Drakensberg Tours Archives - Tim Brown Tours

Drakensberg Mountains Tour

The Drakensberg mountains are for me the most majestic mountains to tour and to share this place with my clients is truly a blessing!

Drakensberg tour

Drakensberg tour – 20th July 2015   We began our Drakensberg day tour just outside Durban from my home as I was taking my cousins and wife up the Sani pass into Lesotho. It had been 13 years since I had seen my cousin so I was pretty happy about showing off my beautiful country to them and having my wife come with us as well.   I did the usual covering some of the history of the area of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa before we arrived in Underberg and changed over vehicles into a 4×4 to go up the Sani pass.   Lesotho is an amazing country with the Drakensberg mountain as its border. In Zulu we call it Ukhahlamba which means the barrier of spears and the word “Drakensberg” means dragons peak!   The view up the Sani pass in the Drakensberg was lovely today as it was a clear day.         Drakensberg tour, View up the Drakensberg Drakensberg tour, View up the Drakensberg                               We had a very lucky day on our way up to Lesotho and in Lesotho itself, we spotted a host of Jackal Buzzards and Pied crows… As well as Dassies(Rock Hyrax), Eland antelope and Reebuck. We even spotted some Ground Woodpeckers.         Drakensberg tour, Ground Wood Pecker Drakensberg tour, Ground Wood Pecker                               The Eland are the Bushmen or San peoples totem animal and these people were the original South Africans that were sadly killed out by every other group of people that are in South African today. The Eland had special powers for the San people and they would use it to communicate with there ancestors.         Drakensberg tour, Eland Drakensberg tour, Eland                                 On route up the Drakensberg on our day tour into Lesotho we came across a small waterfall up Sani Pass called Lovers Cascade. It is believed that here the San people would come to drink the fresh water and which would give them eternal life…         Drakensberg tour, Lovers cascade! Drakensberg tour, Lovers cascade!                                 We then stopped at the South African border post before we continued the 8 kilometers to Sani top the highest pub in Africa and of course the Lesotho border post. We got the passports stamped and I got a picture of my cousins.         Drakensberg tour, My cousins at the South African border post Drakensberg tour, My cousins at the South African border post                               As we made our way into Lesotho we noticed that there was snow in the mountain and some of the hairpin bends were which has waterfalls were frozen over. It was about 9 degrees up the sani pass but mostly due to to cold breeze. It was now time for us to visit the Basotho village and to enter one of the huts to learn more about the Basotho people and taste some lovely home made bread.         Drakensberg tour, Snow in the Drakensberg Drakensberg tour, Snow in the Drakensberg                               After the great hospitality we continued our Drakensberg tour and made our way to the Highest pub in Africa, Sani Top. It was here we had some lunch and enjoyed the great views as well as the warmth of the Pub as it was so cold.           Drakensberg tour, Highest pub in Africa Drakensberg tour, Highest pub in Africa                                 After lunch it was time to begin the journey down the Sani pass and enjoy the spectacular views of the Drakensberg mountain leaving Lesotho behind us.   It was a beautiful decent down the Drakensberg mountain and we arrived back at the bottom at about 15:30.           Drakensberg tour, View down Sani pass in the Drakensberg Drakensberg tour, View down Sani pass in the Drakensberg                               Once we got to the bottom we stretched our legs after the “African Massage” on the bumpy dirt roads and made our way back home after what turned out to be a very long but enjoyable day.   Our Drakensberg day tour ended back at our home where we enjoyed some food and a special drink my cousins brought for us. It was a special day!   If you would like to do this tour into the Drakensberg click the below link:   Drakensberg day tour

