Durban Safaris Archives - Tim Brown Tours

African safari tours

African safari tours – 30th October 2015     African safari tours are always amazing but this African safari tour would be extra special as we would see so many amazing animals in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. I had met my client in Umhlanga near Durban for their Durban day safari and we began what turned out to be a very short 2.5 hours drive to Hluhluwe game reserve. It would be the boarder between the two sections that we would enter and first head briefly into the Hluhluwe game reserve section. It was in this section we located a massive male Warthog very early on in our African safari tour.           African safari tours; Warthog African safari tours; Warthog         This male Warthog had huge tusks and warts on his face which was quite a sight to behold and it was only the start of our safari from Durban. As time went on we got further into the wilderness on our safari and located a journey of Giraffe which were so beautiful to watch as the rested in the shade moving ever so often.           African safari tours; Giraffe African safari tours; Giraffe           On African safari tours there is no promise of great animal sighting as it is a natural environment meaning the animals decided if you see them, how you see them and where you see them! We were fortunate as near these Giraffe was a dazzle of Zebra and the one Zebra gave out a big yawn, showing her teeth. Another great sighting on our Durban day safari in the African wilderness.           African safari tours; Zebra showing his teeth African safari tours; Zebra showing his teeth           It was now time to turn around and head down south into the Umfolozi game reserve section to see what else we could find. As it is so dry it really helps with game viewing but does also mean the animals maybe some where else where there is food and water. We were lucky as we heading for the Umfolozi river we stopped at a view sight over the dry riverbed and found Rhino and Elephant in close proximity.           African safari tours; Elephant African safari tours; Elephant           African safari tours are never complete if you do not see the great African Elephant and we had now seen 3 together and a few more in the distance earlier in the safari. The Rhinos were in the riverbed and a territorial male Rhino had found spot of water to lay in to cool off and a mother Rhino and her calves approached him looking to rest in the same area! Wow, what a great sighting on our African safari tour.           African safari tours; Rhinos African safari tours; Rhinos           We then decided to take our safari over the Umfolozi river heading as far south as we could to try and find Lion. It would not be an easy task but as I always say life if all about timing and boy did we have some amazing timing. We arrived 45 minutes later at the most Southern part of the Umfolozi game reserve which overlooks a section of the river and a lovely rock face and to our surprise there was a huge male Lion hunting! He was in the middle of the river bed and approaching an Nyala male which was feeding on the river bank. The Lion went into hunt mode and go as close as he could before attempting a final dash to try and catch the Nyala. The Lions hunt came to and end and he was unsuccessful which happens 9 out of 10 times anyway!           African safari tours; Lion hunting African safari tours; Lion hunting           It was all about timing and being at the right place at the right time to see this once in a lifetime experience and close miss by the Lion hunting the Nyala Antelope. This is unusual behavior but when it is dry Lions can use the element of Surprise as Antelope do not expect to be hunted in the day time by a Lion as Lions are nocturnal mostly.           Video: Lion hunting – Lion hunting an Nyala on our African safari tours           I was so happy that I though to turn on the cameras video mode so I could share this awesome video of the Lion hunting with you. What a special experience on our Wilderness safari from Durban while my clients were in South Africa on Holidays. We watched the Lion lay down in the middle of the riverbed and we then spotted a couple of Lioness under some Acacia trees resting from the heat of the day. They probably though the Lion was stupid to expend energy on food during the heat of the day but the element of surprise can sometimes work!   It was time to make our way back for some lunch and on route we spotted Buffalo on a couple of occasions!           African safari tours; Buffalo African safari tours; Buffalo           We had been so lucky on this African safari tour that we really couldn’t expect anymore than we had already seen but yet the animals kept appearing. A male Rhino resting in the shade was next on our safari!           African safari tours; Rhino resting African safari tours; Rhino resting           Our wilderness safari now continued on toward the lunch stop and when we arrived we all tucked into some good food with some great conversation about the day and about the area where my clients were from. A spot of craft shopping was on the cards and then our African safari tour would continue slowly back to the gate so we could exit. It had been a late lunch and it was already 3pm when we spotted some Baboons on and next to the road near the gate!           African safari tours; Baboons African safari tours; Baboons         To be very honest with you I do not see how our African safari tour could have been any better in the amazing wilderness that we have in Africa! We departed and made our way back to Durban arriving at 6pm very happy with how well our Durban day safari had gone and with so many memories of this special African safari tour.   Join Tim Brown Tours on African safaris during your South Africa holidays and have the opportunity to experience Hluhluwe game reserve, Big 5 and malaria free safari as well as being only 2.5 hours from Durban. It is a must to add to you list of places to visit near Durban in South Africa!

