Cat rehab tour Archives - Tim Brown Tours

Durban big 5 Safari

Durban big 5 Safari – 21st-23rd July 2015   We began our Durban big 5 safari from my home as I was taking my cousins on a 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, St Lucia and Cat rehabilitation center. I was to be a great 3 day on safari from Durban! We began at 06:30 and by 09:30 we were in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and made our way down south in the hope of finding cats. It was a bonus to have a Giraffe at the gate as we entered and some Zebras on the hill.   We were very lucky as the first time I drove past this pan there was no Lions and I turned back just to check one more time all all of a sudden there was 2 Lions in a tree. This was my favorite pride of Lions the Tree climbing Lions of Hluhluwe! In the tree was an adult female and a sub adult cub under a year old.         Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Lioness in tree Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Lioness in tree                               We got some amazing footage and as the game reserve was doing road maintenance trucks where racing by and didn’t see these Lions so we mostly had them to ourselves for an hour.         Video: Tree climbing Lions on safari near Durban There was a young male cub which was resting in the branches on the tree and then he decided to come down. I also had to video this as Lions are not built for climbing down trees as they do not have locking wrists like Leopards.           Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Lion cub in tree Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Lion cub in tree                                   Video – Lion comes down from tree in Hluhluwe imfolozi game reserve We continued our Big 5 safari from Durban and found some Zebra that was great as they were crossing the road but it was hard to feel as excited after seeing Lions in the tree and spending an hour watching them before they walked over the hill.           Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Zebra Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Zebra                                   We made our way down to the bone dry Umfolozi river and patiently waited to see if we could spot anything. We watched an Impala drinking and then something caught my eye far up stream and it was a Hyena. It kept popping out onto the dry river bed and then hiding again. We were super lucky and the 3 more appeared and amazingly one ran across the riverbed with a big chunk of  what looked like skin in its mouth and the others followed.           Video: Hyena carries carcass in mouth This was now just amazing and I could not have wished for a better start having seen 2 predators before the end of the first day! We turned and made our way to the Centenary center and there was 2 bull Elephants drinking from a drain behind the center where we had our lunch! Another amazing sighting!   After enjoying lunch and a look around the shop we went back to the car park and the 2 bull Elephants were now among the cars so I had to be cautious in getting to the vehicle safely. Unbelievable stuff, we were so lucky to have now seen 4 of the Big 5 as we had seen Buffalo in the distance as well.           Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Elephant Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Elephant                                 I also forgot to mention that after the Hyenas we spotted a lovely herd of Wildebeest in Umfolozi!             Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Wildebeest Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Wildebeest                                   We raced back to Hilltop camp for check in and to get settled in the rooms but we only had 30 minuted before we needed to leave again to go to the cat rehabilitation center outside of Hluhluwe.   Before we could get to Hilltop camp though we spotted a Crocodile resting near some water in the forest.           Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Crocodile Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Crocodile                                 We were not done yet and a bit further up the road we managed to find Giraffe which was great as they were so close, then the one male walked down the road behind us. Man, what a great day, 4 of the Big 5 on this Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour!           Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Giraffe Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Giraffe                                 We finally arrived and quickly left Hilltop camp for the Cat rehabilitation center.   On route we spotted some Rhino.           Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Rhino   Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Rhino                               We thought that this would be all our sighting for the day but we added another of the Big 5 animals to our list as we spotted Elephants again and this time with little babies as they walked across and then down a road. We had been super blessed!             Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Herd of Elephants Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Herd of Elephants                                   We finally got the the Cat rehabilitation center near Hluhluwe and were so excited because of the amazing day we had experienced so far that we knew this experience would also be an amazing one. At the Cat rehabilitation center we interact with Cheetah and Serval in the afternoon as it is the feeding tour so they others are being fed so we cannot obviously gone in with them.             Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Claire with Cheetah at Cat rehab Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Claire with Cheetah at Cat rehab                                 I managed to get a great photo of Claire my cousins wife with the Cheetah cub with my camera but all the other photos I took with there camera for them with the other species of cat.   I also got some great videos…           Video – Caracal jumps for its food! Video – Serval catches food in tree We had had an amazing day and really though we could not have done any better at this point! We made our way back to Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve to get back to camp for some dinner. It was not 17:30 and we had 30 minuted to get back to camp.   On route the unimaginable happened as we had a great sighting of an African wild dog running down the road towards us! I was absolutely amazed that we could of had such an amazing day of sightings and it would be hard to beat the next day but non of us cared at this point we were on a high from the excitement of the day and would probably battle to sleep the night!           Video: African wild dog in Hluhluwe runs down road   We arrived back at camp and had a 30 minute rest before dinner. It was nice for me as it was my family so I could share a bottle of wine with them and talk about the amazing day we had experienced. It was for sure one of the best days of game viewing I have ever experience and it always makes it so much better if you have people to share it with. We had seen Lions in a tree, Hyenas with a carcass in there mouth, Buffalo on the road, Rhino not far from the road, Elephant 2 meters from our car, Wild dog running towards our car, Zebras crossing the road, Giraffe walking on the road and a whole host of other things!     We went off to bed and after doing some work I fell right off to sleep with a smile on my face!             Day 2: Durban big 5 Safari – 22nd July 2015       We began day two at 6am and left Hilltop camp in the dark to maximize our time in Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve in the hope we would see lots of amazing animals and interactions.   We made our way north first into the Hluhluwe section and were hoping to find the African wild dogs. That fell by the way side and we spotted two huge herds of Buffalo one was on the road!           Big 5 safari from Durban, Buffalo Big 5 safari from Durban, Buffalo                                   We continued to a view point and enjoyed the views before checking the Hluhluwe river area for signs of animals. We had the most amazing sighting of Rhinos which I will put up there with one of my best! There was 4 sub adult males and 2 of them were fighting.         