Drakensberg tour

Drakensberg private day tour     I met my client in Umhlanga north of Durban for his Drakensberg private day tour and it was an early start. I was there at 05:30 for 6am and we then drove to Underberg in the Southern Drakensberg and where the temperatures dropped to 0 Degrees Celsius. It was going to be a cold day!   When we arrived in Underberg to swap over into a 4×4 vehicle to go up the Sani pass (the only way you can get up) we had some coffee and noted that the top of the mountain had snow on it which was great! As we began up Sani pass we stopped along the way to enjoy the views and this beautiful Durban day tour in the Drakensberg mountains.           Drakensberg tour; View up Sani pass Drakensberg tour; View up Sani pass                               Sani pass is an old trading route between Lesotho and South Africa on the eastern side of Lesotho which is a land locked country and on average the highest country in the world. The lowest point is about 1300 meters and the highest is 3500 meters.   The views as you can imagine are amazing and well worth a visit.          Drakensberg tour; Second view up Sani pass Drakensberg tour; Second view up Sani pass                               Aside of stopping for the great views we stopped at the South African border post to get our passports stamped as we entered into 8 kilometers of No mans land which actually belongs to South Africa before the hair-bends which rise us up into Lesotho the mountain kingdom.   Yes Lesotho is a Kingdom and has a King who thankfully only has one wife and a few kids but is slightly involved with the running of the Country although there is a prime minister.         Drakensberg tour; South African border post to Lesotho Drakensberg tour; South African border post to Lesotho                               After getting up into Lesotho and passing the boarder post we stopped to look the the amazingly baron land that this small village on the Eastern side of Lesotho has and must still survive. A Drakensberg tour of this nature is always interesting and makes you realize what you have back home as these people really battle and with the little tourism that they now have they are starting to get some help.         Drakensberg tour; Snow in Lesotho Drakensberg tour; Snow in Lesotho                               It was not time to visit one of the ladies in the village and enter her hut to learn more about the amazing culture of the Basotho people as well as taste the lovely Basotho pot bread! The bread could be my favourite part of the tour!         Drakensberg tour; Basotho village Drakensberg tour; Basotho village                               This baron land is no good for growing of crops as it is the highlands of Lesotho and very rocky. This means the people in this area have to travel either into South Africa to get food or 56 kilometers to the nearest town.   They do have a Pig with piglets and of course the Basotho Shepherds have meat from the Angora goat or the Marino Sheep that they also sell to South Africa.   Our next stop was Africa’s Highest Pub at 2874 meters above sea level which is high. I always get a headache up here but it is worth it. The food is good and the views amazing.         Drakensberg tour; Sign at the Highest Pub in Africa Drakensberg tour; Sign at the Highest Pub in Africa                               I snapped away and also got a picture of James in the bar on this Drakensberg day tour.         Drakensberg tour; James at the bar of the Highest Pub in Africa Drakensberg tour; James at the bar of the Highest Pub in Africa                                 After this amazing experience we made our way down the Sani pass still looking for the Eland antelope which we did not see but non of us really worried about it as we had seem so much.   On the animal front which was a bonus we spotted Baboons, Rock Hyrax as well as a Spotted Eagle own on the the way down which was really odd as it was just after 3pm! They are supposed to be sleeping! I always love seeing animals out of normal routine as it just shows even if you read all the books on them they will surprise you!         Drakensberg tour; Spotted eagle owl Drakensberg tour; Spotted eagle owl                               We had an amazing time on our Drakensberg day tour and had so many memories to take home with us. We just had the drive back to Umhlanga left and it wasn’t to bad even though we were pretty tired our Durban day tour had really been worth it. If you would like to join the Sani Pass Drakensberg day tour you can check out the itinerary and the pricing on the below link:   Sani Pass day tour from Durban    

Sani Pass Tour

Sani Pass Tour into Lesotho 10th June 2015     I met my clients in Durban and we began the 2.5 – 3 hour drive up to Underberg where we would be ascending into the mountain kingdom of Lesotho via the Sani Pass. It was a very cold day and on route to Underberg we actually saw the mercury drop down to 1 degree Celsius which was quite something for South Africa and KwaZulu Natal, but it was our winter! As we drove I chatted about some of the interesting history but as my client we Lawyers they were keen on hearing my opinion on the state of the Nation.   We arrived in Underberg and it was around 5 degrees. After fulling up the paper work it was time to get into the 4×4 vehicle and we made our way slowly up the pass climbing over 1500 meters in a couple hours. We always stop to look at the amazing view on these Sani Pass tours so we can get some great pictures.         Sani Pass Tour; View up Sani Pass Sani Pass Tour; View up Sani Pass                                 The Drakensberg or Ukhahlamba in Zulu meaning Barrier of Spears is South Africa’s second World heritage site behind St Lucia or Isimangeliso wetland park where we would be going the following day. These majestic mountains cover over 250 kilometers and rise up to about 3500 meters which is the highest point south of Kilimanjaro. We reached the South African border post and got out at passport control and stretched the legs.         Sani Pass Tour; South African border post Sani Pass Tour; South African border post                               We then continued out Sani pass tour and arrived at the Lesotho boarder post and the temperature was 9 degrees we were all sure it was less as it was freezing.   Here at the Sani Top you have the highest pub and Africa which we had lunch at and some interesting shops.         Sani Pass Tour; Shop in Lesotho Sani Pass Tour; Shop in Lesotho                               The Chinese have just finished tarring the road from the top of the pass to the nearest town which made our drive really easy to the Basotho village where we met a couple Sesotho people and entered into one of the ladies huts for a taste of her free pot bread. It was as always lovely!         Sani Pass Tour; Basotho pot bread Sani Pass Tour; Basotho pot bread                               We also got to see some pigs which sound crazy but the mother pig had babies and they were actually cute. They even started sucking while we were there and this was a sight to behold as they gorged themselves! Sani pass is really a lovely way to access Lesotho if you have a 4×4 and is well worth the visit. We had learned more about the Basotho people and their culture so after a final picture of the Basotho hut we made our way back to Sani top to have lunch at the highest pub in Africa situated at 2874 meters above sea level!           Sani Pass Tour; Basotho hut Sani Pass Tour; Basotho hut                                 The lunch was great and we enjoyed the views down the mountain and Sani pass before getting back into the vehicle and making our way down from Lesotho leaving the majestic Sani Pass behind us and re-entering South Africa.           Sani Pass Tour; View down Sani Pass Sani Pass Tour; View down Sani Pass                               The hairpin bends at the last section of Sani pass are something you have to witness to believe and they views on this Sani pass tour are amazing. Words cannot describe the area, you have to visit this amazing area on a Durban day tour.   We arrived safely back down in South African and made our way back to Durban arriving home before 7am. The next day would be the St Lucia day tour. 

