Durban Safari Tours KwaZulu-Natal Archives - Tim Brown Tours
Lion eyes Lioness

Lions Eyes

In the African bush indeed are the seen ~ and often unseen animal interactions.  One of the animal interactions we don’t see often is Rhino fighting each other for dominance. Either for the right to hold territory and/or to mate with females. Watch : Two Big Males Fighting Hard to Hold Territory

Rhino Fighting

In the African bush indeed are the seen ~ and often unseen animal interactions.  One of the animal interactions we don’t see often is Rhino fighting each other for dominance. Either for the right to hold territory and/or to mate with females. Watch : Two Big Males Fighting Hard to Hold Territory

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 day tour

Durban day tour – St Lucia estuary – 17th July 2015     We began our Durban day tour in Durban city. After introductions and a briefing on how the day would run we headed up to St Lucia 2.5 hour away up the North coast of KwaZulu Natal. St Lucia is South Africa’s first world heritage site and is a one of a kind place. At St Lucia you can come across, Hippos, Crocodiles and Zambezi Sharks! Where in the world can you get this combination? This is not all, seasonally Whales frequent the coastline and well as Sea Turtles to lay their eggs on the shoreline. If this wasn’t enough surrounding St Lucia is Isimangaliso wetland park a 30032 Hectare game reserve home to four of the Big five!   If you are ever in the Durban area this is right up there as one of the best places to visit  and can be done in a day tour from Durban with Tim Brown Tours.   Back to the day itself!   After covering a lot of the History of Durban and KwaZulu Natal   we stopped for a coffee and toilet break before the final hour to St Lucia, Isimangaliso Wetland park. After arriving and enjoying some of the warning signs that St Lucia has about Hippos crossing at night we visited the Crocodile center. These amazing creatures have been around for millions of years with a design that is floor-less however we have noted a decline in recent years in their numbers. This is one of the reasons for the Crocodile center to educate people and to get some of these creatures back to the wild.           Durban day tour; Warning sign on St Lucia estuary beach Durban day tour; Warning sign on St Lucia estuary beach                               I took my clients around the center and told them about the Crocodiles, Hippos and a range of other things. It was then time to head down to the Estuary of St Lucia for our 2 hour boat cruise.   We began and there was Hippos every where what was really good on this day tour was that we also saw a lot of Crocodiles which in not a guarantee.           Durban day tour; Big pod of Hippo Durban day tour; Big pod of Hippo                                 It is only due to the fact that boat have traversed these rich waters of St Lucia for many years that we have the privilege of viewing the amazing dangerous animals so close without incident. The Hippos in this sections of 8 kilometers of river are used to the boats and this enables us to enjoy amazing sightings of them. We always have to remember that Hippos are wild animals and kill around about 3000 people per year in Africa!         Durban day tour; Crocodile hiding Durban day tour; Crocodile hiding                               The above picture was a Crocodile we found near the shoreline of St Lucia and it was so well hidden in the long grass! So lovely to see it though! We did see better Crocodiles but this picture just looked amazing.   As we continued up stream we came across a wide range of Bird life which is something else St Lucia estuary has to offer visitors. St Lucia is am idea place for birders to come and spot special birds they do not see every day. We spotted this Goliath Heron fishing near the shoreline, this is the tallest heron in the world!         Durban day tour; Goliath Heron Durban day tour; Goliath Heron                               A bit later on we managed to spot some Hippos on the shore and two of them had a little fight with one another. It was one of those moment you don’t expect so you miss most of it when you get you camera ready but it was amazing!           Durban day tour; Hippos fighting Durban day tour; Hippos fighting                                 As we continued our Durban day tour we spotted more birds and I am sure birders would always be happy to see this one, the Giant Kingfisher! If you are interest we can offer birding tours of KwaZulu Natal from Durban.         Durban day tour; Giant Kingfisher Durban day tour; Giant Kingfisher                               We began our way back to the jetty and on route spotted more Hippos and Crocodiles and had a special sighting of baby Hippos out the water on the shore resting. It is always amazing to see this but even more special when it is babies so I had to also make a little video.       Durban day tour; Baby Hippos out the water Durban day tour; Baby Hippos out the water                               Video: Hippo babies at St Lucia wetlands during our Durban day tour           We almost got to the dock and we spotted some Pink backed Pelicans which we don’t see very often this far up the estuary so it was a real treat. If we had birder on this Durban day tour they would have loved to see these birds. Maybe will have to start a KwaZulu Natal birding tour.         Video: Pink backed Pelicans at St Lucia estuary during our Durban day tour                 After docking the boat at the St Lucia jetty we made our way into St Lucia town to enjoy the vibe of this beach resort at the back end of school holidays. We stopped for some lunch which was great and then made our way to the Estuary board walk where we would walk down onto the estuary beach and enjoy the views as well as seeing Maphelane the second highest vegetated sand dune in the world.           Durban day tour; St Lucia estuary Durban day tour; St Lucia estuary                               We continued with our Durban day tour to St Lucia wetlands and got onto the beach and down to the Indian ocean which was looking amazing on this particular day! With Maphelane in the back ground it made for a beautiful picture. This is a special place for me and I love visiting St Lucia, maybe you should too!   Join the St Lucia day tour from Durban click here!      

