Durban safaris

Durban safaris – 3 day tour 12 -14th June 2015

 

I had two different pick ups for this 3 day Durban safari tour one in Durban and the other in Umhlanga. Once I collected my client and we got chatting I knew we would have a good safari!

Our first day was near floor-less as we achieved so much in the first day. We began covering some of the interesting history of the area of Durban and KwaZulu Natal before arriving at the cat rehabilitation center near Hluhluwe.

Our tour around the rehab was great!

We entered the enclosures with all 4 of the endangered species of Cat; Serval, Caracal, African Wild Cat and Cheetah.

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Serval

Durban safaris; Serval

Durban safaris; Serval

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above picture of a Serval is lovely and these cats are very interactive so when we go into the enclosure it is always a great time watching them.

Our Durban safari continued and we entered with then Cheetah cubs which were also very interactive.

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Cheetah cub

 

Durban safaris; Cheetah cub

Durban safaris; Cheetah cub

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Cheetah cub was so interested with watching her sister playing with a rope on the end of a stick that even her soccer ball was not distraction enough!

 

We finished up with the cats and moved on into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for the Durban safari side of our 3 day Safari tour. This Big 5 game reserve near Durban is malaria free and is probably the biggest hidden secret in the area.

 

Our first sighting was of Warthogs and as it was the first animal we saw we spent some time with them before continuing our safari and then spotting some Zebra not too far from the road.

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Zebra

Durban safaris; Zebra

Durban safaris; Zebra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We made our way to Hilltop camp where we would be spending the two nights and had some lunch before checking in and settling into the rooms for half an hour.

Then we headed back out to continue our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. We spotted a huge herd of Buffalo on the road so we spent a good 15 minutes with them while they all crossed and then only continued on.

 

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Buffalo

Durban safaris; Buffalo

Durban safaris; Buffalo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video – Durban safaris; Buffalo crossing the road in Hluhluwe

 

We were making our way toward the Hluhluwe river when we spotted both Rhino and Elephants. All we could do was wait to see what would happen and good job we did as the Elephants came to the road and we got them to cross in front of us.

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Elephant

 

 

Durban safaris; Elephant

Durban safaris; Elephant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rhinos at this point were near to the road as well so we managed to get a decent photo of them before moving onward to see what else we could find.

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Rhino

Durban safaris; Rhino

Durban safaris; Rhino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We heard that Lions had been seen at 3pm but it was already 5pm so I knew the chances of finding them was not very high. When on a Durban safari or any safari you always have hope and we tried our best at first without success but then as the sun set we spotted them making their way to the road following a herd of Buffalo.

The Lions then began to hunt the Buffalo which made things hard on me as I was caught up with the ethical battle of keeping the lights on the Lions so we could see them but also not wanting to give the Lions away to the Buffalo which would end there chances of a successful hunt.

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Lioness

Durban safaris; Lioness

Durban safaris; Lioness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video – Durban safaris; Lions cross road at night to hunt Buffalo

 

What a great start to our Durban 3 day safari tour, the Lions attempted the hunt and in the darkness we heard the growling and Buffalo bellowing when we turned the lights one there was only dust and the Lions had not been able to hold on to their dinner. The lucky Buffalo kept walking away and we left the lions to try again.

 

 

We made our way back to the lodge and settled in for some dinner and a chat about how amazing our day was having seen 4 of the Big 5 on the first day of our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

 

We even did a spot of star gazing before we were all very tired and we headed off to bed.

 

 

Day 2: Durban safaris; our 3 day safari tour

 

 

 

We began our day with high hopes of seeing lots of animals and hopefully more Lions but you just never know what will show up for you on these safaris from Durban.

After breakfast we headed South in the game reserve and it was like the luck from day one had never left as we kept up the tempo and saw lots of animals.

 

Our major concern was finding Giraffe which we managed to knock on the head after just 30 minutes of driving!

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Giraffe

Durban safaris; Giraffe

Durban safaris; Giraffe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video: Safari in South Africa; Giraffe crossing road


We also spotted lots of general game like Zebra, Impala, Warthog, Wildebeest and we must have spent about 45 minutes in one spot as all these amazing animals came to a watering hole to drink.

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Rhino reflection

Durban safaris; Rhino reflection

Durban safaris; Rhino reflection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video: Durban safari tour; Rhino get spooked by Zebra at mud wallow


After watching these Rhinos drinking and getting spooked by the Zebra which came in for a drink we managed to see the female Rhino sharpening her horn so that she would have it ready for any poachers that tried to mess with her and remove her horn!

 

 

 

 

Video: African safari; Rhino sharpens her horn waiting for poachers!


 

Our 3 day safari from Durban was really turning out to be a great time and we just kept getting great luck and being in the right places at the right times.