Sani Pass Drakensberg day tour

Sani Pass Drakensberg day tour 25th April 2015   I met me clients in Durban and they would be doing two days of touring with me beginning with today’s Sani Pass Drakensberg day tour from Durban. It was an early start at 6am and we began the almost 3 hour drive to the base of Sani pass which boarders on Lesotho the mountain kingdom. It was here we met with the 4×4 vehicles for the tour itself of the Drakensberg. On route I had already set the scene and covered a lot of the History of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa.   As we ascended the great Drakensberg over into Lesotho we enjoyed the spectacular views of the mountain and enjoyed the day of touring from Durban.        Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Picture going up Sani Pass Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Picture going up Sani Pass                               Every so often we go out of the vehicle to stretch the legs and enjoy the view on route to our destination Lesotho and the highest Pub in Africa! We got the the South African border post and after the formalities of passport stamping we spotted some Eland up on the hill. These majestic antelope are the original people of South Africa, the bushmen’s totem animal. The blood and fat of these animals were used in the paint of the Bushmen in the cliff overhangs in this Drakensberg range. The name itself Drakensberg means Dragons peak and the Zulu name “Ukhahlamba” mean barrier of spears! Both names are so indicative of this amazing mountain which is a mixture of Sand stone and Basalt rock.           Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Picture of Eland Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Picture of Eland                                 We finally reached boarder post into Lesotho at an altitude of 2874 meters above sea level. Having come from Sea level it was pretty high and it is normal to have a little headache.  It was hear that we had conquered this great mountain to reach its summit as many other had done before us. We spotted a little shop at the top before heading to the highest pub in Africa.       Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Shop at Sani top Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Shop at Sani top                               Lesotho on the eastern side is very baron and this pass was originally used for Donkeys and horses to trade with the South Africans with Mohair and wool. It is such a rough arid environment that you just cannot see how people can survive here, but they do. The nearest school is 50 km away so when the kids leave for school they only return for holidays to see their family.         Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Basotho homes Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Basotho homes                               At the moment the Chinese are in Lesotho creating a road from the village at Sani Pass to the nearest town where the kids get educated. The agreement is that they must use local staff for the labour. We had a great lunch under the hot Lesotho sun but with the breeze we were all a little cold however that wasn’t going to stop us from enjoying the breathtaking views, the Basotho Shepherds and after lunch the Basotho village. It was here we entered into on of the locals homes and she had some bread in a pot on coals and she was kind enough to share some with us and even allow us to taste there traditional beer.   The views on the way down were just as good as on the way up the pass and our Drakensberg day tour from Durban had really been amazing.         Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Picture coming down Sani pass Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Picture coming down Sani pass                               We were grateful for the amazing weather that we had been blessed with and the amazing sights and sounds of this mountain we have come to know as the Drakensberg. After we arrived back at the bottom we headed off to Durban where I dropped my clients off at a restaurant I recommended and then I headed back home for the night.   It had been a great Durban day tour up Sani Pass into Lesotho.

Drakensberg day tour – Sani pass Lesotho

Drakensberg day tour – Sani pass Lesotho 12th March 2015   I met my clients in Durban for their Drakensberg day tour where we would be going up the pass into Lesotho a land locked country in South Africa and on average the highest country in the world. We headed to UnderBerg where we would meet the 4×4 vehicle to begin our Durban Day Tour which would take us over into the Drakensberg/Lesotho via the Sani Pass. Sani Pass is a massive 2874 meters above sea level and has the Highest Pub in Africa at the top. Lesotho in the Drakensberg is on average over the country the Highest country in the world! This is mostly due to it being one of only a few countries which is land locked by one country(South Africa). The Zulu Name for this amazing mountain range is Ukhahlamba which in English mean Barrier of Spears due to the nature of the difficulty to cross these majestic mountains. This eastern side of Lesotho is the most baron part of Lesotho and only a handful of Hardy people live here. The Sani Pass has been used for years as a trading point for the Basotho(people of Lesotho) to Shear their sheep and goats and sell it to the South Africans. The Drakensberg Day Tour from Durban is only 2.5 – 3 hours away from the city of Durban and is spectacular. If you are in the Durban are you need to take thisDurban day tour with Tim Brown Tours. We begun this amazing Durban Day Tour at 09:00 from Underberg and on route had some spectacular views of the Drakensberg mountain. We first stopped at the old Ticket station where if you are moving between Lesotho and South Africa you need to stop and put your name on the list so that the taxi knows who was there first before traversing the Sani pass into Lesotho via the Drakensberg or into South Africa. Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, Waterfall   Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, Waterfall We continued up Sani Pass in the Drakensberg and stopped to look at the views in the mountain range the next stop being the border post into “No mans land” – the 8 Kilometers between the South African Border post and the Lesotho Border post. Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, South African Border post Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, South African Border post As we continued in no mans land we got some more amazing views up the Sani pass of the Drakensberg. For me it is like home and it holds so many memories for myself and my wife as we spend some of our Holidays in these majestic mountains. Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, View up the pass Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, View up the pass We continued up the Drakensberg and Sani Pass and reached ice corner which is so named because it is always got ice at that bend, when it snows that is a very difficult corner to traverse; even with a 4×4! After getting up Sani Pass and finally through the border post into Lesotho our Drakensberg Day Tour from Durban continued! We drove off to a Basotho village where we met with Me-Ilena and she was busy making the traditional Sotho pot bread. She was very welcoming and invited her into her home and we learned more on the Sotho Culture. Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, Sotho hut Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, Sotho hut It was not time to see the amazing bread the lady of the house had prepared, Just so you know this is as rural a place as possible and we are actually entering some body’s home so this is a real honor to taste her bread and it is amazing! Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, Basotho bread Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, Basotho bread Before leaving the hut we learned more about the Sotho culture and also saw some 5 week old kittens. I had one of the cats laying on my lap and I was a bit surprised to find out it was the male! It was now time to head to the highest pub in Africa, Sani Top! Before we could get there we spotted a Basotho Shepard or herder. Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, Basotho herder Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, Basotho herder Lunch at the highest Pub in Africa was amazing and at that altitude I must say I got a headache the wind chill factor didn’t help as it reduced the temperature. At least the pub is warm inside! Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, Highest Pub in Africa Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, Highest Pub in Africa We left the Highest Pub in Africa in the Drakensberg/Lesotho and made our way back down the mountain the views were amazing and we were all very content with how the Durban Day Tour to the Drakensberg had panned out. The view down the pass from the Top of Sani Pass on our Durban Day Tour to Sani Pass Drakensberg was amazing and I had to take more pictures. Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, View down the pass Drakensberg day tour, Sani Pass, View down the pass The view was so amazing the the drive so steep that I tried to film some of it to show you how it is driving down there but it is nothing like the real thing. You will have to just book a Drakensberg day tour to Sani pass to really see it. Video of drive down the Sani pass – Drakensberg. The Sani Pass Tour from Durban into the Drakensberg are so special and you have to experience it to believe it!