Video – White Rhinos fighting in the wild, video 1         Big 5 safari from Durban, Rhino fighting 1 Big 5 safari from Durban, Rhino fighting 1                                   Video: White Rhinos fighting in the wild, video 2       Every time we thought they would stop either of the two Rhinos would continue the fight. In some of the videos you can see that they younger ones eye almost gets taken out. In nature Rhino males do kill each other over the rights to territory and to mate with females. Having said this, this fight was more fun and game to prepare the males for when they become adults and have to challenge a big male for territory.             Big 5 safari from Durban, Rhino fighting 2 Big 5 safari from Durban, Rhino fighting 2                                         Video: White Rhinos fighting in the wild, video 3       This was an unbelievable sighting an one I will never forget! We had been so luck to have clear visual of all of our Big 5 sightings and every other animal we saw as well.   As we drove down south now we spotted some Zebras walking down the road and the one at the front was a new specie I call it the Tailless black bummed Zebra! No, it was just a Zebra that had been in some clay mud and it tails got stuck up on its ass….(excuse the pun!)             Big 5 safari from Durban, New specie of Zebra… Big 5 safari from Durban, New specie of Zebra…                                   The day now began to merge for me a bit as the weather changed and things became hard as the rain came down. We had some respite but at time it was plain pouring with rain so much so the roads were almost flooding. This was odd as it was our winter and we usually only have rain like this in summer.   We still saw animals. It was just that even the Elephants we saw were running away from the rain! Where they will running to was another story but they were not enjoying the heavy rain.   Amidst the rain we still spotted Giraffe, Impala and Elephants.           Big 5 safari from Durban, Giraffe Big 5 safari from Durban, Giraffe                                     Big 5 safari from Durban, Elephant Big 5 safari from Durban, Elephant                                 We stopped for some lunch at the centenary center once again and had to have something warm to make us feel content. It had been a long hard day but we still had seen animals and the Rhinos really were the highlight. After lunch and a look around the “Operation Rhino museum” we began to head back to Hilltop camp for a couple hours rest before my cousins would got for another 3 hours on the open vehicle and I would do some work and meet them for dinner at 8pm.   Before arriving back we had spotted two Leopard tortoises who come out more when its wet in winter. I had to move one off the road so nobody hit it with their car. I was careful to check for any animals as I was breaking the rules but felt if it was to protect nature and considering I have been in the industry for 10 years and done walking trails before it would be fine and it was.           Big 5 safari from Durban, Moving a male Leopard tortoise off the road Big 5 safari from Durban, Moving a male Leopard tortoise off the road                                   By the time we got back to Hilltop camp had done 9 hours of big 5 safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi and my cousins added the extra 3 hours to make it a 12 hour day of safari in Africa!     I was grateful to be able to attend to my emails and begin the blog posts I needed to do and it was great to meet my family later for dinner and wine.     We all had a great night sleep and would be ready for day 3!               Day 3: Durban big 5 Safari – 23rd July 2015         We got up a little later the next day and had breakfast at 7am before checking out and a final 3.5 hours of big 5 safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.     Our first sighting was of Elephants crossing the road in front of us. They were males which we trying to keep up with the breeding herd which had already gone over the next hill.         Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Elephant Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Elephant                                 We continued on and I had one thing in mind and that was to try and find the African wild dogs for my family in the day time! Before we could get there we had a great sighting of kudu silhouetted against the African sun!               Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Silouet of Kudu Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Silouet of Kudu                                 We went to the usual are we look now near to where they have a den sight and we spotted fresh scat on the road so we waiting around and drove up and down and used our ears.   All of a sudden I heard the squeaks and it was a mad rush as they were 20 meters down the road crossing. We got there and more came across right in front of us. It happened so fast that vehicle that arrived 1 minute later missed everything. We were so lucky again. We had now seen 4 of the Big 5 and African wild dogs twice the most endangered carnivore in Africa!           Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, African Wild Dog crosses road Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, African Wild Dog crosses road                                   This was becoming some kind of story which you would tell your kids when they were old enough about your experience in Africa. I just could not believe how lucky we had been during the 3 day of Safari from Durban.     Finally some calm and we drove for a little while with out seeing much except Impala and then we spotted a Juvenile Martial Eagle which I managed to capture in flight!             Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Juv Martial eagle takes off Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Juv Martial eagle takes off                                 We now  began to make our way out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and spotted some Warthogs and Baboons. The funniest part was this male Baboon was sitting on a flimsy dead branch surveying the area and it snapped under his weight! I managed to take a photo of this as he fell to the ground not so gracefully!               Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Baboon falls Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Baboon falls                                 We exited Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve after any incredible 3 days and made our way to St Lucia estuary for lunch and our 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos, Crocodiles as well as bird life.   After an hour drive we arrived and settled in for some lunch before what was another great cruise on St Lucia Estuary.             St Lucia wetlands safari from Durban, Hippos in estuary St Lucia wetlands safari from Durban, Hippos in estuary                                   We spotted Hippos galore and amazing bird life, these 2 Crocodiles where one of the amazing things we saw in the 2 hours of this relaxing St Lucia boat tour.             St Lucia wetlands safari from Durban, Crocodiles at St Lucia estuary St Lucia wetlands safari from Durban, Crocodiles at St Lucia estuary                                 I made a lovely short video of one of the massive pods of Hippos where the babies left the water that we saw at St Lucia and you will be able to see it below.           Video – Baby Hippos leave the water at St Lucia estuary                 We had been so lucky and began our cruise back to the jetty where we still spotted the Hippos and Crocodiles. We had a great sighting of an African fish eagle being mobbed by some Grey Headed Gulls.               St Lucia wetlands safari from Durban, Africa fish eagle gets mobbed St Lucia wetlands safari from Durban, Africa fish eagle gets mobbed                                 It was now time to drop my family off and make sure they got the car from the car rental place before leaving them at there lovely guesthouse in St Lucia. It is always hard to say goodbye and having spent 4 amazing days with my family starting in the Drakensberg mountains and the a 3 day safari from Durban really meant we would have memories that we share forever.   Thank you to Jean-Marc and Claire for the visit and my wife for arranging the stay at our home as well as the snak packs. It had been a very special time for us all.     If you wish to join one of this tours click the links below to the 2 tours we did.     Drakensberg, Sani pass day tour.   Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5, 3 day safari tour.

