durban safari continued through Tala game reserve and we found lots of Zebra, Impala, Blessbok and Rhino together at a watering hole. This made for a great photo.
It was also time to have a rest break and a look through the craft market which we did and my client were able to find gifts and items for their home decor.
We got back out on our Durban safari and Tala produced more lovely sighting of Impala and Zebra.
The Impala lamb suckling was a great sighting and then the Zebra really posed so nicely for us on a ridge near the dam.
It was now time to make our way back to Umhlanga to return my clients after a lovely half day tour from Durban which was well worth the trip. We all had a great time and I am sure the clients enjoyed everything the tour offered.
Durban safaris are the best was to see nature close up and can be done in a half day.
It was a warm morning in Durban for our Durban tour to Tala game reserve and the Valley of 1000 Hills for a Zulu cultural village visit.
My clients were aboard the Sun Princess and we began once they disembarked with a briefing on what was to be expected for the day.
As we made our way west of Durban city I began with the tour from Durban covering some of the interesting history of the area around the City and then the suburbs of Durban.
We took the scenic route into the Valley of 1000 hills and then arrived at Phezulu safari park for the Zulu cultural village tour where we would meet the Sangoma and enjoy some Traditional Zulu dancing.
We tried to stay clear of the ship groups as best we could so after the dancing I gathered my small group and entered into one of the Zulu huts and told my clients about this amazing group of people and how they traditionally lived.
The actual Zulu dancing was great but with the ship having brought so many clients my position had a lot of glare and was not great for photos but here is one anyway.
The views in the valley of 1000 Hills are amazing and it is this valley which the Zulus have a great history with King Shaka in chasing the Debe people into the hills!
It was now time for a spot of craft shopping before we headed to Tala game reserve. Once at Tala a 3000 hectare game reserve we spotted lots of animals.
We spotted Zebra and Kudu first up as well as Blessbok.
These Zebras posed really nicely for us all in a row and the next dazzle of Zebra also posed by resting there heads on each others backs.
It was not long before we got Wildebeest and Ostrich as well and then the one we all wanted to see the Rhino! We had a great sighting of these amazing creatures which are now so highly protected due to poaching.
Our Durban tour was really taking shape!
Once we left the Rhino we made our way to try find some Giraffe but before we could get there we spotted the Eland antelope which is the Bushmans Totem animal. You will have to take a Durban tour to be told more about this by me and my team!
It was now an unexpected animals which we saw in fact 3 of them! We spotted 3 Blue Cranes which are South Africas national bird, then a Secretary bird and a female Impala with horns which is a genetic abnormality.
We really hit the jackpot and then decided to head to the lodge for a rest and the craft shop.
With this stop planned we decided to change it as we saw a big bus of people about to do the same so we went and found the Giraffe and then visited the dam where we spotted the heads of the Hippos. It was a great Durban tour.
We stopped then at the shop before we headed back to the Sun Princess in Durban harbour. On our way back we chatted more about South Africa and how wonderful the country was as well of speaking of some of the challenges we are still facing a the rainbow nation.
It had been a great Durban tour and my clients we all very happy.
It was to be quite an interesting African overnight safari tour! Right from the outset my clients which were arriving on a cruise ship were forced into being late due to bad weather off the coast and this could have been a big problem had we had other clients on the same tour. Fortunately it was just this couple and we could be very flexible enabling what turned out to be a great African overnight safari tour.
We departed Durban a little later and decided to skip visiting the Cat rehabilitation center to give us more time in the game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi.
We had a great start and found Rhino which my clients had not seen before. Even after an East African safari it just goes to show that even Africa has so much diversity and some parts of Africa on safari you will find one animal easily and some other parts of Africa you will not.
This was great start an put a smile on our faces! We continued further south in the Umfolozi game reserve and stopped at a view point spotting an Elephant in the distance. We managed to get closer and and where we stopped we also saw another Rhino in the mud and a bachelor herd of Buffalo coming to join him!
It sometimes is crazy to think that just 2.5 hours from Durban you have the possibility to do a Durban safari tour in Africa deepest secret the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve!
Durban is surprisingly well locates to the worlds oldest game reserve and being home to the “Big 5” make a it a place to visit on your South Africa holidays!
After this amazing sighting of this bachelor herd of Buffalo coming around the corner in the dry river bed and this Rhino which was resting in a small mud wallow jumping up with fright we really knew our luck had turned for the better! Our African safari tour would get better from this point on and it was not long before we found an Elephant nice and close!