Wild dogs mating and then get chased by Rhinos during one of our safari tours

Wild dogs mating and then get chased by Rhinos during one of our safari tours       These moments I get to share with my clients and with nature are very special to me. This particular day we had clients arriving late so we just began our safari tour later. We got out into the African bush and were truly blessed to have such an amazing sighting just a couple kilometers from the lodge. The Wild Dogs where just playing around an were also about to go hunting when the Alpha Male and Female began to mate. As you can see in the video these Rhinos did not take kindly to these predators in the feeding grounds and chased them! Very exciting to witness. Wild Dogs are a breed of their own they are not related to wolves and are only found in Africa. What makes them even more special is the fact that they are the most endangered carnivore in Africa with less than 5000 individuals left in Africa. Major issues which have kept their number down are : Habitat loss and mostly getting into contact with domestic dogs outside the National parks which have Rabies or Canine distemper. This has been the major contributing factor to their decline in numbers. Rhinos themselves are in a battle to survive with some experts suggesting that by 2020 their will be no Rhinos left in Africa. This is probably slightly incorrect but they are being killed at an alarming rate with numbers killed in 2012 being around 868 and in 2013 around 1004. This year of 2014 is no different with close on 1000 killed that we know about by mid December. The reason for the poaching are simple. Their are two major markets, China and Arabia. The Chinese believe that the crushed Rhino horn can cure cancer as well as general cold and flu. Some Arabian countries like Oman believe that when there son reaches the age of 12 he becomes a man and the father give the gift of a Rhino horn handle on the Dagger which is the gift. This is of course reserved for those fathers that can afford to use this material. Rhino horn is made of 3 major compounds:  Keratin – a compacted hair formation which is what forms horns on antelope and our own finger nails. Calcium – a bone structure adding strength the the horn and; Melanin – which is what we have in our skin to protect us from the UV rays of the sunshine, some people have more than others.   Sadly traditional beliefs in this situation are to the detriment of the Rhino and not their to protect them as in most cultural beliefs.   Why don’t you join us, Tim Brown Tours on a Durban Safari or Durban Tour to any of the 3 major destinations in KwaZulu-Natal that we offer. The Big 5 game reserves, Drakensberg mountain tours or Battlefield tours. Within these category’s we cover: History, Culture and Nature. We look forward to meeting you and showing off our beautiful country to you and your family or friends.  