Durban private safari

Durban private safari 20 June 2015     I met my client in Durban where we began what was to be a day where we would mix up two tours, the Hluhluwe day tour and a visit to the cat rehabilitation center.   We left just before 7am and but 09:30 we were at the cat rehabilitation center where we arranged a private tour around the center before the main group at 10:30. We interacted with the four species of Endangered cats and of course the Cheetah was the best as well as the cubs! It is always great on a Safari from Durban to interact with these amazing animals.   Durban private safari; Cheetah Durban private safari; Cheetah                               At this time we left and made our way into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to begin our Durban private safari side of the tour. We had immediate luck as we spotted Zebra and Warthog before a quiet period.         Durban private safari; Zebra Durban private safari; Zebra                             We made our way to the Hluhluwe river in the hope of finding Elephants but we only found Nyala and Buffalo which was also great to see so we had now seen the first of the Big 5.         Durban private safari; Herd of Buffalo Durban private safari; Herd of Buffalo                               We continued and found some more Nyala and then looked over the Hluhluwe river where we had a different sighting of 2 Egyptian geese fighting probably over a female!         Video: Durban private safari; Eqyptian geese fighting       After this we continued and managed to find a herd of Elephants they were slowly making their way towards the road and we managed to get two crossing the road. The others just took way too long so we moved on to see what else we could find on our Durban private safari.         Durban private safari; Elephant playing on road Durban private safari; Elephant playing on road                             We managed to get this one bull Elephant dust bathing and playing with a tuft of grass which was great to watch.         Video: Durban private safari; Elephant playing on road           After this amazing sighting we were very lucky again as I spotted a Rhino and Buffalo together! The only trouble for us was it was so thick that we had to settle for picture of Rhino from a distance as we could not see this ones horns through the long grass.         Durban private safari; Rhino Durban private safari; Rhino                             We even then got lucky with a couple of Water buck males crossing the road in front of us before we made our way down South to the Nyalazi gate for a restroom break.         Durban private safari; Waterbuck Durban private safari; Water buck                               Before we could get down to the Nyalazi gate we found a Nile Crocodile resting in one of the river beds which was awesome and then we began to spot lots of Impala and Nyala. Eventually we spotted some Giraffe but they were very far away. Sadly all our sighting of Giraffe until we were heading out of the game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi were from very far away. We would have to settle for this below picture.       Durban private safari; Giraffe Durban private safari; Giraffe                               We stopped at the Centenary center for some curio shopping and quickly grabbed some food before we headed off again.    Having seen 3 of the Big 5 during the day we were not unhappy at all but we really wanted to have a better sighting of Rhino! Sadly we did not and had to settle for what we saw. It was 4pm and we departed the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve the oldest game reserve in African back to Durban.   Having mixed up the day we had a great selection of animals and this had been a great day safari from Durban having seen a few interesting things!    

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                             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                               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                               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                                 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                               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                               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                                   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                               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                                 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                                 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                             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                               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                               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                               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                               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                               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                               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                               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.    

Durban overnight safaris

Durban overnight safaris – 17th -18th May 2015      I met my clients in Durban at the Blue waters hotel which overlooks the ocean of the Durban beach front. Once we got the luggage in the car we began our 2.5 hour drive to the cat rehabilitation center in Hluhluwe for our interaction with 4 species of Cat; Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African wild cat. Before we got their though we covered the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as it sets up the Durban overnight safari nicely with some back ground of the area. This 2 day safari from Durban is really exciting as it is really rushed but you will not feel it as everything is so well arranged and tuned that as the client it is still very enjoyable. I always recommend the 3 day safari tour but if you have limited time the 2 day safari tour can be equally as good if luck is on your side.   We were lucky as everything we our way from the traffic to the timing of animals and really it was a spectacular 2 day or safari that even I will not forget for a long time!   At the cat rehabilitation center we had a great tour and the best times were with the Cheetah adults and cubs as well as the Serval one which took a liking to my boots. This is the 3rd time she has done this where is dribbles saliva on my boot and then rubs it with her chin. It is very cute and always part of our overnight safaris from Durban.         Durban overnight safari; Cheetah at cat rehab center Durban overnight safari; Cheetah at cat rehab center                             After learning more about the amazing Cheetah we began the interaction and my clients enjoyed this as well and the best part was the interaction with the young cubs which are about 8 months old and very excitable. Once of them got hold of some one jacket and would not let go until I brought across her blanket…         Durban overnight safari; My happy clients with a Cheetah cub Durban overnight safari; My happy clients with a Cheetah cub                                 Next we moved to the Serval and the interaction with them as also amazing and as I mentioned the boot incident took place! These tours around the cat rehab are always amazing I mean really! where in the world can you do things like this.         Durban overnight safari; Serval polishing my boots Durban overnight safari; Serval polishing my boots                               After the amazing tour at the cat rehabilitation center it was time to head onward to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, Africa’s oldest proclaimed protected area.   We got there in 20 minutes and checked in at the gate before heading into the Hluhluwe section for our Safari. Our first sighting was 2 minutes from the gate and it was of a journey of Giraffe.       