Big 5 safari from Durban for 2 days
I met my clients in Durban for their Big 5 safari just outside Durban to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve which is world famous for its Rhino breeding success through the 1950’s.
We are truly blessed to have such an amazing Big 5 game reserve near Durban which in my opinion is just as good if not better than Kruger national park.
Kruger National park may be bigger but it is not as scenic as Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve one of the main features all my clients point out!
As we got further into Zululand we stopped at a Cat rehabilitation center to enjoy some interaction with 4 species of endangered cats, the most exciting being Cheetah!
My client of course loved it being big cat fans.
Big 5 safari Durban; Serval
The Servals are very relaxed and also great to interact with so the above picture if of one of the Serval we interacted with. All this cats are here for either breeding or interaction due to some issue which prevents them from being released into the wild. The idea is to try and get as many of them back to the wild where they belong if not they are used as an educational tool to highlight there situation.
We then left and arrived in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve not 3 hours from Durban and began our 2 day safari tour.
Our first sighting was of Nyala and Warthogs.
Big 5 safari Durban; Warthog
I was a little concerned as it had been a bit quiet in the national park in the past few days but that would not stop us having good sightings!
We spotted Giraffe and Zebra in the distance so I made our way closer and we had the most amazing sighting where we had a troop of Baboons, Zebra, Giraffe and Rhino cross the road in front of us! It was amazing so at this point we had see the first of the Big 5 animals the Rhino but it seemed like we had seem so much more which we had!
Big 5 safari Durban; Rhino
Video: Rhino crossing road on our African safari
I made a good video of the Rhino crossing and then later got a great photo of a male Giraffe near to the road.
It had been a great start and it was time to head to Hilltop camp for some lunch, check in and head back out for more animals.
Big 5 safari Durban; Giraffe
We enjoyed the Giraffe for a while and moved on to Hilltop camp for some lunch.
We were as quick as we could be as my clients also wanted to do the open vehicle safari at 5pm-8pm with the lodge which meant for me I needed to find as many animals as possible in the afternoon.
Our first sighting in the afternoon as some Nyala and then some Baboons all over the road grooming themselves.
Big 5 safari Durban; Baboon
We tried to check all the view points over the Hluhluwe river to see if we could add to our Big 5 list with Elephant but we had no luck. We did find a few Red Duiker and one new born which was very cute, sadly I missed the photo so got the adult instead.
Big 5 safari Durban; Red Duiker
It was time to begin our way back to Hilltop camp but before we could get there we managed to add lots more Rhino and a herd of Buffalo to our Big 5 safari list.
Big 5 safari Durban; Buffalo
We had now seen 2 of the Big 5 on our safari from Durban and the clients got on to the evening game drive before we met again at 8pm for dinner. I was surprised as when they returned they had not been too luck so had not added any more of the Big 5 to the list which meant I had huge stress to find Cats and Elephants the other 2 major ones of the Big 5 were were missing. The Leopard which would be the 5th of the Big 5 we try and think of it as a bonus as we see it so rarely.
After a great dinner it was time for bed and we were all exhausted after a long day.
Day 2: Big 5 safari from Durban
We met before 7am and got all luggage in the vehicle before having a quick breakfast and making our way as far down south in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve as the 3.5-4 hours we had would allow us.
This would be a pure crazy day as we just had such luck!
As we had our way down south we ignored Rhino, Buffalo in the distance and most other things it the quest to find Elephant and Cats.
We did have to stop for this sighting of Giraffe and Zebra though!
Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra and Giraffe
We didn’t have to continue much further before we spotted our Elephants but they were far away and it did not make for the best picture. Minutes after we spotted another 2 Elephant and then another 2! Again pretty far away but we now had 3 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari.
Big 5 safari Durban; Elephants
As we continued on we headed over the Umfolozi river and saw nothing but on the other side I bumped into a friend of mine Marumo who is involved in research. She said that 10 minutes before there was Lions in the river bed. I though we may as well turn back and check from a view point and there they all were all 14 of these amazing Lions! We were all so excited.
Big 5 safari Durban; Lion mom and cubs
Video: Lions in Imfolozi game reserve
We now had 4 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari and were very happy with that. I had to put up another picture with a couple of big males in it to share with you all.
Big 5 safari Durban; Lions
We must have spent 15-20 minuted watching them and knew we still needed to try find Elephants closer but I think in our hearts we were all content having seen 4 of the Big 5 during our Safari from Durban.
We battled and only found everything else except the Elephants close. We got one good sighting of Zebra though!
Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra
We made our way to the gate to head to St Lucia estuary for our 2 hour boat cruise to see Hippos and Crocodiles as well as some Bird Life. It was an hour drive and we said farewell to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve and hello to Isimangaliso Wetland park.
We stopped for some lunch in St Lucia town which was lovely before the boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary.
Our cruise went very well we saw Hippos galore, Crocodiles, Birds and even a baby Hippo new born and its mother out the water.
Big 5 safari Durban; Hippo mom and baby
I was really fortunate to have filmed this and it was amazing watching the young Hippo head into the water with its mother and have her display by opening her mouth.
Video: Hippo mother and baby on the shore run to the water
We had a great look at couple of Crocodiles which was great and after seeing 4 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari to see Hippos and Crocodiles is always a treat!
Big 5 safari Durban; Crocodile
One of my favorite pictures from the St Lucia boat cruise was the this one below where I managed to have the good fortune of lining up 2 or 4 Hippos heads in a row.
We had a great 2 hours at St Lucia on the boat and it was not time to head back to Durban and say goodbye after sharing some great memories.
If you wish to do the same tour as described above please click on this link below: