Durban 3 day safari tour Archives - Tim Brown Tours

Durban Safari Tour

I was blessed with a repeat client who brought a friend out from Australia to experience a Durban 3 day safari tour. We departed from Umhlanga and we were able to cover the history and new things that I hadn’t said the last time. It wasn’t long before we stopped and got some coffee and the continued on to the Cat rehabilitation center which was a real experience. My clients loved it and after interacting with the Cheetah hands on the day was set up to be legendary!

Hluhluwe Safari 2015

I met my clients in Durban for our 3 day safari to the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and we began our safari. I covered some of the major history of South Africa, KwaZulu Natal and Durban before we stopped for coffee and to stretch our legs. Once we were done we made our way to the Cat rehabilitation center where we interacted with Cheetah and three other species of endangered or threatened cats.

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 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 safari tour

Durban safari tour – 5-7 June 2015     After collecting my clients from Durban for their Durban overnight safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, we headed up to the Cat rehabilitation center outside of Hluhluwe were we would begin our first day of Durban safari tour. It was here that we interacted with 4 endangered species of cat, Serval, Caracal, African Wild cat and Cheetah! The Cheetah was the big attraction and the Cheetah cubs and Serval were very playful. Our day had only just begun but we were expecting a good one. The weather was cool and there was a cold winter breeze blowing but the sun was still shining on our Durban safari tour.   We enjoyed the African Wild Cats and then entered into the enclosure with the Caracal, I managed to get a great shot of one of the Caracal in the tree!         Durban safari tour; Caracal in Tree Durban safari tour; Caracal in Tree                             We moved on to the Cheetah brothers and interacted with them before making our way into the enclosure with the Cheetah cubs. This was great and my clients really enjoyed this experience. Next was the Serval which are always so interactive that it makes the tour so worth it.   We then began the 20 minute drive to the gate of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, Africa’s Oldest proclaimed protected area and home the the Big 5! Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is a great place to do a safari and is only 2.5 hours from Durban!   Before we could even cross over the electric fence we found a sounder of Warthogs laying around and enjoying the sun on this cool winters day.       Durban safari tour; Warthogs Durban safari tour; Warthogs                               It was not long before we managed to find some Giraffe and this was a great sighting and a good start to our Durban safari tour. The Giraffe female that we first found was actually chewing a bone which is very normal but people do not always know why. It is to grind off some bone to get calcium into their diet.         Durban safari tour; Giraffe chews bone Durban safari tour; Giraffe chews bone                               Video : Durban safari tour – Giraffe chews on a bone       We then continued and made our way to Hilltop camp with very little else to be seen in the middle of the day which is very normal especially when it is so dry during our winter.   We got to Hilltop camp and had some lunch before checking in and getting settled in the rooms. At 15:30 we headed back out to continue our safari from Durban to see what animals we could find. We had a good start spotting some Giraffe and Zebra as well as Kudu and Nyala. It was not long after this we managed to find a lovely herd of Buffalo which after 15 minuted of waiting crossed the road in front of us!         Durban safari tour; Buffalo and calf Durban safari tour; Buffalo and calf                               The next item on the list was Rhino and we got an mother and a 3 year old calf before having a real luck sighting of a mother Rhino and a baby only a couple months old. He was so cute!         Durban safari tour; Rhino and calf Durban safari tour; Rhino and calf                                 I was heading into the area I knew we could have a chance of spotting the African Wild dog but I was not sure we would be so lucky on this safari from Durban. I was very wrong and thankfully I chose the right road! We found the Wild dogs on the road and it was clear they were keen on hunting so we stayed with them.       Durban safari tour; Wild dogs Durban safari tour; Wild dogs                                 All of a sudden they shot off into the bush and as we watched, 2 Wild dogs spotted a Red Duiker and bolted after it. It could not believe it as the whole park followed and caught up. The African wild dogs brought down the Duiker 5 meters from the road and we got to head all the noises as they quickly ripped apart the animal and fed just as fast. In a couple minuted they were chewing on the bones and the rest was gone!         Video: Durban safari tour – Wild Dogs kill Red Duiker It was so fast that we hardly had time to take in what had happened so close to us and the road!       Video: Durban safari tour – Wild dogs fight over Duiker leg       After all the excitement calm returned to the bush and the sun had set on what had been an amazing first day on our 3 day safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.   We now only had the formalities of dinner before a well deserved rest.       Day 2: Durban safari tour   If we thought day 1 was amazing on our Durban safari tour we had another great day coming! We headed out after breakfast and spotted a few things but nothing much until out the corner of my eye laying 10 -15 meters from the road was two male Lions! They were so beautiful and just cuddling up to one another it was amazing to watch them.   