Durban 5 Day Big 5 overnight Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve, Emdoneni Cat Reb centre and St Lucia Wetlands ( Isimangeliso Wetland Park) – 24 March – 28 March 2014.

Day 1: Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve

On this Durban Big 5 Overnight Safari Tour we began in Durban city as usual but there would be nothing usual about this Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve!

On Route to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve I covered most of the major history of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa before covering Hluhluwe Umfolozi History and Early Zulu History.

We arrived at Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve at about 12:00 at the Memorial gate where we entered this majestic, scenic game reserve for our Durban Big 5 Safari Tour. Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve is 960 square kilometres in size, home to the Big 5 and the beginning of our Durban Big 5 Safari Tour.

Our Safari sightings began immediately as we stumbled across a pair of White Rhinos resting in the mud wallow before finding a Journey of Giraffe on the main road! This was making our 5 Day Durban Safari Tour experience very interesting…

One of our first sightings on our Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi was these Giraffe on the road.

A Journey of Giraffe on the road on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

A Journey of Giraffe on the road on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

A Journey of Giraffe on the road on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

We made our way to Hilltop camp where we would be spending 4 nights and had some lunch before checking into the camp and heading back out for another Safari Tour game drive in Hluhluwe game reserve.

We had a great sighting of some dung beetles rolling there balls on the road as well as a Flapped Necked Chameleon. I was happy about this as they are hard to spot on while driving in the day time.

Flapped neck Camelion on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Flapped neck Camelion on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Flapped neck Camelion on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Later this fine afternoon we found a big breeding herd of Buffalo and a few decided to mud wallow in front of us next to the road. This was a great experience for the clients on this Big 5 Safari Tour from Durban. Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve was really keeping us occupied! This was now the Second of the Big 5 for this Safari Tour.

Cheeky Buffalo Cow in a mud wallow on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve
Cheeky Buffalo Cow in a mud wallow on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Cheeky Buffalo Cow in a mud wallow on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

We continued on and came across a White Rhino and her calf grazing near to a big Male Rhino. She really posed for us and we added her to our collection of the Big 5 of this Safari Tour to Hluhluwe.

Female White Rhino poses on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve
Female White Rhino poses on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Female White Rhino poses on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Time was ticking and we got ourselves stuck behind a stubborn Elephant Bull who happened to be in Musth which made him extra dangerous and frustrated with the noise of the engine. On Day 1 of 5 days to have already found 3 of the Big 5 on a Hluhluwe umfolozi safari tour was brilliant!

Durban Safari Tours are really pumping at the moment and some brilliant sightings of the Big 5.

A Bull Elephant in Musth Trys his luck with us on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve
A Bull Elephant in Musth Trys his luck with us on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

A Bull Elephant in Musth Trys his luck with us on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

We had to rush back to Hilltop camp before our Safari time was up. Dinner was a great event and the food at Hilltop camp was very enjoyable.

We were all very tired after a busy Day of Safari Touring, it was time for bed.

Day 2: Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve

We left Hilltop camp at 6am when the gates opened and headed around the loop of Seme/Maqanda. On our Morning Safari Tour in the Hluhluwe section we came across a lot of plains game animal. We actually had 4 different species at one watering hole, the Rhino, Wildebeest, Zebra and Impala.

Always good to see one of the Big 5 and Zebra is also a bonus.

 A Dazzle of Zebra and a foul suckles from her mother on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

A Dazzle of Zebra and a foul suckles from her mother on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

A Dazzle of Zebra and a foul suckles from her mother on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

After a while of looking at these great animals interacting the Rhinos got up off the ground and this is what we saw on our Safari Tour game drive.

 White Rhino Mother and calf on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

White Rhino Mother and calf on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

White Rhino Mother and calf on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

We also had a lovely herd of Wildebeest playing near the Zebra and Rhinos of Our Durban 5 day safari Tour.

 A crazy herd of Wildebeest on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

A crazy herd of Wildebeest on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

A crazy herd of Wildebeest on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

It was time to crack on and see what else this Morning Safari would bring and as we drove thru the forest we found the monkey’s playing in the Sycamore fig trees. This dominant male seemed to lose something… Silly monkey!

Vervet monkey dominant male IT WAS IN MY HAND BUT NOW… on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve
Vervet monkey dominant male IT WAS IN MY HAND BUT NOW... on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Vervet monkey dominant male IT WAS IN MY HAND BUT NOW… on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

It was time to get back to the lodge for some breakfast and a rest before the afternoon Safari Game drive in the Hluhluwe section. We would also have an open vehicle Safari Game drive Tour with the Lodge from 5pm -8pm.

On our afternoon Safari Tour we did have some luck and got this great interaction of a Young elephant trying to chase a Rhino, Well it back fired and the Rhino chased the Elephant and sent him trumpeting away.

Baby Elephant gets chased by a Bull White Rhino on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve
Baby Elephant gets chased by a Bull White Rhino on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Baby Elephant gets chased by a Bull White Rhino on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

It was time to get back to Hilltop camp for the open vehicle Safari ride from the lodge. After this I had a little rest.

Dinner was great at Hilltop camp as usual.

I really slept well this night but knew we had a lot of work ahead of us as we needed some cats!