We waited longer at the watering hole as a herd of Wildebeest came down and had a drink during this time we also spotted some great bird life. The best was a Malachite King fisher!

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Wildebeest drinking

Durban safaris; Wildebeest drinking

Durban safaris; Wildebeest drinking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video: Safari from Durban; Wildebeest drinking in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve


 

We then continued on to the Umfolozi river and I could not believe our luck as all of a sudden we spotted Lions running in the river bed. The only issue was they were running away because there was a bush walk that had not seen them and were having there walk in the river bed. This made it exciting and after a very short time we lost visual of the Lions so we continued with our Safari in Umfolozi.

 

I did get a picture but I felt it wasn’t good enough to go up on the blog and if you read on your will see why.

 

We drop through at this time of the year what looked like a desert as the place was so dry but we did spot more Rhino, Giraffe and other animals before we got to another section of the river and you would not believe it but there was Lions here!

 

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Lions in walking in river bed

Durban safaris; Lions in walking in river bed

Durban safaris; Lions in walking in river bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The picture was not the best but I still figured I would use it. We then continued to a “hide” which is a hut overlooking a watering hole. It was here we spotted a wide variety of animals and birds before moving on back up to get some lunch.

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Antelope drinking

Durban safaris; Antelope drinking

Durban safaris; Antelope drinking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video: African safari; Warthog rubs himself after a mud wallow

 

 


 

After spending time in the Hide we made our way back to where we had seen the second lot of Lions in the river bed and it was here that we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo drinking. The Lions just watched them from the safety of being up stream.

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Buffalo herd

Durban safaris; Buffalo herd

Durban safaris; Buffalo herd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a great sighting on our Durban safari tour and we made our way back to the area where we had seen the previous pride of Lion that had been chased by the people on foot. It was here that we spotted them resting in the dry river bed. There was two big males and some Lionesses and cubs!

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Lions resting in river bed

Durban safaris; Lions resting in river bed

Durban safaris; Lions resting in river bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video: Durban safari; Lions in the Umfolozi river


 

 

 

This had been an amazing day seeing the Lions 4 times and seeing 3 of the big 5 before lunch. We still had not seen Elephant the whole morning and now it was lunch time so we saved that one of the Big 5 for a big later.

 

Lunch was great at the Centenary center before we began the drive back up to hilltop camp. On route we got our Elephants in fact 3 or 4 different Elephant sightings! This meant we had 4 of the Big 5 today as well!

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Elephant bull

Durban safaris; Elephant bull

Durban safaris; Elephant bull

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our next stop would be back at camp where we would have an hours rest before heading out on the evening night safari from 5pm – 8pm.

 

Dinner was great as usual and we headed off for a good nights rest.

 

 

 

Day 3: Durban safaris; 3 day safari tour.

 

 

I met my client just before 7am to collect their luggage and get them down for some breakfast. It was a relaxed time as when you do they same tour regularly you get into such a routine of doing things that it just flows. Just after 07:30 we were already on the road and at this stage I asked one of the ladies “what would you like to see today” she said to me ” the African wild dog would be nice”.

I knew where to look but had no idea if we would be so luck to find the most endangered carnivore in Africa but we did! I could not believe our luck and nor could my clients!

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; African wild dog

Durban safaris; African wild dog

Durban safaris; African wild dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We watched the dogs jumping up and down in the long grass and running all over the place for about half an hour before we lost visual and began to make our way out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. It had been an amazing 3 days with some amazing sightings for a 3 day safari from Durban.

 

Our next stop would be St Lucia or Isimangaliso Wetland park to take a 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles.

 

 

Our first look from the Jetty we spotted a pod of Hippos and when we got going we made our way to them to enjoy nature. They all ran into the water but it was lovely to see them.

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; baby Hippo

Durban safaris; baby Hippo

Durban safaris; baby Hippo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further up stream of the world heritage site of Isimangaliso Wetland park we found Crocodiles, Fish eagles, Herons, Kingfishers and lots and lots of Hippos. Wow what a safari up St Lucia estuary.

 

 

 

 

Durban safaris; Crocodile

Durban safaris; Crocodile

Durban safaris; Crocodile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then had a very interesting sighting of a Hippos chewing at a Buoy on a barge boat. This or though exciting for the clients go me very concerned as this behaviour could be very dangerous in the future as the Hippo playing with the boat will show others that they can do the same and this could increase attacks on boats.

 

I did however made a video for you to see this interesting behaviour.

 

 

 

 

Video: Hippo chewing buoy of boat in St Lucia!

 

 

 

 

 

Our cruise ended and we made our way into St Lucia town for some lunch which was great. After lunch we took a drive to the estuary mouth and then began our trip back to Durban after a very successful 3 days safari from Durban.

My clients were happy and so was I.

 

 

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