Durban Day Safari Tours Archives - Tim Brown Tours
Things to Do In Durban

Best Things to do in Durban

Durban is an amazing city with more things to do than you would believe if you were not familiar with the area. Watch highlights of Zulu Dancing, the famous Sani Pass in the Drakensberg and Safari footage. Learn about different traditions and expand your horizons.

Hluhluwe Big 5 game reserve

Our Hluhluwe “Big 5” game reserve safari from Durban began in the city where I collected my clients. It was to be a Hluhluwe game reserve safari to remember! Our day began at 06:30 and we made our way to the world famous Hluhluwe game reserve and the Umfolozi game reserve in the south. After covering the major history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa we arrived at Hluhluwe game reserve and it was only 09:30. As it was a cool day I was really hoping we would find cats but as nature has it, you have to be at the right place at the right time.

Durban safari

We began our Durban safari in the city of Durban where I collected my four clients for what was to be a very successful 2 days of safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. On route we chatted about the interesting history of the area as well as the crops and population groups. Before you knew it we were at the Cat rehabilitation centre for the 10:30 tour for interaction with Cheetah. We would also see Caracal, Serval and African wild cat. The Cheetah was great fun and the one male was stalking Wildebeest up the fence line. Sadly for the Cheetah the Wildebeest was safe on the other side of the fence.

Durban mini Safari

We began our mini safari from Durban where I collected my 4 clients who where here for business and pleasure respectively. After covering the basic history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal we arrived at the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve by 09:30 and began with our Safari of the reserve. We entered in the North east and tried our best to look for Elephant in the cool weather. I knew it would be difficult but had high hopes after getting them a couple days before.

Drakensberg 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!

Durban private safari

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

Durban day safari

Durban day safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 1 June 2015   I met my clients at 4 different hotels and 4 of my 5 clients had just ran and completed the Comrades Ultra Marathon the day before. This Marathon is no ordinary feat and I was surprised to not see them crawling on the ground and only limping a little!   We drove to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve from Durban to begin our Durban day safari in the hope of finding as many animals as we could. On route I covered a lot of the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa to entertain my clients before we arrive at 09:30 a Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.   Our Durban day safari started great and in a few minutes we found a Leopard tortoise on the road, we made sure he got to the other side before continuing on with our safari.     Durban day safari; Leopard Tortoise Durban day safari; Leopard Tortoise                               It was not that many more minutes when we spotted some Baboons on the road during our safari from Durban. This really was a treat as Baboon are so similar to humans that the fascinate us a lot so it always makes for interesting viewing.         Durban day safari; Baboons on road Durban day safari; Baboons on road                               15 minutes later we spotted the most beautiful dazzle of Zebra and then got to watch two of them cross the road in front of us. We thought this was great but little did we know that just up the road was another dazzle of Zebra and some Wildebeest. On the opposite side of the road was more Zebra and some Rhino which were coming to drink water at a watering hole next to the road. Wow this was looking like being a great Durban day safari.       Durban day safari; Zebra Durban day safari; Zebra                               The Rhinos were amazing as they were very tentative to come and drink water and the Zebra got spooked and this made the Rhinos nervous and they ran too. A safari is a journey so we waited to see what would happen and eventually the Rhinos had a drink of water and a mere 15 meters from our vehicle.         Durban day safari; Rhino drinks with Zebra   Durban day safari; Rhino drinks with Zebra                         Once we let the Rhinos we continued with our day safari from Durban and got down the the Umfolozi river where we got lucky and found 2 bull Elephants feeding on the reeds. We enjoyed then for a while and at the same area on the other side of the river we spotted an old Buffalo bull resting in the water.     Video – Durban day safari – Rhinos drinking on our Big 5 safari from Durban      Durban day safari; Elephant bulls feeding Durban day safari; Elephant bulls feeding                               This old male Buffalo was one of the males which was no longer able to keep up with the speed that the breeding herd moves at hence he was on him own waiting to be taken by Lions.         Durban day safari; Buffalo Durban day safari; Buffalo                               As we continued with our Durban day safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we took a couple of rest stops to stretch the legs. The Comrades runners were definitely feeling very stiff from the day before. We had great luck further on when we found a crash of Rhinos in fact there was 3 crashes and they were not to far from each other. The best part was watching a mother with a new born baby.           Durban day safari; two generations of Rhino Durban day safari; two generations of Rhino                               We now needed to try and find some Giraffe and it was probably getting more on my nerves than my client but I knew they wanted to see them so we just kept going trying to find them. On route we found a lone Wildebeest male and also stopped to look over the Umfolozi river.         Durban day safari; Wildebeest   Durban day safari; Wildebeest                               Then in the distance we saw a huge herd of Elephant down in the river drinking. We still had not found our Giraffe and I now knew we would be having a late lunch which everyone seemed happy to do. We continued and found more Elephants and got them to cross the road in front of us before we continued with our Durban day safari.       Durban day safari; Elephants crossing the road Durban day safari; Elephants crossing the road                               The race was now really one as I knew my client would be hungry after such a big run the day before. Luckily I finally spotted some Giraffe near enough to the road and we could relax and enjoy them before making our way back for lunch.         Durban day safari; Giraffe Durban day safari; Giraffe                             I decided to check on our way back one of the picnic sites which overlooks the river for Lions which were seen there the day before. We were in luck and with a bit of guidance we all were able to see these amazing animals with there cubs laying down by the waters edge. Wow, what a cherry on the top for our day safari from Durban!         Durban day safari; Pride of Lions resting in the river Durban day safari; Pride of Lions resting in the river                             We were no so happy and could no believe our luck that we drove past Rhinos, Zebras and even Giraffe near the luncheon stop in order to get some well deserved food. Lunch was amazing and we all tucked in to what we ordered before a quick look around the curio shop. It was already 3pm and we had 4 drop offs to do so we began to make our way to the gate very satisfied with our day. After exiting we still had one more sighting and that was of a Bull Elephant on one side of the road and a herd of Elephant on the other side. It was special and we departed for Umhlanga and Durban.   It had been a great Durban day safari!