Durban overnight safari; Giraffe near the gate Durban overnight safari; Giraffe near the gate                             We also spotted Warthogs, Impala, Nyala and sleeping Rhino before I bumped into a mate of mine and he told me their was an Elephant Bull down by the river. So we headed down there and it was a good thing was did as he was drinking and we had him all to ourselves! At the same spot we saw some Vervet monkeys running around.         Durban overnight safari; Elephant shaking his ears Durban overnight safari; Elephant shaking his ears                                 Video – Durban overnight safari – Elephant mud wallowing in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Before we could get to the camp we actually spotted Baboons on the road and it was great to see them with babies enjoying themselves.         Durban overnight safari; Baboon walking down the road Durban overnight safari; Baboon walking down the road                                 We then headed off to Hilltop camp on route spotting a large herd of Buffalo on a hill. When we arrived at Hilltop camp we enjoyed the lovely view and some lunch before checking and and heading to the room for a few minutes. It was then time to head out for a couple more hours before one of my clients would be doing the open vehicle safari with the lodge.   This afternoon drive was one I would remember and my clients would cherish for a very long time to come! We headed out and I nearly went a different direction but due to the limited time I felt we would not get to where I wanted to go and return in time for the game drive. I was really glad I made that choice.   We had a very exciting start as we got on to one of the dirt road and went around a few bends we spotted 3 Lions walking next to the road. We were so shocked as it was only 4 pm and Lions are not usually active at this time that we could not get the word Lion out our mouths. I got a couple of pictures before they moved into the bushes but they were not great and you will see why I didn’t bother putting them up.   Next I got a message from another guide friend that Lions we fighting and chasing Buffalo at one of the dams. I raced there but as you can imagine we began to see animals.   We spotted Rhino near to the road and had to stop for a photo.           Durban overnight safari; Rhino   Durban overnight safari; Rhino                               As we continued we then came across a huge herd of Buffalo and one old male crossed in front of us so again we had to stop to watch them.         Durban overnight safari; Buffalo posing Durban overnight safari; Buffalo posing                               We finally got there and I was disappointed to see nothing there any more except the Buffalo. This sadness did not last long as we then spotted the Lions walking towards the road. The problem was we wanted to photograph the one young male we say laying on a sand bank so we paused for this.         Durban overnight safari; Lion resting on bank Durban overnight safari; Lion resting on bank                               We moved on quickly to get into position for the Lions as the crossed the road, we had already missed two or 3 cross over but I got a short video of the young male crossing and a photo of the Big male Lion.       Video – Durban overnight safari – Young male Lion crossed road in front of us     Durban overnight safari; Lion crosses road in front of us Durban overnight safari; Lion crosses road in front of us                             This had truly been an amazing day and we headed back to the lodge with the biggest smiles you could imagine and feeling really content. I had to tell my clients that in 10 years of guiding I don’t think I have seen 2 prides of Lions in such a short space of time and both either on or that close to the road. It was a special overnight safari from Durban.   We got back an Lyn went on the evening game drive, I got down to some paper work and admin and Lee watch a football match.   We all met again at 8pm for dinner and chatted about the amazing first day of safari we had. My clients had already been to the the Lion park outside Joburg and a national park up there but this safari took the cake!   It was then off to bed and up for a 7am breakfast and check out.       Day 2: Durban overnight safaris – 17th -18th May 2015    We met for breakfast which was lovely and then we headed out onto the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, it was then that our day really began. Oh I forgot about the Baboons outside the window at breakfast.   It was not long before we got what we were hoping for a Giraffe near to the road. In fact he was on the road and was walking down it.           Durban overnight safari; Giraffe walking down the road Durban overnight safari; Giraffe walking down the road                             We continued with our Durban overnight safari and came across some Banded Mongooses and some Vervet monkeys. Unfortunately the Mongooses all ran away but we were left with some lovely monkeys.         Durban overnight safari; Baby Vervet monkey Durban overnight safari; Baby Vervet monkey                                 We then made our way into an open area where we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo right next to the road at a mud wallow. It was a great sight to see them watching us just as much as we were watching them.           Durban overnight safari; Herd of Buffalo Durban overnight safari; Herd of Buffalo                               We then took a toilet break with a view and once we got to looking at the view we spotted 3 of the Big 5, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo. We also saw Giraffe and Zebra from this hill, its amazing what patience can do!   We continued our overnight safari from Durban and made our way down south hoping to get to the Umfolozi river. On route we spotted some Kudu which was a new one for us and they crossed the road in front of us.         Durban overnight safari; Kudu cows Durban overnight safari; Kudu cows                               Next we had an amazing sighting of Elephants fighting, more like a dominance display which was very interesting to watch and not only for us but for a couple other Elephants which walking into the area.         Durban overnight safari; Elephants fighting for dominance Durban overnight safari; Elephants fighting for dominance                               Video – Hluhluwe safari – Elephants fighting on our Durban overnight safari tour   We watched these Elephants for a good while and then we realised we no longer had time to make it to the river which was also fine so we made our way out of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and onward to St Lucia – Isimangeliso wetland park.     The drive was really nice as we chatted about how amazing the overnight safari from Durban had been but we still had a lot to see and do.   We arrived at St Lucia and had some lunch before our 1pm boat cruise on the St Lucia Estuary. Then we boarded the boat and enjoyed what turned out to be a lovely afternoon watching Hippos play fighting and wallowing around as well as some Crocodiles.           Durban overnight safari; Hippos fighting at St Lucia Durban overnight safari; Hippos fighting at St Lucia                               Video – St Lucia tour – Hippos play fighting on our Durban safari tour in KwaZulu Natal     This was an amazing time and I didn’t take just one video I took 3 videos that were good enough to go up on this blog post for my clients and their friends.         Video – Durban overnight safaris – Hippos playing in the water at St Lucia           Durban overnight safari; Crocodile at St Lucia   Durban overnight safari; Crocodile at St Lucia                               This Crocodile was amazing as he was just sunning himself on the shoreline not far from our boat at all. Next was some amazing big pods of Hippos and the best after the playing in the water was them out of the water!           Durban overnight safari; Hippos on land at St Lucia Durban overnight safari; Hippos on land at St Lucia                               Video – Durban safari tour – Hippos on land at St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park               This was the final part of our Durban overnight safari tour and the whole way back to Durban we could not believe the luck we had had as well as just the amazing sighting of nature on our safari in Africa!  