This great big bull Elephant was drinking from a hole he had made in the river bed and then proceeded to walk to the side of the Umfolozi river bed and wonder up the hill. This was very exciting and an Elephant is one of those animals which screams out “Safari”!
It was time for us to turn back and head north into the Hluhluwe game reserve to see if we could find more animals before checking into our lodge.
As we continued with our African safari tour we found Giraffe near the road which was amazing!
Wow! Our African safari tour was really hotting up and who doesn’t like to see Giraffe! We watched them feeding and moving around before we continued on with our safari in Africa.
It had been a bit surprising that we hadn’t seen Zebra but it was a cooler day and the rain was on its was so understandable why. We did however manage to find Kudu, Nyala, Impala and Water buck as well as Warthog!
With luck having turned in our favor we found some Zebra!
We were feeling pretty complete at this stage with 3 of the “Big 5” and all the rest we had seen. We made our way up to Hilltop camp in Hluhluwe where we would be spending the night as the rain began to fall and the mist set in.
We arrived and checked in and at this stage we had no chance of getting out again on our African overnight safari tour due to heavy rain. This didn’t bother my clients as they relaxed around the bar with a good bottle of Red Wine in the lovely setting that is Hilltop camp.
Hilltop camp is the place I always take my clients and in 5 -6 years of taking them there have never had a complaint over the place. Hilltop camp is a lovely 3 star facility and the rooms are lovely, set in the forest and some with views over the rolling hills of Hluhluwe game reserve.
I would never again pay to stay at a 5 star lodge as you only really spend a couple hours a day at the lodge and then to sleep.
Hilltop camp is my choice so join me, Tim Brown on your South Africa holidays! I will collect you from Durban where we begin our safari tour to Africa’s Oldest game reserve, Hluhluwe Imfolozi!
Later I met my clients for some dinner and it was lovely with a great atmosphere, the staff even came out and did some Zulu dance and song for us!
The Zulu people are from the area and song and dance is in there blood no matter what the age or size of the person.
It was now time for bed for me so I bid farewell to my clients as we would start at 5am the next day with another crack at Hluhluwe game reserve and later Umfolozi game reserve.
We woke early and began at 5am from Hilltop camp where we would see if we could find cats. We had an amazing start as we found Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino in the first 20 minutes.
This morning brought new life as in the above picture you will see a new born baby Buffalo with its umbilical cord still intact! This was exciting for us to see as we got to enjoy them crossing the road with a very protective mother. This was a great way to start a morning on an African safari tour from Durban.
Next was the Rhino and then Elephant but we needed cats so we had to keep working. We located Lion tracks and then more tracks from another direction meeting but we could not locate the Lions. It seems that they lay down in the thicket and we could do nothing about it but we tried.
We needed to get back to camp for some breakfast so we arrived at 08:30 am. Breakfast at Hilltop camp was enjoyable and then we checked out making our way to the Umfolozi game reserve in the south to see if we could get lucky with cats.
It was one of those African safari tours where you just can’t seem to get it 100% right!
We did have some amazing sightings like these Water buck posing for us and they looked like one animal with 2 heads.
The sun all of a sudden came out and we had a great sighting of Giraffe and Zebra.
We continued our African safari tour and tried to get to where Lions had been seen but time just wasn’t on our side but funnily enough as we made our way back we did see a Lion but he was sitting far in the thickets south of the Umfolozi river and it photo was so bad that I would not post it here. Alex, I will email it to you!
We had a 12:30 appointment in St Lucia – Isimangaliso Wetland park and a boat cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles! Wow, the things you can do and see on a Durban safari tour!
We arrived and began a great boat cruise and even spotted a fin of a Bull Shark! Our first close up sighting was of Crocodile and a Goliath heron almost to closer to one another.
It was minuted later and we spotted a huge pod of Hippos in the water this trend would continue for the rest of our boat safari! This pod of Hippos got a big fright from one of the other Hippos and made some splashes.
Our African safari continued and we enjoyed so much bird life even an African fish eagle catching a fish and feeding off it.
A bit further up stream we found some baby Hippos playing in the Estuary. At one point they put there heads in a row.
After an amazing time out on the St Lucia estuary we made our way into St Lucia town for some lunch it was a quick one and we then got back to the Ship in Richards bay by 5pm.
It was a wonderful African overnight safari tour and I am sure that my clients will be back in Africa for some more of the same.
If you would like to join on of these African safari tours please click on the link below:
We began our South African safari near Durban where I collected my client who were out for a Baptist conference here in Durban, South Africa!