Drakensberg 3 Day hiking and scenic Tour

Drakensberg 3 Day hiking and scenic Tour 26 – 28 November 2014      I collected my client from their hotel at 7am, this was the same group that we with me on the previous Durban Safari Tour. Our Drakensberg leg of our Tour would be very different to the game reserve safari tour. We began at the Nelson Mandela Capture site near Howick and this was a great part of the tour to learn about the big man and the way he chose to lead his life post imprisonment.   Nelson Mandela capture site seen on our Durban Drakensberg and Midlands Tour Nelson Mandela capture site seen on our Durban Drakensberg and Midlands Tour                                     The actual capture site is across on the other side of the road where a plaque stands to commemorate this day in 1962 when Mandela finally was captured for trying to overthrow the South African Apartheid government.   My clients at the Mandela capture site plaque My clients at the Mandela capture site plaque                                     The latest edition to the capture site is a architectural structure which I can only describe as amazing that from one angle only shows the face of Mandela! This means of course that you have to enter the Museum section and take a “long walk to freedom” as they call it in order to see this amazing structure. Well worth the 200 meter walk…   The new steel construction which shows Madibas face only at one angle The new steel construction which shows Madibas face only at one angle                                     Nelson Mandela was also known as “Madiba” which was the name given to him by his clan/Tribe it is said that he was born of a Royal Chief of the AmaThembu people in the Eastern cape and his father relinquished this title due to a misunderstanding/dispute over stolen cattle…   After this amazing visit I decided to add in the Howick Falls and craft shops to the itinerary as we had the time and it wasn’t far away. Howick is a lovely quaint British colonial town in the Midland of our beautiful province of KwaZulu-Natal.   Howick falls near Mandela capture site Howick falls near Mandela capture site                                       Howick falls is about a 96 meters drop and one of the higher waterfalls in South Africa but well behind Tugela falls at 947 meters. Once we had enjoyed the view of the falls we moved up the streets into the town to look at the lovely shops and have some coffee. I made the mistake of buying Joey a Vuvuzela and him being interested in music drove his poor mother mad. I do apologize Betsy! Sorry. At least Joey liked the Vuvuzela and Dave his father also gave it a blow.   At this point we headed for our destination the amazing Central Drakensberg – Cathedral Peak and Didima where we would be spending a couple of nights. The views were breath taking and the villages we passed through were so rural but amazingly happy. I always say people are happier with less and less is more!   Once we arrived and got settled at Didima we headed out on a hike to the lovely Doreen falls. We saw so much along the way including Protea flowers, Imphepo – a herb used to ward off evil spirits by burning it in your hut and breath taking scenery!    Protea flower in the Drakensberg on our first hike Protea flower in the Drakensberg on our first hike                                         Stuck between a Rock and a hard place seen on our Drakensberg Tour Stuck between a Rock and a hard place seen on our Drakensberg Tour                                     When we got to Doreen falls itself if was flowing beautifully and because we are so high up you can drink they clean mountain water naturally filtered by the rocks. I got my clients to pose behind the falls as there is a lovely cave there that could have been used by the San Bushmen as shelter hundreds of years earlier.   Doreen Falls with my clients behind the falls during our Drakensberg Tour Doreen Falls with my clients behind the falls during our Drakensberg Tour                                       As we made our way back down we came across a Reed buck male and female which were alarm calling once they spotted us. We stopped and gazed at them before the decided it was time to head off and leave us in their wake!   Reedbuck seen in the Drakensberg mountains on a hike Reedbuck seen in the Drakensberg mountains on a hike                                       It was time to get back to Didima lodge for the night. We had a lovely dinner and had our day all planned for the next day with some hiking in the Northern Drakensberg – Royal Natal National Park.   Day 2: Drakensberg 3 Day hiking and scenic Tour   We awoke to the amazing clear Cathedral Peak visible from our rooms! What a lovely sight before some breakfast and an hour drive to the Northern Drakensberg!   View on the second morning from my room of Cathedral peak in the Drakensberg View on the second morning from my room of Cathedral peak in the Drakensberg                                       When we arrived in Royal Natal National Park named after Queen Victoria’s visit in the 1940’s we began with a short hike up to some Bushman painting which are 800 years old. These are young in the greater scheme of things as we have bushman painting dating back as far as 28 000 years. These amazing 4 foot high people have been roaming these mountain peaks for the past 40 000 years until modern man arrived.   Bushman paintings that are 800 years old seen on a hike in the Northern Drakensberg Bushman paintings that are 800 years old seen on a hike in the Northern Drakensberg                                       Myself showing some of these amazing Bushman paintings in the Drakensberg Myself showing some of these amazing Bushman paintings in the Drakensberg                                         The sites are protected and can only be seen with a guide. Over years people have defaced these amazing pictures and this is what has now caused the protection of the artwork. Thank you to David and his friends…   Before we descended the slopes I pointed out some fossils of a sea snail proving that at one time the Drakensberg was under water and it was an inland sea. Unbelievable as they are over 3000 meters above it now…   Fossils in the Drakensberg of sea shells seen on one of our hikes Fossils in the Drakensberg of sea shells seen on one of our hikes                                       We began the descent and the views were lovely, we still have a 3- 4 hour hike ahead of us so it was important to get down and begin the longer hike as the wind was picking up and the weather forecast was a storm later in the afternoon which we didn’t want to get caught in. Dave’s clever solution was to take the ponchos with us and this would ward off the rain, which it did!   Drakensberg day 2 view of the Northern Drakensberg Mont aux Sources Drakensberg day 2 view of the Northern Drakensberg Mont aux Sources                                     I quickly signed the hiking register and got ourselves started on the big hike up from Mahai to Tiger falls, Look out Rock, Gudu falls and Gudu forest before the descent to Mahai parking lot.   The view before we left was as follows:   View of the area we hiked on Day 2 in the Northern Drakensberg on our Tour View of the area we hiked on Day 2 in the Northern Drakensberg on our Tour                                     We enjoyed the views of “Sleeping Beauty” and all the wild flowers before arriving at Tiger falls. This is a very special area for me as I have walked this area from a small boy. Tiger falls didn’t seem to have much water but it was a great place to refuel on mountain water before making our way around to “Look out Rock”.    Tiger Falls in the Northern Drakensberg during our hiking tour from Durban Tiger Falls in the Northern Drakensberg during our hiking tour from Durban                               After look out rock I think we were all getting a little hungry as the pace picked up and Joey sped down the mountain like a gazelle! We tried to match him which only made us more tired when we got down to the bottom 3 hours after beginning this hike.   Proteas in flower with the Drakensberg behind seen on our Drakensberg Tour Proteas in flower with the Drakensberg behind seen on our Drakensberg Tour                               At this point it was a matter of filling out the register to say we had returned safe and then we took the scenic drive to Hlalanathi where we would have lunch.  My chocolate coffee was welcome after all the mountain water I had drunk and so was the Burger. It was already 3pm and we departed for Didima arriving near to 5pm. It was time for some rest before dinner which was again lovely.(excepting my missing pastry!) Finally the storm had caught up with us and the rain came at night. Bed was calling our names and we go back to the fireplace around 8-9pm for some sleep.   Day 3: Drakensberg 3 Day hiking and scenic Tour   This day was a later start 7am meeting for breakfast after packing luggage into the vehicle. Breakfast as pretty good and then after we checked out we went down to the Rock art center Museum and interpretive center. This Museum is amazing and has artifacts found on the San Bushmen dating way back. One of the most interesting finding is a full set of Bushman hunting equipment. A quiver, Arrows, poison pouch etc.   Bushman arrows and Quiver seen in a Muesem in the Drakensberg on our Tour Bushman arrows and Quiver seen in a Muesem in the Drakensberg on our Tour                                       This was actually found by Mr J.S. Lombaard in 1926 in a cave in the Drakensberg mountains. He wrote a letter to request someone to purchase the items from him. It ended up in this museum we visited.   Letter from Mr Lombaard on the findings of the San Bushman Quiver and Arrows Letter from Mr Lombaard on the findings of the San Bushman Quiver and Arrows                                       One of the last remaining full blooded Bushmen on the eastern part of South Africa by the name Qing also described some of the culture to the western communities which was jotted down in booked and made public. The museum contains snippets of the things he said as well as a very powerful video which explains to you more about the bushmen and there ways.   Quotes from Qing a San Bushman who was interviewed on his people Quotes from Qing a San Bushman who was interviewed on his people                                       After this powerful experience we exited and took our final picture of my clients with a life size statue of an Eland the largest antelope in Africa and can weigh as much as 1000 Kgs.   My clients and a statue of an Eland antilope at Didima during our Drakensberg Tour My clients and a statue of an Eland antelope at Didima during our Drakensberg Tour                                     This ended the second part of our Tour, 3 days in the amazing Drakensberg Mountains. The Drakensberg meaning – Dragons Peak or in Zulu UKhahlamba – Barrier of Spears, these are name to describe this incredible place of peace and beauty!  