We spend some thing with them and with the other vehicles arriving they got annoyed and moved further into the bush but we had see them so perfectly we were so excited at this point!         Durban safari tour; Lions Durban safari tour; Lions                                 Durban safari tour; Lion standing Durban safari tour; Lion standing                                 Video: Lions seen on our Durban safari tour       It wasn’t much longer and we got some Zebra crossing the road in front of us! By this point we had also seen Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant but they were not the best of sightings. This meant in under 2 hours we had seen 4 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari tour.           Durban safari tour; Zebra crossing Durban safari tour; Zebra crossing                                 Video: Zebra crossing on our Durban safari tour We continued our Durban safari tour and got to a big body of water which I was hoping to find some animals at. We didn’t see much but the Impala we saw were really interesting as the males were Rutting!   We got one male trying to smash the other and I even got a video of it!           Durban safari tour; Impala clashing heads Durban safari tour; Impala clashing heads                               Video: Impala rutting in Hluhluwe Imfolozi on our Durban safari tour We made our way down to a lovely hide in the South west of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. It was here that we would find a good sighting of the Elephants as there is water. When we arrived we saw, 2 of the Big 5. Elephant and Buffalo at the hide as well as Warthogs, Nyala, Impala, Wildebeest and some bird life.           Durban safari tour; Elephants play fighting Durban safari tour; Elephants play fighting                               These Buffalo were also at the mud wallow but waiting for the Elephants to finish drinking water before they took there turn…         Durban safari tour; Herd of Buffalo Durban safari tour; Herd of Buffalo                                 Video – Durban safari tour – Animals at Bhejane hide in Umfolozi           The above video just gives some perspective as to what the watering hole looks like when it is so full of animals it is like an oasis in the middle of a very dry part of the Umfolozi section of the game reserve.   We also spotted three antelope species drinking next to one another which was also so amazing to see.           Durban safari tour; Wildebeest, Impala and Nyala drinking together Durban safari tour; Wildebeest, Impala and Nyala drinking together                               After we had seen all of these amazing animals we made our way back to the Centenary Center for lunch and then managed to relocate the one of the Lions we had found in the morning!   We then drove up to Hilltop camp where my clients had about an hours rest before heading on the open vehicle game drive and then had dinner.         Day 3: Durban safari tour       The next day we met just before 7am for luggage collection and breakfast before it was time for our final game safari drive before heading to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park for the 2 hour Hippo and Crocodile boat cruise.   Our last morning safari was brilliant and we managed to recap some of the amazing animals we had see in the previous two days.   First was the Rhinos crossing the road in front of us on our Durban safari tour.         Durban safari tour; Rhino cross the road Durban safari tour; Rhino cross the road                                 Video: Rhino cross the road on our Durban safari tour     We didn’t have to continue our African safari much further before we found a herd of Elephants next to the road breaking trees and feeding off them! It was amazing as one female was right next to us and broke the Buffalo thorn 3 times to get what she wanted which was just a little bark!           Video: Elephant breaks tree on our Durban safari tour         Durban safari tour; Elephant Durban safari tour; Elephant                               I could not resist this amazing sighting and had to make a second video!         Elephant breaks tree and feeds during our Durban safari tour       It was now time to move on and see what else we could find. We tried to relocate on the Lions from the day before with no luck as they seemed to have walked up another road and we didn’t have time to go to investigate further.   It was time to head to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park and it was here we began a 2 hour boat cruise viewing Hippos and Crocodiles before we had some lunch. We had some luck not only with the Hippos but with some Bird Life. We actually found the elusive African Finfoot which is the first time I had seen it on this stretch of the Estuary at St Lucia.           Durban safari tour; African Finfoot at St lucia estuary Durban safari tour; African Finfoot at St lucia estuary                             Further down stream we managed to find a lovely sizable Crocodile.           Durban safari tour; Crocodile at St Lucia estuary Durban safari tour; Crocodile at St Lucia estuary                                 We had some amazing sightings of Hippos in the water and out on the shore one of the better sightings you can see in the picture below and the video of am Hippos resting his head on another Hippo while a small Crocodile was a meter away from his back foot.         Durban safari tour; Hippos at St Lucia Durban safari tour; Hippos at St Lucia                               Video: Hippo and crocodile meters from each other during St Lucia tour           It had been an amazing 3 day safari from Durban in which we had seen 4 of the Big 5 and the most endangered carnivore in Africa kill a Duiker 5 meters from the road! It was just super special and it was down day 3 and time for lunch.   After a great lunch we made our way back to Durban where I returned my clients safely to their hotel.  

Safari from Durban

Safari from Durban 2nd -4th June 2015   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 5 of us began this amazing 3 day safari from Durban. I began some free flowing conversation about the History of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa which is always worth a listen, well I think so! 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.   The clients always love this part of the tour and it add so much more to the whole safari experience from Durban.     Safari from Durban; Cheetah cub at Cat rehabilitation center Safari from Durban; Cheetah cub at Cat rehabilitation center                               After we finished at the Cat rehabilitation center we drove 20 minutes to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and entered at the Memorial gate. It was here we entered and within a few minutes we spotted Baboons near the road and some crossing.       Safari from Durban; Baboon Safari from Durban; Baboon                             Our safari from Durban had truly began and it was not long before we spotted even more animals! We spotted first a single bull Elephant and by watching him we found a herd of Elephant walking from a drainage line through a dip onto the open plain!   Video – Safari from Durban – Elephants walk out of a dip in Hluhluwe   After enjoying these Elephants we continued and spotted some Giraffe which we were all excited about as it is one of the big animals that clients always want to see. We spotted a baby with a mother and a couple other female Giraffe.       Safari from Durban; Giraffe Safari from Durban; Giraffe                               We were on our way up to Hilltop camp where we would be staying for the 2 nights and it was not easy to get there as we kept seeing animals which of course we were not complaining about. We had another sighting of a small breeding herd of Elephant and it was great.         Safari from Durban; Elephants Safari from Durban; Elephants                                 We eventually made it up to camp and settled in for some lunch most of us having the Bunny chow before heading to the rooms for a short while. I them met my clients and 3 of the 4 did the open vehicle game drive leaving myself and Jan to spend about 1 hour doing our own Ferrari safari(fast one).   We headed out and with the cloud building up it was a little dark but we still spotted a herd of Elephant on the hill near the camp.       Safari from Durban; Elephants at sunset Safari from Durban; Elephants at sunset                               The lighting on one Elephant was amazing and after enjoying the view we continued seeing almost nothing except Nyala as it was so dark and windy. We then got back onto the main road and had some amazing luck as we found a lone African wild dog the most endangered carnivore in Africa.       Safari from Durban; African wild dog Safari from Durban; African wild dog                             The picture was not good as it was so dark and he was running down the road so I made a video clip in the hope that it would work out better.     Video – Safari from Durban – Wild Dog runs down the road in the dark     It was now time to get back to camp and wait on the others arrival from there evening open vehicle safari. I was glad to hear when they got back that the did see African Wild dog so we all had seen the same things.   It was time for dinner and we all enjoyed what we wanted off the menu and then headed off to bed after a long but great safari from Durban. Day 2 of our safari I was sure would be just as good as day 1.       Day 2:  Safari from Durban       We met for a 7am breakfast before departing the lodge at 07:30. We would be heading into the Umfolozi section to see if we could get lucky with cats and any other animals.   Our first sighting was of Rhino which was not a good as I hoped but as I always say a Rhino is a Rhino!         Safari from Durban; Rhinos hiding Safari from Durban; Rhinos hiding                             We enjoyed the Rhino mother and calf for while before continuing our safari from Durban. It was interesting as we managed to spot some great animal behaviour a bit later on when we found a White backed Vulture breaking a twig and then flying into a tree with it clearly looking to build a nest. This you don’t see often!         Safari from Durban; White backed Vulture with a twig in its beak Safari from Durban; White backed Vulture with a twig in its beak                             As we continued further south we found a dazzle of Zebra and got some to cross the road in front of us before finding some Giraffe just before the Umfolozi river.         