Day trip from Durban to St Lucia wetlands 13th May 2015

Day trip from Durban to St Lucia wetlands 13th May 2015   I collected my client from Hillcrest, West of Durban city center and we began our 3 hour drive up to Isimangeliso wetland park aka St Lucia Wetland park South Africa’s first world heritage site. On route I covered the history of Durban, kwaZulu Natal and South Africa as well as the history of St Lucia and the surrounding area.   We arrived in St Lucia for the early boat cruise at 09:15 and got settled in to enjoy the day and the 2 hour ride on the boat.   We had some amazing sightings of Hippos and Crocodiles so much so that the videos I took I had to put in this blog post. Before we got to the Estuary I must mention we stopped to look at a sign I always like to show my clients, see below:         Durban day tour; St Lucia interesting sign for Hippos Durban day tour; St Lucia interesting sign for Hippos                             Once we got going on the boat cruise on our day trip from Durban we spotted some Hippos and a couple of Crocodiles and lots of bird life. The water on the estuary was like glass it was so smooth.           Durban day tour; Nile Crocodile in St Lucia estuary Durban day tour; Nile Crocodile in St Lucia estuary                             These amazing creatures the Crocodile have around 45 replacements of teeth in their lifetime which can span 100 years depending on what they eat and where they are found. The best way of aging a Crocodile is by cutting on of the ridges off the back and counting the number of rings on it like you would do with a tree.   Further up stream there was Hippos and lots of them.           Video – Durban day tour – Hippos calling at St Lucia       Durban day tour; Pod of Hippos showing aggression Durban day tour; Pod of Hippos showing aggression                                 Video – Day trip from Durban – Pod of Hippos get aggressive with each other               We also captured this photo of a Goliath heron in flight over the estuary which was really beautiful.           Durban day tour; Goliath heron in flight over St Lucia estuary Durban day tour; Goliath heron in flight over St Lucia estuary                               Our cruise of St Lucia Estuary continued and we spotted a Goliath Heron walking on the backs of Hippos which was great. I even made a video, the only problem was I missed the best moment. Just as I stopped the video one Hippo lunged at the Goliath Heron almost grabbing it in its mouth! It was amazing to see!       Video – Durban day trip – Goliath Heron walks on the back of the Hippos             Durban day tour; Goliath heron walking on Hippos backs Durban day tour; Goliath heron walking on Hippos backs                               We were lucky on the Durban day trip to also get a Hippos on a couple of occasions with its mouth open. This is usually a sign of aggression and to tell us not to get any closer. The Hippos here have had the boats around them for 30 years so they are used to us but that does not mean they wont express their feelings.           Video -Durban day safari tour – Hippo bulls size each other up Durban day tour; Hippo with mouth open Durban day tour; Hippo with mouth open                               Video – Durban day tour – Hippo marks his territory     At we made our way back we saw the second largest vegetated sand dune in the world Maphelane South of the Estuary. We also were lucky enough to see an African Fish eagle perched on a branch.           Durban day tour; African fish eagle Durban day tour; African fish eagle                                     After the amazing 2 hours on the St Lucia estuary we made our way through St Lucia town to the Estuary mouth for the board walk which goes to the Indian ocean. It is a lovely walk and from here you can see Maphelane, the Indian ocean, the national park/World heritage site and the Estuary!         Durban day tour; Maphelane and the Indian ocean Durban day tour; Maphelane and the Indian ocean                                   After showing my client on our Durban day tour/trip the Titanium in the sand and venturing onto the beach we returned into St Lucia town for some lunch and then made our way to the Crocodile breeding center at the other end of St Lucia.   Here we saw lots of Crocodile and I run over some of the information of the area and why the Crocodiles are being bred etc. Here too there are interesting signs like this one below:         Durban day tour; St Lucia interesting sign for crocodiles Durban day tour; St Lucia interesting sign for crocodiles                               It was not the end of the time in St Lucia and we had to get the clients back early as they were meeting family for dinner. When ever I leave a tour early something always happens to make it a longer day than usual and today was no different. What was a 3 hour trip back to Durban took up over 4.5 hour because of one accident on the highway! Can you believe it. Non the less it was still worth it as we all had a great time and the tour from Durban was a huge success.  