As it was a slightly larger group than I usually take on Safaris from Durban I rented a 13 seat vehicle and trailer.
Once we got all the luggage in we headed off to Hluhluwe Imfolozi and Hilltop camp for our 3 nights there and to enjoy nature at its best.
On route I covered as much history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as possible over the microphone and in no time it seemed we had arrived at the gate into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, my second home.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve as a deep history which you can read about on the link over the words Hluhluwe….
It is well known for having saved Rhino from extincting in the 1940’s and 50’s.
On route to Hilltop camp we spotted one of these amazing Rhinos the White Rhino before having the most amazing Black Rhino sight I have had in a long time. This male Black Rhino walked down a slope and crossed the road in front of us and was super relaxed for a Black Rhino. I was amazed and we were all super happy.
What a special moment! We then arrived at Hilltop camp and checked in getting clients and luggage to the rooms which did take a little but of time as it was dark.
We then met for dinner before a good nights sleep.
Day two began at 06:30 am and we made our way into the northern section of Hluhluwe game reserve. We had luck right off the bat as we found Elephants near to the road and all down in the valley and up on the hills near the camp.
We also had some amazing luck with Rhino as we got one posing very nicely for us all during our South African safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We were trying our best for the African wild dogs but hear they had made there way over the river after feeding on an Nyala and taken their puppies with them. So we continued and up the road found a huge herd of Buffalo in fact we must has seen about 6 herds of Buffalo….
I love the above Buffalo picture even though it is not sharp it has character with the flies and the dust. We also managed to spot some Zebra on our South African safari which was great as the sunlight really hit them nicely.
The one Zebra looks like she is laughing at us… As we continues our 4 day safari tour in Hluhluwe we also found Giraffe but they were far away and I knew we would get them later. So we continued back to camp for breakfast before heading out to the Cat rehabilitation center.
The Cat rehabilitation center was amazing and my clients loved it as they got to interact with Cheetah hands on and Serval.
The next picture was of the Cheetah cub which is 3-4 months old and the clients got to play with him, he is very cute and playful. Wow what a South African safari this was turning out to be from Durban!
We then made our way back to the gate and just stopped for some food and fuel. We then got back to camp as some of the group we doing the evening open vehicle safari and other we coming with me.
Those that came with me were treated to a few things, the first was a Southern Tree Agama.
We also found some Vultures in a tree among the usual things like the Elephants, Rhino, Buffalo, Zebra and even a Wildebeest.
We then had great fortune and found the Giraffe we had been looking for near to the road so it was great for photos excepting the light was beginning to fade. Either way it was fantastic and our success continued during our Safari from Durban in South Africa.
We tried one more time for cats and dogs with no luck, but we had an amazing sighting for a rare specie the Bush Pig which you usually only see at night. It was now dusk and the video I made came out decently but not very well.
We still had one more shot of the day and it was of the sun going down and the planets Venus and Jupiter! The night sky had cleared from the previous night was was looking great with so many stars out.
We had a great day on safari from Durban.
It was now time to wait for the others to get back and at 8pm we all had a great dinner. The food at Hilltop camp is always lovely. We were all very tired and headed off to bed as we would meet the next day fairly early at 7am for breakfast.
We began the day in the hope of finding cats but sadly we battled for them through the day!
This did not bother us much as we found many other species of animals from Elephant to Mongooses.
We were wanting to see more Giraffe on this African Safari and we did.
My clients were very happy with the Giraffe and after a short while we spotted a bull Elephant which crossed the road in front of us and fed next to the road to I made a video of this.
We slowly made our way down to the Umfolozi river and before we got there we spotted a Rhino bull which decided to sit down and then have a rest by lying down.
It was an amazing sighting as I managed to shoot the sequence of events.
After the Rhino went to sleep we made our way over the Umfolozi river which was in full force after the heavy rain we had had a couple days before! It was great to see this river flowing so well during our Durban safari in South Africa.
We continued and tried to get as far south as we could but time was also running out as I was unable to travel very fast in the 13 seat vehicle.
Things were quiet and we decided to stop at Bhejane hide hide and see what animals would come to us but sadly it was only birds.
We did however see Terrapins on the bank of the watering hole.
Once of the best sighting at the watering hole was this African Hoopoe which was searching for food and maybe had a nest in this dead tree next to the watering hole.
We the made our way to the Centenary center for some lunch and then had a look around the curio shop. As we were a group of 12 it took longer than we thought and we needed to rush back to Hilltop camp to get back for the clients who were doing the evening open vehicle safari and to load up most of the luggage into the trailer, Thank you Jason for your help!