Sani Pass Drakensberg Day Tour from Durban

Sani Pass Drakensberg Day Tour from Durban– 21st November 2014     After collecting my clients from there respective hotels we began with the interesting drive to Underberg and Himeville where we meet our 4×4 vehicles and head up the Sani Pass into Lesotho   This whole are is known as the Drakensberg and is South Africa’s second world heritage site.   The Drakensberg mountain are best visited with a guide who knows the area and can expand on the history of the area and the original South Africans, the San – Bushmen.   Once we got into the 4×4 vehicle we headed up the pass stopping every so often to see the beauty of this over 3000 meter mountain.   Sani Pass artistic picture on our Durban Day Tour into the Drakensberg Sani Pass artistic picture on our Durban Day Tour into the Drakensberg                                       The next photo I chose was a picture of the group with the mighty Drakensberg as our back drop. This area is steeped in history and great beauty.   The group I took up Sani Pass into Lesotho during our Drakensberg Day Tour The group I took up Sani Pass into Lesotho during our Drakensberg Day Tour                                       We finally reached the top of the pass and passed through the two boarder posts and “No mans land” to get to the summit. Here we are 2874 meters above sea level and the country changes to Lesotho. Lesotho is the highest country on average in the world as it is land locked within South Africa.   It was here that we visited a SeSotho village. We met with one of the local ladies who showed us into her hut and we got to learn more of this great Sotho culture. She even had the bread ready for us to taste, real Basotho bread. It was amazing!   Basotho hut seen in Lesotho on our Durban Day Tour to the Drakensberg up Sani Pass Basotho hut seen in Lesotho on our Durban Day Tour to the Drakensberg up Sani Pass                                         Outside the hut was some chickens and the ladies husband was weaving some Sotho hats together. We also got some entertainment from the local sheep herders.   Sesotho Boys play home made musical instruments on our Durban Day Tour to the Drakensberg Sesotho Boys play home made musical instruments on our Durban Day Tour to the Drakensberg                                         We then moved on to the sheep shearing sheds and then to the highest pub in Africa. At 2874 meters above sea level it is a real gem and the food is great.   I had a lovely Burger before we continued back down the Sani Pass.   As we were at the top I took one last photo of the view.   View from the top of Sani Pass in the Drakensberg during our Durban Day Tour View from the top of Sani Pass in the Drakensberg during our Durban Day Tour                                       We continued down and the man which carries the wood every day from the bottom of pass to the top was on his way back up to see if he could sell the wood for money.   We always pay him for his photo out of respect before taking his picture.   Sesotho man carries wood up the Sani Pass on our Durban Day Tour Sesotho man carries wood up the Sani Pass on our Durban Day Tour                                       On the way down after this amazing Sani Pass Drakensberg Tour from Durban we stopped and took a picture of some lovely rock structures.   The Drakensberg mountains are really and amazing place to visit and rank as some of the most spectacular in the world. Join me for a Durban Day Tour in the mountains of KwaZulu-Natal.      Drakensberg Rock art see on our Durban Drakensberg Day Tour Drakensberg Rock art see on our Durban Drakensberg Day Tour                                       Our final stop was the bottom of the pass in Underberg and we then changed vehicles and headed the 3 hours back to Durban City. This had been as great Durban Day Tour.