Durban overnight safari tour for Travel agents

Durban overnight safari tour for Travel agents – 6-8th May 2015   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.           Durban overnight safari tours; Lion cubs in Marula tree Durban overnight safari tours; Lion cubs in Marula tree                                 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!     Video: Durban overnight safari tours – Tree climbing Lions of Hluhluwe               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.       Durban overnight safari tours; Elephant Durban overnight safari tours; Elephant                               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.       Durban overnight safari tours; Buffalo Durban overnight safari tours; 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.       Video: Rhinos nose to nose – Durban overnight safari tours           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.         Durban overnight safari tours; Guests with the Cheetah at Cat rehab center Durban overnight safari tours; Guests with the Cheetah at Cat rehab center                                           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.       Day 2: Durban overnight safari tour for Travel agents     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!         Durban overnight safari tours; Animals outside my bedroom Durban overnight safari tours; Animals outside my bedroom                                 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!       Durban overnight safari tours; Giraffe Durban overnight safari tours; 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!         Durban overnight safari tours; Elephants crossing Durban overnight safari tours; Elephants crossing                                   Video: Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour – Elephants cross the road in front of us             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!       Durban overnight safari tours; Lions resting Durban overnight safari tours; Lions resting                                   Video: Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve – Lions seen with our Binoculars             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.     Durban overnight safari tours; Rhinos Durban overnight safari tours; Rhinos                                   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.       Durban overnight safari tours; White backed Vulture Durban overnight safari tours; White backed Vulture                                   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.       Durban overnight safari tours; Zebra Durban overnight safari tours; Zebra                                   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.     Durban overnight safari tours; Wildebeest Durban overnight safari tours; Wildebeest                                   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.         Durban overnight safari tours; Waterbuck mating Durban overnight safari tours; Water buck mating                                   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.       Day 3: Durban overnight safari tour for Travel agents     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.       Durban overnight safari tours; Buffalo and Elephant Durban overnight safari tours; 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.       Durban overnight safari tours; Elephants cross main road as we exit Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve Durban overnight safari tours; Elephants cross main road as we exit Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve                                   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.       Durban overnight safari tours; Crocodile at St Lucia estuary Durban overnight safari tours; Crocodile at St Lucia estuary                                   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.       Durban overnight safari tours; Hippos out the water with Crocodile Durban overnight safari tours; Hippos out the water with Crocodile                                   Video: Hippos out the water and opening mouth at St Lucia on our Durban safari tour                   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.       Durban overnight safari tours; Goliath heron in flight at St Lucia Durban overnight safari tours; Goliath heron in flight at St Lucia                                   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!       Video: Hippos, Crocodile and Goliath Heron together on our Durban safari tour               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.     

Durban 3 day overnight safari tour

Durban 3 day overnight safari tour   I met my clients in Durban city and this was where we would begin our Durban 3 day overnight safari tour. After the general introductions the 4 of us began this amazing 3 day safari from Durban.   We headed up the coastal road away from the city and as it was Freedom day in South Africa everyone was somewhere but the roads! This made my drive much easier as I had no city traffic to deal with and could begin some free flowing conversation about the History of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa. The usual being covered, I then also explained about each population group and how they come to be here as well as all the plantation we would see on route to our first stop the cat rehabilitation center, outside of Hluhluwe.   It had now been 3 hours on the road and it was nice to stop to see something new and stretch the legs further to what we did at the couple of stops we took along the way. We began our tour of the cat rehabilitation center at 10:30 and it was here that my clients would be able to interact with 4 species of endangered cats, namely the Serval, Caracal, African wild cat and Cheetah.         Durban overnight safari; The family Durban overnight safari; The family                                           After this amazing experience we moved on to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve the oldest proclaimed national park in South Africa established in 1895. It would be here that we would be spending the majority of our 3 days enjoying the best nature would show us. Our Durban 3 day safari tour had begun and after going over the basic regulations of the the game reserve we headed in to see what animals we could find.   Usually in the middle of the day it is always quiet but today was not, their was a lot of activity around the first 2 kilometers of the national park and we did much better with the game viewing than I thought.   Our first sighting was of Zebra and a warthog just before we crossed over the electrified fence into the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.           Durban overnight safari; Zebra Durban overnight safari; Zebra                               These Zebra we actually very interesting as the foul was grooming the mother and visa versa during the time we were watching them. They looked in such good health and really posed for us. We then drove a hundred meters up the road an found two bull elephants near the road. This was great and the biggest of the males was in Musth and had high levels of Testosterone in his body which made him dribble urine and weep from his temporal glands. He smelled terrible!         Durban overnight safari; Elephant Durban overnight safari; Elephant                               The picture of this Bull Elephant was a real cracker and even now when I look at it I love the definition around the ears! We continued on and found a couple of herds of Buffalo which were resting in the open grassy areas, they were enjoying the cooler weather and had no idea what would be coming later during our safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.         Durban overnight safari; Buffalo Durban overnight safari; Buffalo                               It was now time to get to Hilltop camp in the Hluhluwe section of the national park to have some lunch and check ourselves in. Upon arrival we settled in and then had some lunch with a view of the game reserve. We then headed to our rooms where I off loaded the luggage and then we took an hours rest before heading back out to see what we could find.   