We arrived back and sorted everything out before meeting for dinner. We had to wait for the 4 clients that went on the open vehicle game drive but it was a good wait.
As we stood at the bar we noticed that Prince Harry was in the restaurant enjoying dinner we could not believe our luck to see such a character. We waited on the others and told them but did not want to bother the young prince as others were doing and we sat to enjoy our meal having had a great day.
We began our forth day with a very early start at 05:45 and left Hilltop camp by 6am for St Lucia or Isimangaliso Wetland park for our 2 hour boat cruise viewing Hippos and crocodiles.
We arrived 10 minuted early and had a great 2 hour on the boat seeing lots of Hippos, Crocodiles, Mangroves and birds.
We had unbelievable sightings of Hippos both in the water and on land during our African safari from Durban.
St Lucia estuary is the largest esturine system in Southern Africa and home to 4 of the Big 5 the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot.
We were lucky to catch these two baby Hippos playing in the estuary while we were on the boat tour of St Lucia we also had amazing Bird sightings of Pink Backed Pelicans, African Fish Eagles to Black winged stilts.
As the boat cruise drew to an end we had one more sighting and that was of a Bull Shark swimming in the St Lucia Estuary! They have been stuck here since 2007 when the estuary closed naturally to the ocean due to a lack of rainfall.
We finished up our cruise and began our way back to Durban International or King Shaka International airport stopping along the way for some food and coffee.
We arrived on time for the clients that would be catching there flights out of Durban and I took two of the clients after the safari to the Hilton Hotel in Durban. It had been an amazing tour having just missed out on the cats!
We all enjoyed it and would have many memories to take back home with us.
We began our day tour in Durban where I met me clients and we made our way up to Tala game reserve 45 minutes outside of Durban city.
On route I covered the history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal, as well as answering any questions my clients had for me.
We reached Tala game reserve and began with our Safari part of our tour from Durban and as Tala is so highly populated with animals it is really easy to find the animals if you know where to look.
We had initial great sightings of Zebra, Blessbok, Wildebeest and Ostrich.
The Zebra were really posing for us and this meant we managed to get some great photos before looking at other animals like these Blessbok.
We continued on with on quest to find Rhino and Giraffe on this Durban day tour. We had already spotted the Hippos in the dam near the main gate so we would return later to get a better look at them.
We did find some Giraffe all tucked away in the Acacia thickets which was not the best for getting my big vehicle through but it had to be done. A few scratches later we came out having seen 4 Giraffe one of them being a youngster.
We continued our tour of Tala game reserve and spotted more Ostrich and Wildebeest even Warthogs and Impala which I did not photograph.
It was time to stop for a rest room break and then continue to find the remaining animals. We managed to get the Rhinos in an open area which was great as we could see then nicely, this Male gave us the best look!
The Rhinos at Tala have been attacked by poachers and now all have bracelet tracking devices on there legs. This one has the tip of his horn removed and will have more removed soon. Another survived a vicious attack and survived after having her front horn hacked off.
This is all very sad but it is he state of affairs when it comes to traditional medicines around the world.
We continued of Durban day tour and found a territorial male Wildebeest laying in his pile of dung which is common to see as they like to roll around in it to get there scent all over the place.
It was not time to go and have a look at the Hippos in the dam. It was great as when we got there, there was one which rolled over sadly I missed the picture as it would have been cracking!
We watched the Hippos for a bit while enjoying the peace as the Knob Billed Coots and Egyptian geese made some noise. Moving on we found some Giraffe in an open area and there was about 8 of them so we had an amazing sighting. The best part of this was that they were trying to pick up bones which is common as they need calcium in there diet. They grind the bone over the molars and eat the shavings.
The above picture could be a candidate for the bums of Africa collections!
During this sighting on our Durban day tour we managed to spot this gaze from a Giraffe which was amazing!
It was now time to do one last check on the Rhinos which hadn’t moved much and we enjoyed watching them from a different view before heading out of Tala game reserve in the Valley of 1000 Hills to Phezulu for our Zulu Cultural experience.
We took the scenic route which on a clear day like was had for this tour was amazing, I think my clients were very happy with the weather.
We then arrived and decided to have lunch with a view at the Boma restaurant which over looks the Valley of 1000 hills. It is a great spot to enjoy a great meal and a view.
It was almost 2 pm so we finished up with lunch and made our way to the Zulu Cultural village for the tour there. We got settled in our seats and waited for the Zulu Dancing which was amazing as usual.