Safari from Durban; Zebras look over Umfolozi Safari from Durban; Zebras look over Umfolozi                             At the river itself we managed to spot some Elephants up stream just on the edge of the river and they were not really doing much except flapping their ears to cool off. It was already 27 degrees and this is our winter.         Safari from Durban; Elephants Safari from Durban; Elephants                               Driving on with our safari from Durban we were enjoying the views when we found 5 Buffalo bulls resting near to the road and just chewing the cud. It was a great site and they completely ignored us as normal.           Safari from Durban; Buffalos Safari from Durban; Buffalos                               We stopped for a rest room break and here we enjoyed watching some warthogs. We then went through a very frustrating patch where we spotted lots on Impala, warthogs and animals in the distance but nothing close. I got word that Lions had been seen earlier in the morning so I decided to give it a bash and see if we could relocate them. We were successful and it was an amazing sighting as we watched a Lioness and her sub adult male cub resting with each other clearly fat and full from eating something!         Safari from Durban; Lions sleeping on a full belly Safari from Durban; Lions sleeping on a full belly                                 Wow what a great day it had just turned out to be on our safari from Durban! We then watch the adult Lioness get up and walk away from her cub and I managed to get this on video before the male gave us a lovely glance.     Video – Safari from Durban – Lions in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve         Safari from Durban; Young male Lion Safari from Durban; Young male Lion                               We must have spend 30 minuted with these lovely Lions before beginning the long drive to the luncheon stop at the Centenary center, home of Operation Rhino which brought back the White Rhinos from Extinction. The drive back was very quiet until we got to the Umfolozi river and spotted more Elephants.         Safari from Durban; Bull Elephant Safari from Durban; Bull Elephant                               Before we could get to lunch we spotted some Giraffe with a huge herd of Impalas which at this stage we were a little tired of seeing. The Giraffe male came very close to the road showing us his 45cm long tongue as he ate the acacia tree leaves.         Safari from Durban; Giraffe Safari from Durban; Giraffe                               We stopped for lunch and had a great meal before a look around the Museum and the curio shop respectively. Once all were done we began the hour long drive back to Hilltop camp to book the clients on the evening open vehicle game drive. Our safari from Durban had gone really well today and we met again just before the evening game drive and then at 8pm for some dinner.       Day 2: Safari from Durban       The next day would be again a 7am start with some breakfast and checking out before some game drive time and then heading on to St Lucia -Isimangeliso Wetland park for our 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and crocodiles.   We managed to finally get a great sighting of Rhino and we had 3 of them together on the road and in an open area which was very exciting. We watched them doing their thing and then moved on to find Buffalo and some Zebra before we needed to make our way out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to go to St Lucia.         Safari from Durban; Rhino Safari from Durban; Rhino                               We were super lucky when we were at St Lucia and apart from the lots of Hippos and a Crocodile we saw we managed to spot the elusive Bull Shark which is found in the St Lucia Estuary.           Video : Safari from Durban – Bull shark in St Lucia estuary       Our Hippos sightings were very good and we managed to get some out of the water and one which was feeding on the reeds near the bank of St Lucia estuary.         Safari from Durban; Hippo at St Lucia Safari from Durban; Hippo at St Lucia                               After a great 3 days of Safari from Durban it was time to grab some lunch and chat about how amazing a safari we had and then make our way back to Durban city.   My clients were sad to leave the Nature behind but I am sure they will be back in the future to see it all again. Africa has a way of pulling at your heart strings!  

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.     

Safari from Durban, South Africa to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park

