African safari tour – 13-16th December 2015
Our African safari tours can be done from Durban with Tim Brown Tours and it was here where I collected my clients for this 4 day safari.
We could begin by visiting the Fort Nongqayi Museum in Eshowe which features the Wheel chair of King Mpande a half brother to the famous King Shaka of the Zulu Nation. It also features John Dunns furniture, Zulu crafts and a Church showing off the missionary work of the Norwegians in the area!
African safari tour; Fort Nongqayi museum in Eshowe
The Chair of Mpande the former Zulu king is always amazing to see as a Missionary called Schroeder built this chair for Mpande due to his illnesses caused by his lifestyle and weight.
African safari tour; King Mpandes Wheel chair
After being guided through this area we had some lunch before continuing our African safari tour to the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, the oldest in African and home to the Big 5!
We entered to the gate to some high security presence due to Rhino poaching concerns and we headed to Hilltop camp. I was thinking it would take us 40 minuted but it took much longer as we saw so many animals.
Our first major sighting was Rhino, Buffalo and shortly after Elephant but they were far enough away that the pictures were no good. We then spotted a Giraffe and her baby with some Impala.
African safari tour; Giraffe
We continued along and come across a huge herd of Buffalo on the road as well a either side of us! This was a great beginning to our African safari tour.
African safari tour; Buffalo
We finally arrived at Hilltop camp and quickly checked in and then after a short break of 10 minutes in the rooms we headed out to see what else we could find. I got word of Lions so we made our way around into the area they had been seen but before we could get there we found some Rhino!
African safari tour; Rhino
We finally arrived at the Lions and they were far down in the valley and had recently killed a Buffalo which they were feeding on. The issues was the distance and the fact the rain began to fall… Well what can you do! A Lion is a Lion! We could consider ourselves very lucky!
African safari tour; Lions
We left the Lions and went to find Elephants and it was not long and we nailed it! We located a lovely breeding herd of Elephants and even though the rain was falling it was great to see them so near to us and crossing in front of us during our African safari tour.
African safari tour; Elephants
Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Elephants suckling
After enjoying a great time our on safari we headed back to Hilltop camp and we settled in for some dinner before an early nights sleep as we would be going back out at 5am the next day.
Day 2: African safari tour – 13-16th December 2015
Our second day began were the first had finished off at Hilltop camp and we quickly got back into it with sightings of Giraffe, Zebra, Rhino and Elephants down at the Hluhluwe river.
We had to wait for the great quality sightings but they say good things come to those who wait!
Finally we got a great sighting of an Elephant bull coming down the road and we let him go past us, he was lovely and relaxed.
African safari tour; Elephant on road
It was now time a good Zebra sighting as well and it happened for us! We go them right next to the road and you could say that now our African safari tour was hotting up!
African safari tour; Zebra
It was now time to relocate the Lions which should be easy as we knew a Buffalo was big enough to last a few days. We were successful and got the Lions at the same place they had only dragged the carcass under a tree. The best part of this sighting was they some Rhino chased a Lioness she then went to the toilet and began to play with something perhaps a tortoise of lizard!
African safari tour; Lions
Video: Hluhluwe game reserve: Lions feed on Buffalo
It was now time to head back for some coffee and breakfast before a rest. We would head out again after lunch to the Cheetah project for some interaction with the majestic cats!
Well out luck change as at 2pm the rain began to come down and we could not go to the Cat rehab center today so waiting for a gap in the weather, it was no good so we settled in and had some dinner before bed.
Day 3: African safari tour – 13-16th December 2015
Our third day of our African safari tour began with a bush walk mostly to look for birds in the forest and we did very well before heading down for some breakfast.
The safari after breakfast was amazing and we saw 3 of the Big 5 very close to the road an so much more. First it was the Giraffe.
African safari tour; Giraffe
After the Giraffe we managed to spot Zebras and had the drink water out of a puddle on the road.
African safari tour; Zebra drinking
We now had a big day on the cards and we did 1.5 hours of Safari before heading to the Cat rehabilitation center which was very good. We then continued to St Lucia – Isimangaliso Wetland Park where we had lunch and then took the 2pm Hippo and Crocodile boat cruise.
African safari tour; Crocodile
After this great sighting of a Crocodile with his mouth open to regulate his body temperature we got lots of Hippos and finally one opened its mouth for us!
African safari tour; Hippos
We finally completed what was an amazing St Lucia boat cruise and we were all very happy. The ladies got into the craft shop and after they were done we headed back to the gate of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and had more luck with the animals spotting Elephants close up!
African safari tour; Elephants
We had one more surprise sighting as I took a dirt road loop we hadn’t covered yet and we spotted one of the best sightings of African Wild Dogs I have ever had! They were amazing, Playful and just beautiful. The most endangered carnivore in Africa shared its time with us and it was a real privilege to have spent just under an hour with them.
African safari tour; African Wild Dogs
Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Wild Dog plays with stick and Wild dog drinks water
This was such a special day on our African safari tour that I don’t think we could really take it all in as we were all so tired and ended up getting back, having dinner and heading to bed. I must say I did stay up to write this part of the Blog post but its always hard to get these things to sink in even when you see them more often than most.
Day 4: African safari tour – 13-16th December 2015
We began at 5am with the safari and tried to see what animals we could fine before breakfast.
It was a day we would not forget! We only needed to find Lions closer than the two other sighting we had and this was all that was on my mind so I got us into the area where I hoped the Lions would move to.
It was a pure blissful sighting as we first spotted them on a hill far off and then this happened!
Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Lion chases Zebra on our Durban overnight safari tour
Our African safari tour just got crazy from here as every possible way you could see a Lion took place meters away from us! We started with the hunt of Zebra and all the 7 Lions then walking onto the road and drinking water next to us.
African safari tour; Lions on road and drinking
You would normally expect that it would end here and you would have to continue driving but it did not. The Lions scent marked, played with sticks and road work equipment before climbing into a Marula tree!
African safari tour; Lions on road and playing with road work markings
Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Lions walking down road, male smacks female
African safari tour; Lion plays with stick and Lions in tree
This has to be one if not the best Lion sighting I have ever had! It was amazing and one I will never be able to comprehend and take in properly. I hope my clients realize what a miracle this sighting was and I am sure they will never forget it.
We even had a Lioness call the other!
Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Lioness calls the other Lions on our Durban safari tour
Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Lions climb a tree on our Durban safari tour
Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Lions drinking next to the road on our Durban safari tour
This whole 1 and half hours that we spent with these Lions made the entire trip worth it and even though our adrenaline was pumping I personally felt exhausted afterwards. This could have been the emotion of what we witnessed but it was just amazing, really now words can describe it.
We returned to Hilltop camp for breakfast and check out before heading back out which really felt like a waste of time, how were we to top what we saw! Every animal from that point on got very little attention and we left Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve after lunch.
We returned to the big city very happy with what had been an unbelievable 4 days on our African safari tour!