One of the special dance to me anyhow is the next on which is know to have been invented by the great King Shaka the greatest Zulu King to have ever lived. It is called the Small shield dance.
After this amazing singing and dancing we had a look in a couple of the Zulu huts, the meeting hut and the cooking hut. In each hut we learned more on the culture and beliefs of the traditional Zulus.
It was now time to get to the reptile park which has a lot of Crocodiles and different snake species.
I decided to run the tour around myself and but the end we had picked up a few stragglers who must have thought I worked there….
It was great fun and we had a great Durban day tour in the Valley of 1000 hills as well as Tala game reserve.
We began the drive back into Durban city after a great day mixing up Nature with culture on our Durban day tour!
I collected my client from Hillcrest, West of Durban city center and we began our 3 hour drive up to Isimangeliso wetland park aka St Lucia Wetland park South Africa’s first world heritage site.
We arrived in St Lucia for the early boat cruise at 09:15 and got settled in to enjoy the day and the 2 hour ride on the boat.
We had some amazing sightings of Hippos and Crocodiles so much so that the videos I took I had to put in this blog post. Before we got to the Estuary I must mention we stopped to look at a sign I always like to show my clients, see below:
Once we got going on the boat cruise on our day trip from Durban we spotted some Hippos and a couple of Crocodiles and lots of bird life. The water on the estuary was like glass it was so smooth.
These amazing creatures the Crocodile have around 45 replacements of teeth in their lifetime which can span 100 years depending on what they eat and where they are found.
The best way of aging a Crocodile is by cutting on of the ridges off the back and counting the number of rings on it like you would do with a tree.
Further up stream there was Hippos and lots of them.
We also captured this photo of a Goliath heron in flight over the estuary which was really beautiful.
Our cruise of St Lucia Estuary continued and we spotted a Goliath Heron walking on the backs of Hippos which was great. I even made a video, the only problem was I missed the best moment. Just as I stopped the video one Hippo lunged at the Goliath Heron almost grabbing it in its mouth! It was amazing to see!
We were lucky on the Durban day trip to also get a Hippos on a couple of occasions with its mouth open. This is usually a sign of aggression and to tell us not to get any closer. The Hippos here have had the boats around them for 30 years so they are used to us but that does not mean they wont express their feelings.
At we made our way back we saw the second largest vegetated sand dune in the world Maphelane South of the Estuary. We also were lucky enough to see an African Fish eagle perched on a branch.
After the amazing 2 hours on the St Lucia estuary we made our way through St Lucia town to the Estuary mouth for the board walk which goes to the Indian ocean. It is a lovely walk and from here you can see Maphelane, the Indian ocean, the national park/World heritage site and the Estuary!
After showing my client on our Durban day tour/trip the Titanium in the sand and venturing onto the beach we returned into St Lucia town for some lunch and then made our way to the Crocodile breeding center at the other end of St Lucia.
Here we saw lots of Crocodile and I run over some of the information of the area and why the Crocodiles are being bred etc. Here too there are interesting signs like this one below:
It was not the end of the time in St Lucia and we had to get the clients back early as they were meeting family for dinner. When ever I leave a tour early something always happens to make it a longer day than usual and today was no different. What was a 3 hour trip back to Durban took up over 4.5 hour because of one accident on the highway! Can you believe it. Non the less it was still worth it as we all had a great time and the tour from Durban was a huge success.
I met my clients in Hillcrest only about 5 minutes drive from my home which was great! They were from South Africa, Cape Town which for me is not common to have South Africans on a Durban safari tour but it was really great fun and the tour was amazing!
On route to the most underrated Big 5 game reserve Hluhluwe Imfolozi national park, I covered lots of the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and general things that we saw like the crops of the area etc.
We stopped to stretch the legs on the way up and refuel before continuing the last hour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for our Durban day safari tour.
We arrived at Hluhluwe Imfolozi park and began with our game drive to see what animals we could see. We actually didn’t even need to leave the parking lot for our first sighting as there was an Elephant bull drinking near the gate!
As we continued with our safari from Durban we came across a huge herd of Elephants with tiny babies on the hill near the Centenary center where we would be having lunch later that day. The Elephants seemed to be on some mission as they kept walking very quickly and were heading to the eastern fence line. I had seen three herds of Elephant do this 3 days before which always makes me think they are attending an Elephant funeral or there is a weather change!
We continued with our Durban day safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and came across a female Impala with thin horns this is a genetic abnormality and could be cause by inbreeding! This can happen is a male mates with his offspring instead of being ousted from the leadership of the Harem of female by another dominant male.