Safari from Durban, South Africa to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park     I met my clients in Durban for their 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park in South Africa. It is the oldest preserve in Africa and home to the Big 5 the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. Obviously we were here for ecotourism as Hunting is not an option in a National park like Hluhluwe Imfolozi. We began at the Cat rehabilitation center in Hluhluwe and enjoyed the experience of interacting with some of the Cats including African wild cat, Serval and Cheetah adults and cubs. The Caracal we do not touch as they are together for mating which can make them potentially more aggressive.   I was lucky enough to have done some back to back Durban safari tours so I was feeling the way the Cheetah in the picture was looking.     Safari from Durban in South Africa; Inside the mouth of a Cheetah Safari from Durban in South Africa; Inside the mouth of a Cheetah                                 My clients also got to interact with the Cheetah hands on which is always an amazing experience and they enjoyed it just as much as every other client I have take has. This is a must in you are in the area and wish to do a Durban safari tour be it and overnight safari tour or just a day safari tour.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Touching a Cheetah Safari from Durban in South Africa; Touching a Cheetah                               Next it was time to head into the World famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for our safari tour from Durban. It wasn’t long before we spotted some animals and they were the Buffalo, Zebra and Impala oh and Warthogs. The Buffalo were a bit for off so I didn’t photograph them but the Zebra really posed for us and this made for a great start to our Safari from Durban.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Zebra near the road Safari from Durban in South Africa; Zebra near the road                                 After the dazzle of Zebra we continued and spotted a Black Rhino which was really lucky. The only problem was that he kept going behind the bushes and was already so far away that the picture was really bad. A black Rhino is rare so I decided to put the picture up anyway.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Black Rhino too far away Safari from Durban in South Africa; Black Rhino too far away                                 We then made our way to the camp where we settled in for lunch and checked in. Again I heard from my clients that they had seen all the complaints about Hilltop camp and the roads but they were surprised that it was nothing like what some of the reviews say.   After checking in we had a short rest before heading back out to see what animals we could find. It started really quiet and then I got word of Lions in the area we were heading into. As always when you are trying to get somewhere you end up seeing so many things which hinders your progress! It was still good as we got this calf Rhino with his mother near to the road.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Rhino calf Safari from Durban in South Africa; Rhino calf                                   We also found Nyala and Buffalo but we continued and there they were, a pride of Lions in the distance sitting in the dried up Hluhluwe river. At first it was a far sighting then we found another spot where we could see them a little better. The photos were not great but it was good enough and very special to see a couple of the Lions sitting on a rock. We also had a Rhino come and drink while we were watching the Lions.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Lions in the Hluhluwe River bed Safari from Durban in South Africa; Lions in the Hluhluwe River bed                                       We then returned to the view sight where we had a look at the view. Down in the river bed was 4 Rhinos having a little go at each other so my clients watched this through the binoculars and I took a couple photos for them.           Safari from Durban in South Africa; My clients looking at Rhino in the Hluhluwe river Safari from Durban in South Africa; My clients looking at Rhino in the Hluhluwe river                                 It had been a good day. When you see Lions on the first day it helps and makes things easier for the rest of the tour. We continued back up to the camp for some dinner and on route spotted a crash of 6 Rhino. It was a lovely sighting and this really capped off the day for us on safari in Africa.         Day 2:  Safari from Durban, South Africa to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park     We began day two at 6am when the gates opened and were hoping to find Elephants and Giraffe. It was strange as we saw lots of evidence that they were around but did not find them near to the road. As we then continued we heard that the African Wild dogs were in the area but there was no sign of them so after waiting around for 20 minute I decided to take a dirt road perpendicular to where we were and we found the wild dogs. It was awesome as one crossed the road in front of us before joining the rest all with full bellies.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; African Wild dogs Safari from Durban in South Africa; African Wild dogs                                       After enjoying the African wild dogs we continued and found Rhino in the distance as well as Zebra close to the vehicle. We had lots of Nyala sightings that we just gave up stopping unless it was a clear shot. It had been a quiet morning safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve but we had seen the most endangered carnivore in Africa so we were not unhappy at all.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Zebra Safari from Durban in South Africa; Zebra                                 We were getting closer to Hilltop camp where we would be having our breakfast and we finally spotted a giraffe male near to the road. He was great posing for us and walking next to us. They are such amazing creatures full of character.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Giraffe Safari from Durban in South Africa; Giraffe                                 Once we returned we enjoyed the breakfast and took some time out from the Safari and rested until after lunch when we headed back out again to see what we could find. We actually we desperate for Elephant but nature has a strange was of leveling you and showing you that even though we are the most successful animal we still cannot have everything our way. This is still a good thing.   