Day 3: Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve

We got up insanely early at 4am before departing to Muyaneni bush lodge where we would meet a National park Guide and head out for a Safari Bush walk. Once we began it was so beautiful just to smell the bush and really just to experience nature at its rawest. We found some Leopard tracks on the Safari Walk but no Leopard. We spotted an Owl, Rhino twice, Impala, Zebra and Giraffe. All in all this 5 Day safari Tour from Durban to Hluhluwe Umfolozi was turning out to be good.

When we arrived back at Hilltop camp at 9am we had some breakfast and rushed back out as I had heard that Lions had been spotted in the Umfolozi section. Again our Safari was rushed down to get to them and we were in luck as the Lions crossed the road in front of our vehicle. This was the second time in a row this happened to me on the past to Durban overnight safari Tours.

3 Lionesses crossing the road in front of our vehicle on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

3 Lionesses crossing the road in front of our vehicle on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

3 Lionesses crossing the road in front of our vehicle on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

The were so beautiful these Lions and just when we thought it was to stop there we found 2 Larger Male Lions Under an Acacia Tree! This was the 4th of the Big 5 we had seen of our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi.

Lion Scratches his face on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Lion Scratches his face on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Lion Scratches his face on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Just 30 -40 meters from these two sleeping male Lions was an Old Buffalo Bull in the mud but he didn’t care one big as he rested peacefully.

Buffalo Bull mud wallowing 30 meters from 2 Male Lions on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve
Buffalo Bull mud wallowing 30 meters from 2 Male Lions on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Buffalo Bull mud wallowing 30 meters from 2 Male Lions on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Day 4: Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve

We began our day a lot more relaxed than we would usually a Durban Safari Tour. Having said that we had some great sightings after breakfast. Giraffe, Zebra and a few other animals including a bushveld gerbil.

This Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve was turning out to be a great one! One sighting I really enjoyed was these Zebras below: The male crossed the bridge and the females were not that comfortable at crossing after him so he kept looking back at them as if to say come along girls!

Dazzle of Zebra Girls are you coming…on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Dazzle of Zebra Girls are you coming...on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Dazzle of Zebra Girls are you coming…on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Later at Hilltop camp I sat down with the clients to look as some of the pictures and videos they had got and some were really good from the first few days of our Durban 5 Day Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi.

After lunch we headed out for a Safari Game drive on route to Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation centre for the Cat Tour.

We were so lucky to find these Chacma Baboons on the road and they were so funny it even looked like one was giving us the finger!

Chacma Baboon Showing us what he thinks of us… on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Chacma Baboon Showing us what he thinks of us... on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Chacma Baboon Showing us what he thinks of us… on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

At Emdoneni the clients really enjoyed the Tour through the rehab centre and Touching the Cheetah, Caracal, Serval and African Wild Cat.

We had to rush back to get in by 6pm at the gate and then back to Hilltop camp for dinner.

Dinner was lovely as usual it seemed we were all tired as dinner only lasted a bit less than an hour before we walked back to our rooms to get a good nights rest.

Overall the Big 5 Safari Tour today has been great and relaxing especially with the cooler weather.

Day 5: Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve

After a bit of rain falling over night on our 5 Day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve we got ready for breakfast before checking out and beginning our final 3 hour Safari Game Drive in the park.

It was sad to leave Hilltop camp Hluhluwe but we had another big day ahead of us as we were also visiting Isimangeliso wetland park AKA St Lucia Wetlands for a 2 hour boat cruise viewing Hippos and crocodiles.

We headed down into Umfolozi section of the reserve and were lucking as the puddles in the road game us a chance of taking this great picture of a Baboon is estrus drinking out of a puddle.

Female Chacma Baboon drinks out of a puddle on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Female Chacma Baboon drinks out of a puddle on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Female Chacma Baboon drinks out of a puddle on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

As we continued our Durban Safari Tour we were so lucky and found this beautiful male Lion just out marking his territory after the rains. This common practice but to see if was great for all of us.

Big Male Lion marking his territory on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Big Male Lion marking his territory on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

Big Male Lion marking his territory on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve

We were running out of time and had to rush our Durban Safari Tour along and depart from Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve and head to Isimangeliso wetland park (St Lucia wetlands).

After a short hour drive from the South Eastern gate Nyalazi we arrived in St Lucia for the Boat tour. This was a great Tour as the weather cleared up a bit and was lovely and warm on the boat. At St Lucia wetlands we spotted about 50 odd Hippos and about 3 crocodiles with Fish eagles and Goliath Herons as well. Visiting St Lucia Wetlands with out doing a Safari Tour of the Estuary on a boat to view Hippos and Crocodiles is not a option!

After the Cruise in St Lucia we headed to the small town to get lunch and then departed for Durban where we began our Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi, Cat rehab center and Isimangeliso Wetland park (St Lucia) 5 days prior.

It was overall a great Safari Tour from Durban with 4 of the Big 5 being seem more than once! Just the Leopard eluded us but this is common to not be seen.

To experience a Durban Safari Tour with Tim Brown visit our website www.timbrowntours.com an look at our TripAdvisor Reviews from fellow Tourists. You wont be dissapointed!

 

 

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