We also crossed over the Umfolozi river and spotted a Buffalo bull very far away and the photo was not good so I waited till we spotted these Rhino. They crossed the road in front of us and this was a special sighting for my clients and meant we had already seen 3 of the Big 5, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo.
After spending a few minutes with the Rhino we continued with our safari from Durban and we had a quiet patch but I knew that we would see lots of animals. It was not long and we were blessed with a sighting of Cheetah. It was a mother and her 2 cubs around a year old and they were so much fun to watch we must have spent half an hour with them. At the same place was 3 crashes or Rhino which made it even more exciting!
I might have gone over the to with pictures and Videos but it was Cheetah and there were two cubs which we active and running around in an open patch. This was such an exciting moment and we all enjoyed it. What a way to begin your first safari for my clients.
One final picture of the Cheetah playing and I promise no more Cheetah photos or Videos for today! I just couldn’t help myself! They were beautiful!
As we continued with our Durban day safari tour I honestly could not have really cared for myself if I didn’t see another animal but I knew I have to see what we could find for my clients as they were only here for a day safari tour. We kept getting lucky and we went round one of the many dirt road bends we stopped as we had some Zebras walking down the road towards us!
The Zebra were so beautiful and we enjoyed chatting about some of the interesting facts and features of this animal before moving on with our safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and finding a couple of Wildebeest walking on the road!
I figured now it was time for a rest room break so I made our way to a picnic site. We arrived at the Sontuli picnic site and we so lucky again! We saw Lions laying down in the river bed. I just could not believe our luck we had now seen 4 of the Big 5 and Cheetah in just a few hours. The best part about these Lions was the structure, it was an Adult male and female with one cub around a year old or a bit less.
It is not often you see these restful cats on a Durban day safari tour or see a big male usually its just the Lionesses and the sub adults.
We decided that all we hadn’t seen was the Giraffe and it became our new mission to try and find the Giraffe. I drove all the best areas that I could with the time we had and then had to head up to the Centenary center for lunch.
Before we could get to the Centenary we stopped at a view point which you are allowed to get out of your vehicle at and it was here we saw a huge herd of Buffalo.
I thought this was the ideal spot to take a picture for my clients with the lovely view over the Umfolozi river with the Buffalo in the back ground.
We continued on in the hope of finding some Giraffe before lunch and we returned to where the Cheetah had been. They had gone but there was some lovely Rhino in the area and they were really posing for us on our Durban day safari tour.
There was still one more thing would we have to photograph before we made it to the lunch stop and that was a Dazzle of Zebra and Impala on the road.
Finally we arrived at Centenary center and it was here that we had a lovely lunch and a look around the world famous museum for operation Rhino. The craft market was also available and then we made our way for the final 1 and a half to find these Giraffe.
We did it! It was 20 min in after lunch and I spotted a male Giraffe in the distance so we used the binoculars to see him better and then we continued further and found more Giraffes near enough to the road.
One of these female Giraffe was either chewing a bone which they do to get calcium into their diet or she had a twig stuck in here throat. It wasn’t long and she liked her lips and continued feeding.
We had a great look at this Giraffe and then on our way back right near the gate we spotted a Big male 5 meters from the road feeding on a Buffalo thorn. It was the perfect ending to a great Durban day safari tour and we all were very happy with our sightings.
This was a very exciting and interesting Durban overnight safari tour with clients which were visiting Durban for the Travel Indaba beginning after the 3 day safari.
I collected my first client in Durban itself and then collect the group of 4 clients from King Shaka International airport aptly names after the great Zulu King for 1816 -1828 who revolutionized the the way the Zulu’s fought against any other nation or tribe.
On route I covered the usual history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and any questions my clients had.
We made good time considering we had a late start and half of the luggage got lost between JHB and DBN.
As we began this Durban overnight safari later thank usual we had to rush and speed the day along to get all activities into the day. We began at Nyalazi gate on the eastern side of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, and it wasn’t long before we were reeling in the sightings of animals. It was actually and amazing start!
After a short drive seeing Zebra and Warthog we stopped for a quick lunch at the centenary center and then continued on to find more animals.
Our first major sighting was of Lion cubs in a Marula tree and we found a young male hiding in the bushes near the road it was amazing.
When Lions are you first major sighting on day 1 of a 3 day overnight safari tour you know you could be in for something special! An my goodness was this a special 3 days of sightings!
This was so exciting for us all and it was not long after that we found Elephants and lots of them as well. The only problem was they were a little tucked behind the bushes which was still fine as we made the most of it before moving on to get ourselves checked in to Hilltop camp.
We arrived at Hilltop camp and we were all smiles as we had just had a great start to our overnight safari from Durban. We checked in and enjoyed the view as well as getting the luggage we had to the rooms. 10 minutes later it was time to go to the Cat rehabilitation center and enjoy some interaction with endangered cats hands on.
On route to the gate we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo.
Again luck was on our side as we spotted Rhinos fighting and we stopped again quickly to enjoy them. This was very exciting as we had now seen 4 of the Big 5 in such a short space of time and still had the Cats to see and interact with at the rehabilitation center.
We got to the gate and had to deal with the Nguni cows and goats on the road before finally arriving 5 minutes before the cat tour began. Wow we did well with our timing! The tour at the Cat rehabilitation center began at 4pm and we enjoyed the feeding of the cats and the interaction with the adult Cheetah and Cheetah cubs as well as the Serval.
After this it was a matter of trying to relax after what was an amazing day on Safari from Durban but also trying to locate the luggage that was lost at the airport and to be delivered to the gate. Now of course the gates close at 6pm so we first needed to get ourselves back and then worry about the luggage. We made a few calls and as we arrived at the gate at 17:50 the luggage was there waiting for us! I could not believe our luck on that either. We then re entered and made our way back to Hilltop camp for a lovely dinner and a good nights sleep.
Before I could leave my room outside was a great scene of an array of animals! Nyala mother and calf suckling, Crested Guinea fowl and Vervet monkeys!
We began with breakfast at 7am and then headed out on what would be a long 8 hour safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve the most underrated game reserve in South Africa! It also just happens to be the oldest in Africa!
We began and our first sighting was of the animal we all wanted to see the Giraffe!
We enjoyed the Giraffes for a while before moving further South in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to try and cover as much of the reserve as possible in the 8 hours.
What happened next was also amazing as we spotted some Elephants in the distance and we waited as they were making their way to the road. It was to be an amazing sighting and one we would remember for a long time. With patience we were able to have these Elephant cross right in front of us and I made a video we could even hear the dung and one went to the toilet hitting the ground!
Things on our overnight safari from Durban then just got better and we spotted herds of Impala crossing the road and some Zebra before we stopped to look at some Rhino of a hill. As I picked up my binoculars I spotted a pride of Lions resting on the hills to the left of the Rhinos. Of course we didn’t care about the Rhino any more and focused on the Lions!
We continued on crossing the Umfolozi river and once on the other side we were lucky enough to spot 2 Rhinos near to the road which we watched grazing away. It was a lovely sighting as they were just a couple of young males staying with each other for companionship.
We left the Rhinos and stopped for a rest room break at Mpila camp and it was here that we began to take in what an amazing 1.5 days we had had so far! After the rest we continued our Durban 3 day safari tour and as we went further south we came across an old Giraffe kill from a week prior. It was here we spotted a couple species of Vultures and even a few Hyenas. Sadly we could not photograph the Hyenas as the bush was to thick and the moved to fast for us.
We then did a big dirt road loop which actually was a little pointless as we didn’t see very much except Impala, Rhino and other animals far away. It was only at the end of the loop back past where we saw the Hyenas that we spotted some Zebras.
As we headed back through Mpila camp and over the Umfolozi river again we spotted some Wildebeest and Rhinos! Wow our overnight Durban safari tour was really going well. We had not yet seen Wildebeest so this was another tick on the list.
We left the Wildebeest to relax and then began to head to the Centenary center for some lunch. Out the corner of my eye I spotted a Male Water buck mating with a female up on a hill which was interesting behaviour and we stopped of a picture.
The picture actually came out very clearly for the distance and time of day I took it and you really can see everything. It was also funny as the females first born was right their looking on.
We finally got to lunch and we were all super happy with how everything had gone and we tucked into a great meal before the curio shopping for Ostrich eggs and other items took place.
After a while we left the Centenary center and headed straight back to Hilltop camp to get the tickets sorted for the evening night drive and book dinner for 8pm when my clients would arrive back.
It was already after 15:30 so we had around an hour before the open vehicle safari would take place. I decided to stay behind to catch up on this blog post and other work. The vehicle was full anyway but I still regret not having gone as when my clients returned they had seen a Leopard! So that was the Big 5 completed in 2 days and we still had one day to go on our overnight safari tour from Durban. Wow is all I can say!