Durban day safari tour – 11th May 2015

Durban day safari tour – 11th May 2015   I met my clients in Hillcrest only about 5 minutes drive from my home which was great! They were from South Africa, Cape Town which for me is not common to have South Africans on a Durban safari tour but it was really great fun and the tour was amazing! On route to the most underrated Big 5 game reserve Hluhluwe Imfolozi national park, I covered lots of the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and general things that we saw like the crops of the area etc.   We stopped to stretch the legs on the way up and refuel before continuing the last hour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for our Durban day safari tour.   We arrived at Hluhluwe Imfolozi park and began with our game drive to see what animals we could see. We actually didn’t even need to leave the parking lot for our first sighting as there was an Elephant bull drinking near the gate!         Durban day safari tour; Elephant Durban day safari tour; Elephant                               As we continued with our safari from Durban we came across a huge herd of Elephants with tiny babies on the hill near the Centenary center where we would be having lunch later that day. The Elephants seemed to be on some mission as they kept walking very quickly and were heading to the eastern fence line. I had seen three herds of Elephant do this 3 days before which always makes me think they are attending an Elephant funeral or there is a weather change!         Durban day safari tour; Herd of Elephant Durban day safari tour; Herd of Elephant                               We continued with our Durban day safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and came across a female Impala with thin horns this is a genetic abnormality and could be cause by inbreeding!  This can happen is a male mates with his offspring instead of being ousted from the leadership of the Harem of female by another dominant male.   We also crossed over the Umfolozi river and spotted a Buffalo bull very far away and the photo was not good so I waited till we spotted these Rhino. They crossed the road in front of us and this was a special sighting for my clients and meant we had already seen 3 of the Big 5, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo.       Durban day safari tour; Rhino crossing road Durban day safari tour; Rhino crossing road                               After spending a few minutes with the Rhino we continued with our safari from Durban and we had a quiet patch but I knew that we would see lots of animals. It was not long and we were blessed with a sighting of Cheetah. It was a mother and her 2 cubs around a year old and they were so much fun to watch we must have spent half an hour with them. At the same place was 3 crashes or Rhino which made it even more exciting!         Durban day safari tour; Cheetah mother and cubs Durban day safari tour; Cheetah mother and cubs                               Video – Cheetah mother and cubs on our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve     I might have gone over the to with pictures and Videos but it was Cheetah and there were two cubs which we active and running around in an open patch. This was such an exciting moment and we all enjoyed it. What a way to begin your first safari for my clients.         Durban day safari tour; Cheetah cubs Durban day safari tour; Cheetah cubs                                 Video – Learn about Cheetahs, seen in Hluhluwe Imfolozi on our Durban day safari     One final picture of the Cheetah playing and I promise no more Cheetah photos or Videos for today! I just couldn’t help myself! They were beautiful!         Durban day safari tour; Cheetah playing Durban day safari tour; Cheetah playing                                         As we continued with our Durban day safari tour I honestly could not have really cared for myself if I didn’t see another animal but I knew I have to see what we could find for my clients as they were only here for a day safari tour. We kept getting lucky and we went round one of the many dirt road bends we stopped as we had some Zebras walking down the road towards us!           