At 4pm we met again and began the safari into the north to see what we could find. It was great as we began to spot Nyala and Rhino before we had a great sighting of Rhinos. We watched these Rhino feeding and then they crossed the road in front of us!         Durban overnight safari; Baby Rhino Durban overnight safari; Baby Rhino                                 Video of Rhinos crossing the road on front of us in Hluhluwe.           We then continued up the road and were lucky enough to spot that a herd of Buffaloes on the hill were running around. We looked with the binoculars and saw they were being chased and were chasing Lions. It was amazing, it was such a dark afternoon and light was really fading but we saw a little bit of them. I found the best way to see them was with the camera on full zoom and to record the whole things. The best part was that they seemed to kill a Buffalo probably a young one as a big Lion crossed the road in front of us and made his way up the hill to the others.         Durban overnight safari; Lion Durban overnight safari; Lion                             Video of Male Lion walking towards the pride on our Durban 3 day safari tour.         Next we got the male Lions chasing the Buffalo around and visa versa which was great to see. Sadly the quality of the video is not great but it is still visible.       Video of Lions chasing Buffalo and visa versa         The cherry on the top was the male Lion reaching the kill and smashing one of the Lionesses that did not give him the piece of meat he wanted!     Video of Lion smashing one of the Lionesses.       It had been a great day of safari from Durban and the rain began to fall settling the dust the Buffalo had created by running around. It was now time for us to leave the sighting as we couldn’t see much now anyway and we made our way back to the lodge to get some dinner.   Dinner was great as usual a lovely buffet spread and then it was time for bed.     Day 2: Durban 3 day overnight safari tour   We had a massive storm during the night which meant some sections of all rivers were flooding and not passable! We met for breakfast and then went out for 3-4 hours of safari game drive, before we could even leave the camp of Hilltop we spotted some Baboon, Vervet Monkeys and Samango monkeys. Once we headed further onto the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we spotted a really cool Leopard tortoise which was on the side of the road.       Durban overnight safari; Baboons and Leopard Tortoise Durban overnight safari; Baboons and Leopard Tortoise                                         We drove around for quite some time with out find much except Nyala and then as the day heated up we began spotting animals. We spotted a few bull Buffaloes one of which lay down and rolled over before pulling his tongue out at us.         Durban overnight safari; Buffalo   Durban overnight safari; Buffalo                                         Next we managed to find a Rhino which again crossed the road in front of us. This was the first time I used a GoPro (Chinese version) to film any wild life.         Durban overnight safari; Wide Rhino Durban overnight safari; Wide Rhino                               You will notice in the above picture that this Rhino has a wide mouth which is where the original translation of the name comes from. They Dutch called them the “Wyd Rhinoster” meaning the “wide Rhino” referring to this square mouth used for eating grass.       Rhino runs across road on our Safari tour from Durban, South Africa           As we left the Rhino to enjoy his day I had notices that the tracks of the Elephant bulls from the previous day had crossed into an area we could not access. I felt a little disappointed until about 3 minutes later as we found them. They must have looped back around and we had the big musth bull Elephant on the road in front of us. Remember is you respect nature it will respect you back.         Durban overnight safari; Elephant Durban overnight safari; Elephant                               Video: Learn about Elephants on Safari with Tim Brown Tours in South Africa           Video: Safari from Durban, South Africa; Elephant bull lets it all hang out   After these amazing video clips of this Bull Elephant we continued our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and we spotted Giraffe which was great as we hadn’t yet seen any. The picture didn’t turn out to well so I left it out as we saw more later in the afternoon. We returned to camp to have a rest and then we heading back out at 15:30 for 2.5 hour to see what other animals we could spot.     Again things were quiet at first and then we crossed the heavy flowing Hluhluwe river before before spotting some Rhinos on a dirt road loop. It was getting a little frustrating as I kept spotting tracks of Giraffe but could not find them until finally I did…       Durban overnight safari; Giraffe Durban overnight safari; Giraffe                                 Video: Giraffe crosses road on our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour from Durban           We also had great sightings of the sunset and Buffalo. One of the best sightings this afternoon was the Rhino in the mud wallow as I spotted a Terrapin heading to his groin to removed ticks. This is a behavior that is not always noticed and people don’t look out for it and also don’t know that Terrapins are carnivores!       Durban overnight safari; Rhino asleep Durban overnight safari; Rhino asleep                             Video: Durban safari tour; Terrapin removes ticks off a Rhino in a mud wallow         We made our way back to the lodge for some dinner and a well deserved rest. We were all pretty tired and had one more big day to go.     Day 3: Durban 3 day overnight safari tour     We began with collecting luggage and then a buffet breakfast before moving out of the lodge and onto the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. We had some amazing luck with Giraffe, Buffalo and Elephant in the first 30 minutes.       Durban overnight safari; Elephant Durban overnight safari; Elephant                               We were lucky with this bull Elephant as he was relaxed and right next to the road so we had a great show with him. It was then a matter of minutes and we spotted some Elephants hiding in the bushes. After assessing the situation I realised they wanted to cross the road so I reversed back and they crossed right in front of us making it a special sighting!         Video: Herd of Elephants cross road on our Durban 3 day safari tour in Hluhluwe           This was an amazing sighting and we were very happy about seeing the small babies as we had only seen bull Elephants on our our Durban safari tour so far. As we continued we found a Nile Crocodile in a section of the river. We didn’t stay to long as we needed to exit to get to Isimangeliso wetland park and do the 2 hour boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary.   The cruise began very well with Hippos and Crocodiles in a very short space of time, we then cruised up the St Lucia Estuary and spotted lots and lots of Hippos and a few more Crocodiles.           Durban overnight safari; Hippos at St Lucia Durban overnight safari; Hippos at St Lucia                             The sightings of Crocodiles were just as good and we really enjoyed the sun shine on the boat cruise. There was a little bit of bird life in the Mangrove swamps which was also great to see.       Durban overnight safari; Crocodile at St Lucia estuary Durban overnight safari; Crocodile at St Lucia estuary                               You will see in the above picture of the crocodile that his mouth is open, this is to help regulate his body temperature a bit like a dog except Crocodiles do not have tongues just a gular flap which stops the water from going down their throats.   It was not time to get some lunch in the ocean village of St Lucia, I also heard that their was activity at the estuary mouth and that finally they would be reopening the estuary to the ocean. It close naturally in 2007 but with out the salt water this has effected the habitat somewhat and cause the reeds to take over the estuary. Lunch was great and so was looking at the new estuary with a small opening to the ocean. We then began our long 2.5 hour drive back to Durban where I returned my clients to there accommodation in one piece.   It had been another great overnight safari tour from Durban in KwaZulu Natal and we had all enjoyed ourselves.     