We had some dinner and headed off to bed before day 3 which would begin at 7 am with a luggage collection and then breakfast.
After luggage collection we had breakfast and then check out before heading out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park.
Before we left we spotted some amazing animals including Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant.
It was minutes after the sighting above that we got a herd of Elephant crossing the road in front of us and behind us which was a fitting good bye for out visit to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
It had been an incredible 3 days of Safari from Durban.
We exited all feeling a little sad but really we still had a lot more to see and do at St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland Park. We arrived for our 10 am boat cruise and had some amazing sighting of Hippos in and out the water, Crocodiles and bird. St Lucia is South Africa’f first world heritage site and is the largest lake system in Southern Africa.
Further up the estuary we came across some beautiful pods of Hippos and the best part was some were out of the water on the land which is not common for them during the day time. We really had a special overnight safari from Durban.
Next we had a great shot of a Goliath Heron it was actually the 3rd time we had seen on from the boat but this one flew and I managed to catch it in flight! It was a super cool photo so I had to post it.
On our sail back to the jetty we spotted some Hippos making their way into the water, the best part was that there was a crocodile and Goliath Heron right near by so they ended up in the video too!
We had come to the end of the boat cruise and after arranging for the photographers to bring us a Calendar or two with the clients pictures in it we settled in for lunch at John Dorys.
We all enjoyed our lunch and the general chatted about how wonderful the Safari from Durban had been and all the amazing animals we had seen in the wild.
After lunch we stopped to try and get a Zebra skin but the were very expensive so my clients settled on some smaller items the Ostrich eggs and other general carvings.
We then headed to the Board walk so I could show my clients the estuary and Indian ocean as well as Maphelane the second highest vegetated Sand dune in the world.
It was amazing and as we got off the board walk onto the beach which was very beautiful I showed everyone the Titanium in the sand which is mined further South of the World heritage site.
It was now time for the long drive back to the airport, Umhlanga and then Durban. It actually went really well and all final questions we asked and answered before the day ended with the sun having long set on the day and our amazing 3 day safari tour from Durban.
I met my clients in Durban for this special day tour from Durban to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park where we would be visiting South Africa’s 1st World heritage site decided on by UNESCO in 1999. There are 5 different Eco Systems in the area; namely the Sand forests, Mangrove Swamp lands, Savanna, Indian ocean and the Esturine system where we would be doing the 2 hour boat cruise to see the Hippos and Crocodiles.
St Lucia is well known even here in South Africa and it a major tourist magnet, with so much to offer they also boast deep sea fishing as well as Whale and Turtle watching seasonally!
One of our first sightings on our Durban day tour to St Lucia was of Hippos mating which is very rare to see let alone film. I was lucky to have my camera on hand to film this amazing sight!
This was really a special sighting and we all could not believe our luck! As we continued with our 2 hour boat cruise we ended up spotting something like 150 Hippos and maybe 8 crocodiles.
As we continued we came across a couple of Hippos that displayed for us by opening their mouths and as we all say Yawned. However this Yawning is actually a display to show us to keep our distance and not get too close. It is often confused with the Hippos being tired!
We had already had such a good time and we then looked at some of the mangrove swamps and spotted some crocodiles in the area. One of which seemed to catch something near the shoreline before resting near the rivers edge.
A trip to Durban is not complete with out taking a trip to St Lucia to see the Hippos and Crocodiles. The St Lucia estuary is the largest estrine system in Southern Africa.
We then headed into the small town of St Lucia after the boat cruise for some lunch which was really enjoyable. The whole town has a great vibe of a holiday feel. It took us some time to get through the amazing food we got and then it was time to do the board walk in St Lucia.
We headed down to the estuary mouth where we stopped the vehicle and began the estuary board walk. It is well worth the visit if you are in the area and a trip to South African is not complete if you do not visit this amazing beach. A beach where Hippos and Crocodiles roam, Bull Sharks swim and the bird life is amazing!
I always find it an amazing picture when you have the St Lucia estuary with the crocodiles resting basically on the beach. The beach and Indian ocean in the back ground and Maphelane the second largest vegetated sand dune in the world. It is also amazing as the sand if full of titanium which is mined but only away from the World Heritage site.
The signs that you find on the beach are also incredible as they warn you of Hippos and crocodiles. I do not know of any other beaches in the world which have a sign like this. In the above picture you can see the massive Maphelane vegetated sand dune in the back ground.
It is without say that the Isimangeliso wetland park – St Lucia is one of the wonders of the world and is a place you have to visit when you come to South Africa.
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.