Durban day safari tour; Zebra walking down road Durban day safari tour; Zebra walking down road                               The Zebra were so beautiful and we enjoyed chatting about some of the interesting facts and features of this animal before moving on with our safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and finding a couple of Wildebeest walking on the road!         Durban day safari tour; Wildebeest Durban day safari tour; Wildebeest                               I figured now it was time for a rest room break so I made our way to a picnic site. We arrived at the Sontuli picnic site and we so lucky again! We saw Lions laying down in the river bed. I just could not believe our luck we had now seen 4 of the Big 5 and Cheetah in just a few hours. The best part about these Lions was the structure, it was an Adult male and female with one cub around a year old or a bit less. It is not often you see these restful cats on a Durban day safari tour or see a big male usually its just the Lionesses and the sub adults.           Durban day safari tour; Lions, Male, female and cub Durban day safari tour; Lions, Male, female and cub                               Video – Lions doing what they do best! Sleeping… on our Durban day safari tour         We decided that all we hadn’t seen was the Giraffe and it became our new mission to try and find the Giraffe. I drove all the best areas that I could with the time we had and then had to head up to the Centenary center for lunch. Before we could get to the Centenary we stopped at a view point which you are allowed to get out of your vehicle at and it was here we saw a huge herd of Buffalo.         Durban day safari tour; Herd of Buffalo Durban day safari tour; Herd of Buffalo                             I thought this was the ideal spot to take a picture for my clients with the lovely view over the Umfolozi river with the Buffalo in the back ground.           Durban day safari tour; My happy clients Durban day safari tour; My happy clients                                   We continued on in the hope of finding some Giraffe before lunch and we returned to where the Cheetah had been. They had gone but there was some lovely Rhino in the area and they were really posing for us on our Durban day safari tour.         Durban day safari tour; Rhino resting Durban day safari tour; Rhino resting                               There was still one more thing would we have to photograph before we made it to the lunch stop and that was a Dazzle of Zebra and Impala on the road.           Durban day safari tour; Zebra and Impala on road Durban day safari tour; Zebra and Impala on road                             Finally we arrived at Centenary center and it was here that we had a lovely lunch and a look around the world famous museum for operation Rhino. The craft market was also available and then we made our way for the final 1 and a half to find these Giraffe.   We did it! It was 20 min in after lunch and I spotted a male Giraffe in the distance so we used the binoculars to see him better and then we continued further and found more Giraffes near enough to the road. One of these female Giraffe was either chewing a bone which they do to get calcium into their diet or she had a twig stuck in here throat. It wasn’t long and she liked her lips and continued feeding.         Video – African safari from Durban – Giraffe maybe with a bone or twig stuck in its mouth               We had a great look at this Giraffe and then on our way back right near the gate we spotted a Big male 5 meters from the road feeding on a Buffalo thorn. It was the perfect ending to a great Durban day safari tour and we all were very happy with our sightings.         Durban day safari tour; Giraffe   Durban day safari tour; Giraffe