3 day safari from Durban – Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

3 day safari from Durban – Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 7-9th April 2015   Our 3 day safari from Durban began with two different pick ups on in Kloof, West of Durban city and the other in Warner beach, South of Durban.   After I had all my clients aboard we began the 3 hour journey (Safari) to the Cat rehabilitation centre where we would learn more about endangered African cats hands on!   I covered the usual history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and how each population group came to be in the area during the 3 hours we had on the road.   We arrived 15 minutes early for the Cat tour and in this time rested before a very exciting time seeing these amazing endangered African cats.   We first began with the African Wild cat then the Caracal before visiting the Cheetah for some hands on experience and then the Servals.   3 day safari from Durban; Caracal 3 day safari from Durban; Caracal                               We also got to interact with Rain one of the new Cheetah cubs. We actually got to have here run around us playing with a soccer ball before she got interested in the male Cheetahs in the next enclosure.   3 day safari from Durban; Cheetah cub 3 day safari from Durban; Cheetah cub                               We then made our way to the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and it was here we really began our safari from Durban.   We really had a good start with some Zebra and Warthog near the gate, as we continued we spotted some Buffalo in the distance and then a few Giraffe one of which with patients we were able to get to cross the road in front of us.   3 day safari from Durban; Giraffe crossing road 3 day safari from Durban; Giraffe crossing road                               It was now time to make our way to Hilltop camp and it was time for a lovely lunch before I got word of Lions down south so I made the crazy call of rushing off down there to see if we could get lucky on our Durban safari and see them.   We rushed and spotted a lovely male Rhino which I had to stop for as he was about to mark his territory and this was amazing as I filmed it!   3 day safari from Durban; Rhino 3 day safari from Durban; Rhino                               Video of Rhino marking his territory       We continued on and then as we got to where the Lions were we heard they had just crossed the road and were heading up the hill on the other side. We rushed to get some look at them but all we really could see was bums and they were far away!   I did make a video just to show you that we saw them and took a picture at full zoom which was terrible but a Lion is a Lion and that’s that!   3 day safari from Durban; Lions 3 day safari from Durban; Lions                               Video of Lions walking up hill       We were I think actually depressed at this point but we some how managed to find a huge herd of Elephant on our Durban safari and I saw they were moving fast to get to water so we waited for almost an hour in total for then to come out of the bushes into the open for us.   Finally they did and the sighting was amazing!   3 day safari from Durban; Elephants 3 day safari from Durban; Elephants                                           Video of Elephants crossing road in front of us.       They even in the video crossed the road in front of us there was about 150 Elephants in total which was really special to see so many!   We also had another great experience with these Elephants and that was of them drinking which we had hoped we would see. It was really amazing as the one baby was also drinking from its mother at the same time as she was drinking water.   Video of Elephants drinking water and baby suckling.       After an amazing experience we began the safari back to camp and we saw about 8 Rhinos on the way before we got back and I checked the clients into there rooms safely. Here they rested for a short while and then we met for dinner.   The other half of the group I was driving on this 3 day safari a colleague of mine was taking and we all met at dinner so it was very exciting for us all.   Dinner was amazing with the great selection at Hilltop camp and then I had to go to bed as after the Zulu dancing the staff did for us my eyes could stay open no longer.   Day 2 would be a new adventure in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.       Day 2: 3 day Safari from Durban to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game     We began day 2 of our 3 day safari from Durban with breakfast and then headed down south to try our best at finding these Lions.   As we got down South we spotted a lovely dazzle of Zebra which were right next to the road and posing for us so this was a real African safari moment!   3 day safari from Durban; Zebra 3 day safari from Durban; Zebra                               Video of Zebra crossing the road on our Durban 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.       We moved on from them and found more Rhino to add to our list as well as lots of Impala the McDonalds of the bush!   This was a dominant male which was spraying urine to mark his territory.    3 day safari from Durban; Rhino male 3 day safari from Durban; Rhino male                               As we crossed over the Umfolozi river I was hoping to see some big animals but instead we saw some Storks and a Nile Crocodile. He was just resting on the sand and we saw him again later that day when we drove back past him during our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.   3 day safari from Durban; Nile Crocodile 3 day safari from Durban; Nile Crocodile                               As we passed through Mpila camp we stopped for a break and after this we managed to find some Giraffe near the road. We spent some time watching them as they were feeding and moving around. We then left them and continued our Durban safari.   