Durban KwaZulu-Natal 5 Day Safari of the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and Tour to the Drakensberg 18 August – 22 August 2014

Durban KwaZulu-Natal 5 Day Safari of the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and Tour to the Drakensberg 18 August – 22 August 2014   Our Durban, KwaZulu-Natal 5 Day Safari began in Durban(Umhlanga) where I met my clients. Neil had been with me a year ago and had returned with his wife and son to share his experiences with them. I am always happy when clients return for a second taste of the South African National parks.   I began by covering some of the history of Durban and KwaZulu-Natal as well as the history behind the national parks we would be visiting on day one.   Day one began at St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland Park where we would embark on a 2 hour Estuary cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles. Isimangeliso Wetland Park is South Africa’s first world heritage site. It was decided by UNESCO in 1999. Upon arrival we had a look at a craft market and began this exciting cruise where we also spotted lots of birdlife.   One of the first things we spotted was this African Fish Eagle which was perched on a tree in the Estuary of St Lucia.   African fish eagle on Day 1 of our 5 Day Safari tour seen at St Lucia African fish eagle on Day 1 of our 5 Day Safari tour seen at St Lucia                                     As we continued on and enjoyed the breeze we came across a few large pods of Hippos. This picture below was one of many we saw this day.   Hippos seen on Day 1 of our Durban Safari Tour at St Lucia Hippos seen on Day 1 of our Durban Safari Tour at St Lucia                                     During this St Lucia boat safari we spotted some crocodiles as well but I chose this picture of the Estuary mouth with the Crocodiles resting on a sand bank. The Indian Ocean is in the back ground.   St Lucia Estuary mouth with 2 Big crocodiles on a sand bank during our Durban Safari Tour St Lucia Estuary mouth with 2 Big crocodiles on a sand bank during our Durban Safari Tour                                     Once we finished up here we went into the town and got some lunch before making our way to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, Africa’s oldest protected area. We entered at Memorial gate and spotted some Rhinos, Zebra, Buffalo and Wildebeest before arriving at Hilltop camp and checking in for 2 nights.   Zebra foul seen on Day 1 of our 5 Day Durban safari tour seen in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve Zebra foul seen on Day 1 of our 5 Day Durban safari tour seen in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve                                     The view from Hilltop camp is spectacular and after a short rest it was time for the evening game drive Safari Tour in the open vehicle. The clients got to see Elephant and Genet which we had not seen on the drive into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.   Huhluwe Imfolozi game has amazing Flora and Fauna and is a very diverse game reserve. The seasons have a huge effect on this protected National Park and this time of the year is really dry and baron with almost no water except in the river systems.   The National park of Hluhluwe Imfolozi is home to the Big 5: Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. Being only 3 hours from Durban it is a must visit with a Guide if you are in the area!   Upon our return to Hilltop camp we had dinner and went to bed ready for the new day.   Day 2: Durban KwaZulu-Natal 5 Day Safari of the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and Tour to the Drakensberg 18 August – 22 August 2014   We met at 7am for breakfast before heading into the Umfolozi section of the game reserve. We spotted many things including Giraffe, Zebra and Impala.   I selected this picture of the White backed Vulture on a nest as the first one as Greg loved Birds.   Day 2 of our Durban Safari tour we spotted this white backed vulture on her nest Day 2 of our Durban Safari tour we spotted this white backed vulture on her nest                                     A bit further on we found a bull Elephant but he was in the thick bush so his picture didn’t get selected. However the next sighting was a Buffalo bull and he gave us a great stare which I captured and you can see below.   Buffalo bull gives us the stare on Day 2 of our Durban Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve Buffalo bull gives us the stare on Day 2 of our Durban Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve                                     As we continued on our Big 5 Safari we had a great sighting of a Rhino chasing warthogs as he tried to cross to the road. It was a burned section so it looked great.   Rhino chases warthogs as he tries to cross the road on our 2nd Day of our Durban Safari tour Rhino chases warthogs as he tries to cross the road on our 2nd Day of our Durban Safari tour                                     We went to a view point to see if we could see anything and there were no cats but we spotted this great shot of a White fronted Bee eater.   White fronted bee eater seen in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on Day 2 of our Durban Safari Tour White fronted bee eater seen in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on Day 2 of our Durban Safari Tour                                       Near to the same spot were a Journey of Giraffe and a Dazzle of Zebra. The Giraffe got his picture taken.   Giraffe seen on our second Day in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on our Durban Safari Tour Giraffe seen on our second Day in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on our Durban Safari Tour                                       At this point I figured we better try a watering hole as we were not finding the cats, So we headed to Bhejane hide and got a great picture of 3 different species at the watering hole. This was a great sight during our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour.   Day 2 at Bhejane hide we saw 3 species of animals at the watering hole on our Durban safari Tour Day 2 at Bhejane hide we saw 3 species of animals at the watering hole on our Durban safari Tour                                     After a while we decided to head back to the home of Operation Rhino – Centenary centre to have some lunch and a rest. My clients also bought a few things at the curio shop before we departed to Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation centre for the 4pm Cat Tour. We were lucky as at the gate we spotted an old bull Elephant and he was feeding on some fresh shoots from an Acacia tree.   Elephant bull feeds off the fresh shoot of an Acacia during our Durban 5 day Safari Tour Elephant bull feeds off the fresh shoot of an Acacia during our Durban 5 day Safari Tour                                       We made it just in time to begin the feeding session Tour of the endangered Cat rehabilitation center.  