St Lucia day tour from Durban

St Lucia day tour from Durban 26th April 2015   I met my clients in Durban for this special day tour from Durban to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park where we would be visiting South Africa’s 1st World heritage site decided on by UNESCO in 1999. There are 5 different Eco Systems in the area; namely the Sand forests, Mangrove Swamp lands, Savanna, Indian ocean and the Esturine system where we would be doing the 2 hour boat cruise to see the Hippos and Crocodiles.   St Lucia is well known even here in South Africa and it a major tourist magnet, with so much to offer they also boast deep sea fishing as well as Whale and Turtle watching seasonally!   One of our first sightings on our Durban day tour to St Lucia was of Hippos mating which is very rare to see let alone film. I was lucky to have my camera on hand to film this amazing sight!         St Lucia day tour; Hippos mating St Lucia day tour; Hippos mating                                 Video of Hippos Mating in St Lucia Estuary, South Africa               This was really a special sighting and we all could not believe our luck! As we continued with our 2 hour boat cruise we ended up spotting something like 150 Hippos and maybe 8 crocodiles. As we continued we came across a couple of Hippos that displayed for us by opening their mouths and as we all say Yawned. However this Yawning is actually a display to show us to keep our distance and not get too close. It is often confused with the Hippos being tired!         St Lucia day tour; Hippos Yawning St Lucia day tour; Hippos Yawning                                         We had already had such a good time and we then looked at some of the mangrove swamps and spotted some crocodiles in the area. One of which seemed to catch something near the shoreline before resting near the rivers edge.         St Lucia day tour; Crocodile in St Lucia estuary St Lucia day tour; Crocodile in St Lucia estuary                                 A trip to Durban is not complete with out taking a trip to St Lucia to see the Hippos and Crocodiles. The St Lucia estuary is the largest estrine system in Southern Africa. We then headed into the small town of St Lucia after the boat cruise for some lunch which was really enjoyable. The whole town has a great vibe of a holiday feel. It took us some time to get through the amazing food we got and then it was time to do the board walk in St Lucia.   We headed down to the estuary mouth where we stopped the vehicle and began the estuary board walk. It is well worth the visit if you are in the area and a trip to South African is not complete if you do not visit this amazing beach. A beach where Hippos and Crocodiles roam, Bull Sharks swim and the bird life is amazing!         St Lucia day tour; St Lucia estuary mouth crocodiles St Lucia day tour; St Lucia estuary mouth crocodiles                               I always find it an amazing picture when you have the St Lucia estuary with the crocodiles resting basically on the beach. The beach and Indian ocean in the back  ground and Maphelane the second largest vegetated sand dune in the world. It is also amazing as the sand if full of titanium which is mined but only away from the World Heritage site.       St Lucia day tour; Maphelane from St Lucia estuary beach St Lucia day tour; Maphelane from St Lucia estuary beach                               The signs that you find on the beach are also incredible as they warn you of Hippos and crocodiles. I do not know of any other beaches in the world which have a sign like this. In the above picture you can see the massive Maphelane vegetated sand dune in the back ground.   It is without say that the Isimangeliso wetland park – St Lucia is one of the wonders of the world and is a place you have to visit when you come to South Africa.