We however found another male Giraffe which looks like he could have been the same male from in the morning as well as Rhino in the distance.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Giraffe crossing road Safari from Durban in South Africa; Giraffe crossing road                                 As we continued we spotted a whole troop of Baboon and some Nyala males having a joust with one another. The Baboons we really great and one mother had a tiny baby with her as she sat in the tree watching us. Our safari from Durban in South Africa was really great and its moments like these you remember how great they are!         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Chacma Baboon and baby Safari from Durban in South Africa; Chacma Baboon and baby                                 I was feeling a little frustrated that we still hadn’t found Elephants but it was just one of those things, life is all about timing and we had seen such amazing other animals we could not really be sad. We still tried, and then we saw Buffalo below Hilltop camp.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Buffalo Safari from Durban in South Africa; Buffalo                               After this it began to rain heavier and we still tried for another 35 minuted for Elephant with no luck. We did however enjoy a spectacular rainbow which was not only going a full semi circle but was a double rainbow. It was so beautiful we could not even capture the beauty in a picture but we tried. Our safari was coming to an end and we spotted a Baboon on the road outside Hilltop camp. The best part was that he walked right next to us and was inline with the rainbow. People always say there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but this was a Baboon at the end of our Rainbow!         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Baboon at end of Rainbow Safari from Durban in South Africa; Baboon at end of Rainbow                               We got back to camp and then I got the client onto the open vehicle safari that would hopefully find then Elephant but if not I would have to in the last hour and a half we would have the following day.   I went off to do the blog post I writing now and we would meet the next day for breakfast and check out.         Day 3:  Safari from Durban, South Africa to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park     Day 3 of our Safari from Durban began with luggage collection and then a great breakfast before the final pressure took shape realizing that in the 2 days prior we had not seen Elephant. This was not normal for me so my blood pressure was so high I had a headache. I rushed off to try and maximize the 1.5 hours we had left to find an Elephant or 3 and thankfully the Elephant Gods looked down on us favorably and we found a Bull Elephant right next to the road it was great as he was relaxed and feeding away!         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Elephant feeding Safari from Durban in South Africa; Elephant feeding                                 We then had this great sighting of a Big bull Elephant coming down the tar road towards us. He looked angry but it was just the angle of the road which gave him the loping walk down towards us. At first I couldn’t tell as I was holding the camera trying to get the video for the clients.         Video of Elephant walking down the road towards us.             At this point the adrenaline was pumping and we were shaking with excitement as we were only 5 minutes from the gate and having to leave the game reserve. We had such great sighting in the last 1.5 hours of our Durban safari that we could not believe it. We even spotted this male Rhino with and Impala in front of him.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Rhino and Impala Safari from Durban in South Africa; Rhino and Impala                                 We then were pumped up and seconds later a we saw a mother Rhino near the road and I figured she and her calf would cross the road in front of us so I waited and bang! That is what the did and at some rate of knots!         Video of mother Rhino and Calf running across road in front of us.             It was not time to exit and make our way to St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park which is South Africa’s first world heritage site and has great biodiversity and we had great sightings! We boarded a 10 am, 2 hour Hippos and Crocodile boat tour in inside 5 minutes we had seen both!         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Crocodiles Safari from Durban in South Africa; Crocodiles                                 These two crocodile were actually laying on top of one another but my picture was really out of focus so I have to settle for this one after the one Crocodile moved to the water. Next it was pod upon pod of Hippos that we saw, one of the best being a large group up stream.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Hippos Safari from Durban in South Africa; Hippos                                 We had a lot more sightings including a Giant Kingfisher catching a fish, a Saddle Billed Stork as well as a Goliath Heron. The best was yet to come as on our sail back to the jetty I spotted a Shark not one but 2 shark fins, we stopped and watched and saw them swimming around a bit. They could have been mating or hunting fish together. I was so excited I got the picture and even a video. Please excuse the South Africans making all the noise in the back ground!           Safari from Durban in South Africa; Saddle billed stork and Zambezi Shark Safari from Durban in South Africa; Saddle billed stork and Zambezi Shark                                             Video of Zambezi Sharks swimming in St Lucia estuary – Isimangeliso Wetland Park               My  work was done and we returned to St Lucia town for some lunch and then headed back to the Airport where my clients would be heading back home. It has turned out to be a great Durban overnight safari with us having seen 45 of the Big 5 and Wild Dogs in Hluhluwe Imfolozi oh and Black Rhino. At St Lucia the special was the Zambezi sharks the first time I have successfully filmed them in the St Lucia estuary.