3 day safari from Durban; Giraffe 3 day safari from Durban; Giraffe                               We then spotted a Leopard Tortoise crossing the road. We seemed to have great luck with animals crossing the road on this Safari from Durban. This little fella also had his tongue out of his mouth at us!   3 day safari from Durban; Leopard Tortoise 3 day safari from Durban; Leopard Tortoise                               We got into the area where Lion had been seen but sadly they had moved off and we were left looking at Wildebeest, Impala, Kudu and Buffalo. We actually had a great sighting of Buffalo a huge herd near the road.   3 day safari from Durban; Cape Buffalo 3 day safari from Durban; Cape Buffalo                                           We stopped for lunch at the Centenary center where we also looked at some curios and then we spotted an animal I am very familiar with! It is one of those South African children with no children present! It was a new and interesting sighting as this Homo Sapien climbed up upon the back of the brace Black Rhino Statue at the Centenary centre and pretended to ride the Rhino like a bicycle!   I was very interested in this strange but new sighting for us. Lol    3 day safari from Durban; Homo Sapien riding a Rhino 3 day safari from Durban; Homo Sapien riding a Rhino                               All jokes aside we them began to make our way back to Hilltop camp to have a little rest before the evening game drive safari. Before we could get there though we found a few bull Elephants and a herd of Elephant near the road.   3 day safari from Durban; Elephants 3 day safari from Durban; Elephants                               We then arrived back at Hilltop camp and had about 1.5 hours before we would meet again for the evening open vehicle game drive. I was really hoping my clients would get to see these pesky Lions which had caused me so much stress during the 2 days to date.   A couple of my clients went through for an early dinner as did I, We then went to bed and the others came through later for some food.     Day 3: 3 day Safari from Durban to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game     We began our morning game drive safari at 6am in the hope that we would find these Lions again and a little bit closer. I was really happy to hear that my clients has seen the lions on the evening night drive. This sort of relieved some of the pressure off my shoulders but only 4 of my 6 clients had take the game drive and seen the lions, this meant I had to find them.   3 day safari from Durban; Sunrise in Hluhluwe 3 day safari from Durban; Sunrise in Hluhluwe                               After this amazing sun rise we continued and found a mother Rhino and calf with a Big male who was interested in her. She showed here displeasure and he shifted off but not before we got a photo of him crossing the road in front of us.   3 day safari from Durban; Rhino crossing road 3 day safari from Durban; Rhino crossing road                               As we cruised around we stopped at one of the view points over the Hluhluwe river and I spotted something moving in the distance at another view point. I looked with my binoculars and it was lions. I literally told everyone to hold on as they were moving away from the river and we rushed around to where they were and luck for us we got to see them crossing and heading up a path. If we were 5 minutes later we would have seen nothing! I was really happy!    3 day safari from Durban; Lions in Hluhluwe 3 day safari from Durban; Lions in Hluhluwe                                         Video of Lions seen on our 3 day Durban safari tour.       We then continued our 3 day Durban safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and tried to see what else we could find. We were luck as not much further along we spotted a Rhino drinking water and later a Buffalo bull full of Red billed Ox peckers on his back crossing the road in front of us.   3 day safari from Durban; Buffalo crosses road and Rhino Drinks 3 day safari from Durban; Buffalo crosses road and Rhino Drinks                                         Moving along we spotted Giraffe in the distance more Rhino, Buffalo and Impala. We had really been spoiled on this 3 day Durban safari tour that we were complaining we hadn’t seen a really good quality Elephant sighting since day one.   It wasn’t long and we spotted a Giraffe with a Little baby which was new for us and the a big Buffalo bull approached them it was interested to watch as the mother Giraffe just stared a him and he walked around them with not a bother in the world.   3 day safari from Durban; Buffalo approaches a Giraffe mother and calf 3 day safari from Durban; Buffalo approaches a Giraffe mother and calf                               It was not time to head back to the lodge for some breakfast and then check out before a final dash down to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Weland Park to view Hippos and crocodiles from a boat. It was a lovely 2 hour boat cruise and at St Lucia we saw some really interesting things on this final stretch of our Durban safari tour.   First we spotted a Big Crocodile and caught an African Fish eagle in flight which was amazing!   3 day safari from Durban; St Lucia; Fish eagle in flight and a Crocodile 3 day safari from Durban; St Lucia; Fish eagle in flight and a Crocodile                                       We then had a couple of really interesting sighting. The first was of two Bull Buffaloes from the Eastern shores of Isimangeliso Wetland park which were walking in the estuary and the came across a crocodile which they approached and it just swam off before getting trampled on. I made a video of it below:   Video of Buffaloes Approaching a crocodile in St Lucia Estuary at Isimangeliso Wetalnd Park.       As we continued up stream we found lots of pods of Hippos and one was very interesting as his upper canines were growing out the side of the mouth instead of in the mouth! This was interesting and shows that even with some disability you can survive and be a big male.   3 day safari from Durban; Hippos at St Lucia 3 day safari from Durban; Hippos at St Lucia                               After a great cruise on lake St Lucia we made our way into the town not before getting a group photo to remember the 3 days we had spent on safari together.   3 day safari from Durban; Picture of the group 3 day safari from Durban; Picture of the group                               It was now time for some lunch and we enjoyed some seafood, steak and a few other bits and pieces. It was lovely and a great way to end the 3 days of our Durban safari tour. It was now just a 2.5 hour drive back to Durban (Umhlanga) where I was dropping off my clients for a rest before a bit wedding. If you wish to be a part of one of these Durban safari tours contact Tim Brown – [email protected]