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 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

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 day tour – Ocean Princess cruise – 1 May 2015

Durban day tour – Ocean Princess cruise – 1 May 2015   I met my clients in Durban at the harbour where their Cruise ship the Ocean Princess docked for the day before heading to East London for their Durban day tour. I was lucky as my clients were ready to go and the first ones off the ship which really made us keep ahead of things during the day. We began with the 45 minute drive to Tala game reserve a small reserve outside of Durban with a very high density of animals. Tala is always a great place to visit if you have limited time and you want to maximize your game viewing on a Durban day tour. In the 45 minutes to the game reserve I covered as much of the clients questions as well as the History of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as I could just to paint the amazing picture that is Durban!   Jeff I looked up more information on Jan Smuts as I promised I would and turns out he was the 2nd Prime Minister of South Africa and he was the only man to sign both peace treaties ending the 1st and 2nd World Wars! See link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Smuts   Back to our Durban day tour; We arrived at Tala game reserve and spotted the Rhinos before we even got to the gate. The Rhinos had their security team watching over them like hawks but fortunately we were early enough that we did not have their vehicles surrounding the Rhinos so we got great photos.       Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Rhino Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Rhino                             As we continued on we found a large dazzle of Zebra and one solitary male Wildebeest with them with a lot of Red Billed Ox Peckers on their backs as these birds remove the ticks off the bodies of the animals. What a lovely relationship where the bird gets a meal and the animal get cleaned! I also took a video of the Zebras and Wildebeest on this Durban day tour so others could see what we saw.       Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Zebra Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Zebra                               Video of Zebra and Wildebeest on our Durban day tour           After this great sighting we spotted some Ostriches, Impala and had a great sighting of the large Kudu antelope. The one male was trying to mate with the females which is always interesting as the behavior of the animal changes so much. The male Kudu will first sniff the female which encourages he to urinate, he then tastes the urine and inhales the scent over the Jacobson organ on the upper pallet of the mouth. This will then translate to him whether the female is in season and ready for mating. Even if she is she isn’t always that cooperative!         Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Kudu Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Kudu                             We had done really well to this point so we stopped at the lodge for a rest room break and to stretch the legs before we continued with our Durban day tour for the Ocean Princess ship. Our next commitment was to find the Giraffes and we did and a lot of them at that. In fact the had a huge Tower or journey of  Giraffe to enjoy and this made us all very happy!         Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Giraffe Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Giraffe                               Watching Giraffe feed is always interesting and one female actually was looking down to the ground trying to find bones so she could chew on them to get extra calcium in her diet. This is common with Giraffe and great to see on a Durban day tour.   Our next en-devour was to find the Hippos in the dam which actually proved to be harder than you think. We did spot just one which kept popping its head above the water and quickly darting under. We tried our best even with the assistance of the head ranger allowing me to take a road which only Tala vehicle could take which was very kind of him.       Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Hippo Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Hippo                               It was now time to leave Tala game reserve and make our way into the Valley of 1000 Hills which is a beautiful area so I took the scenic route as we had so much time due to my clients being so speedy in getting off the ship. It was great to explain more on the Zulu people and the new developments of houses built post apartheid for the previously disadvantaged communities. We got to see how some of our people are living on a day to day basis.   We arrived at our destination in the valley of 1000 hills for the remainder of our Durban day tour and we began it with lunch with a view at the Boma restaurant. Again I have to thank my guests for getting off the ship so fast as we were able to get in and have lunch before the ships big bus tours arrived and cluttered the place.   We all enjoyed our lunch and we then did a very rushed 15 minutes around the reptile center lead by myself so that we could be early for the Zulu Cultural tour and get seated before the big bus tour crowd!         Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Crocodiles Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Crocodiles                             After we were seated we could catch our breath and then the show began with the traditional way a young Zulu man would propose marriage to a girl. We also got to watch the young man visiting with the Sangoma(fortune teller) before he would have to pay Ilobola which is the dowry paid by the man to marry his wife.       Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Sangoma Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Sangoma                             Next on our Durban day tour was some of the traditional Zulu dancing and it was nice to see the “small shield dance” this dance was introduced by King Shaka when he was king between 1816 and 1828. It was spectacular with the view behind the dancers.       Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Small shield dance Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Small shield dance                             No visit to a Zulu cultural village on a Durban day tour is complete with out a video of the dancing so I have put a clip below of the spectacle.       Video of Zulu dancing on our Durban day tour.            After this amazing show we had to begin the 45 minute trip back to Durban after our tour. Everyone seemed happy with how our Durban day tour had gone and we arrived back at the ship on time completing what had been a great trip out of Durban!