Basically there are two tours a day and the second in the afternoon is when they feed the cats cuts of meat mostly chicken or wild meats. We got to interact with 3 of the 4 different species of endangered wild cat namely: African Wild cat, Serval and the Cheetah.   Cheetah at Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation center during our 5 Day Safari Tour Cheetah at Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation center during our 5 Day Safari Tour                                       After spending a good hour and a half with these amazing cats we returned to Memorial gate and got back to camp for dinner at 7pm.   Dinner was great and after the food and conversation it was now time for some rest and we went to bed.     Day 3: Durban KwaZulu-Natal 5 Day Safari of the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and Tour to the Drakensberg 18 August – 22 August 2014   We began at 7am when I met my clients to collect there luggage and get down for some breakfast. Today was our final day of our Durban Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.   After checking out we began a very long journey as we had one last chance to find Lions before driving cross country to Didima in the Central Drakensberg (Cathedral peak).   On route we saw loads of animals and on this Day we Spotted 4 of the Big 5! We finally found our lions resting in the Black Umfolozi river. We also spotted Black Rhino to add to our collection of White Rhino.   Giraffe on day 3 of our 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve Giraffe on day 3 of our 5 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve                                       The Lions were a real great stroke of good fortune and they were all resting in the river on a sand bank. The heat of 38 degrees the day before must have taken its toll on them.   Lions on Day 3 of our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve Lions on Day 3 of our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve                                       I bumped into an old friend who I did my training with years ago and he mentioned a sighting of a sleeping Black Rhino. We were heading to that spot and we managed to relocate the Rhino sleeping in the shade of a bush.   Black Rhino seen on our Big 5 Stretch of our Durban Safari Tour Black Rhino seen on our Big 5 Stretch of our Durban Safari Tour                                       After exiting Cengeni gate we heading to Ulundi, Vryheid, Dundee and Ladysmith before getting to the Drakensberg and Didima Lodge. This Journey took us 5 and a half hours to complete but we passed through rural South Africa and the Zulu Capital Ulundi. The battle of Ulundi saw the capture of the great Zulu King Cetswayo and his exile to Cape Town. Chelmsfords men defeated the Zulus and took over Ulundi.   After lunch in Vryheid we made it to Didima at 16:30 where we checked in and recovered before dinner and a nice fire place in our rooms.   Day 4: Durban KwaZulu-Natal 5 Day Safari of the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and Tour to the Drakensberg 18 August – 22 August 2014   We began day 4 with a great breakfast at Didima. After this we headed down to the Bushman Interpretive centre and Museum in the rain, thank goodness when we came out the rain held off somewhat and we headed to the hikers parking lot to begin our hike.   We hiked up to Doreen falls and up to a view point in the mountains before we headed back to the vehicle. During the hike up we spotted an Eland on the hill.   Female Eland on the Drakensberg mountain on our hike during our Durban Safari Tour Female Eland on the Drakensberg mountain on our hike during our Durban Safari Tour                                       As we continued with our Drakensberg Hike we enjoyed the views and sights and sounds. We spotted Baboons, heard a Jackal and found dung of Porcupines, Eland, Baboon and Jackal.   Stuck between and rock and a hard place are a Cabbage tree and a Yellow wood tree during our Drakensberg leg of our Durban Safari Tour Stuck between and rock and a hard place are a Cabbage tree and a Yellow wood tree during our Drakensberg leg of our Durban Safari Tour                                       Doreen falls had a fair amount of water and we spent some time there enjoying the scenery.   My clients in a cave with Doreen falls in front of then on our Drakensberg Durban Safari Tour My clients in a cave with Doreen falls in front of then on our Drakensberg Durban Safari Tour                                       Once we left the falls we hiked to a spot where we could enjoy the view and get a good picture.   The view of Cathedral Peak on our rainy day of hiking in Central Drakensberg during our Durban Safari Tour The view of Cathedral Peak on our rainy day of hiking in Central Drakensberg during our Durban Safari Tour                                     When we returned to the vehicle we got back to Didima lodge and I had some lunch before exhaustion set in and I rested my eyes for a couple hours before dinner and a bit of work.   After dinner I had some work to do before Bed.     Day 5: Durban KwaZulu-Natal 5 Day Safari of the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and Tour to the Drakensberg 18 August – 22 August 2014   After meeting my clients at 7am and collecting there luggage we went though for some breakfast before checking out.   It was then time to drive to my favourite part of the Drakensberg, the Northern Drakensberg. I have been visiting this area to hike since I was knee high to a Grasshopper.   We would first start with the Bushman paintings which are 800 years old on a guided hike in the Northern Drakensberg which has to now be guided due to people defacing the San-Bushmen artwork.   Bushman paintings seen on our second hike in the Drakensberg on Day 5 of our Durban Safari Tour Bushman paintings seen on our second hike in the Drakensberg on Day 5 of our Durban Safari Tour                                     On this hike we also spotted Eland and this was the second day in a row and it brings you good luck.   Eland seen on our Drakensberg hike up to the Bushman paintings on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour Eland seen on our Drakensberg hike up to the Bushman paintings on our Durban 5 Day Safari Tour                                     Once we had enjoyed this short hike we went on to do a 3 hour hike via Tiger Falls, Look out Rock and Gudu Falls before making our way back down to the Mahai camp. The views are spectacular!   Northern Drakenberg Royal Natal national parks view up the mountain during our 5 Day Durban Safari Tour Northern Drakenberg Royal Natal national parks view up the mountain during our 5 Day Durban Safari Tour                                     This was very enjoyable and we then visited Hlalanathi Berg Resort where we had some lunch before enjoying the great views.   It was then time to head back to Durban and drop my client off after 5 great days of Safari and Drakensberg Touring! What an amazing experience it had been!