South Africa holidays – Kruger park vs Hluhluwe game reserve

South Africa holidays – Kruger park vs Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve     South Africa has a wide range of wilderness safaris to choose from and it always boils down to what South African holiday or South African safari tours are best advertised! I hope that this post will be able to clear up some of the many questions potential travelers to South Africa have when looking at wilderness safaris or African tours. If you join us on your South African holiday you can expect an amazing experience from culture, culture to historical.         Experience Tim Brown Tours – Durban Safaris and Durban Tours:           It is clear that most people around the world when you say South Africa they think of a Safari! Who wouldn’t but along with that comes the next thought, Kruger national park. Kruger Park is the first Wilderness safari which comes to mind and most of the time as it is so well advertised travelers will not look any further. What does a traveler do if they have limited time and are not travelling to Johannesburg? We have to consider that even Johannesburg is 4 – 5 hours away from the famous or well advertised Kruger park. There are so many options when considering a South Africa holiday or South Africa tours. There are African budget safaris, Luxury safaris and middle range safaris which in my opinion are better value for your Doller/Euro or Pound!   Everybody has a budget and it is not always possible to splurge on an expensive African safari but if you are to travel all this way you do want to experience a Wilderness safari be it in Kruger national park or Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.   Facts about Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve:   Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is the oldest protected area/National park in Africa established in 1895 and is home to the Big 5, Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. This is not all as Hluhluwe Imfolozi also has, Giraffe, Zebra, Cheetah, African Wild dog, Hippo and Hyena! Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is split into two sections the Hluhluwe game reserve in the North and the Umfolozi game reserve in the south. Both of these are linked and have no fences between them but are fenced off from the local communities giving the reserve more protection and the people. Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is 96 000 hectares in size and is ideally situated 2.5 hours from Durban a coastal city on the eastern tip of Africa. Hluhluwe Imfolozi is Malaria free which is a big plus factors so you do not need to take any anti-Malarial medication!   Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve was home to “Operation Rhino” in the 1950’s which brought back the White Rhino from extinction, during these years the Kruger national park had no Rhinos left due to poaching and hunting. Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve now has the highest density of White Rhino in the world and they are protected by an Anti-poaching team which are able if they come across poachers to shoot them with out asking questions. The same applies in Kruger national park. The Rhino is part of our heritage and scientists believe by 2030 there will be no Rhinos left in the World. In South Africa alone in 2014 – 1215 Rhino were killed for there horns, in 2013 – 1004 Rhino and in 2012 – 868 Rhinos. You can see the trend is increasing and this the Rhinos we know about or have found! This is even more of a reason to get to South Africa for a holiday and Hluhluwe game reserve for either a African budget safari or African safari tour before it is to late. If you compare the two pictures I have take I am sure you would agree that the living Rhino looks much better! These was taken on the same day the 29th of September 2015 to show you the reality of this situation we are in!     Rhino comparison; The reality Rhino comparison; The reality         This was a video I took of what you can experience if you visit Hluhluwe game reserve with Tim Brown Tours. It was a cute baby Rhino laying down on the road in front of us twice!     Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Rhino calf rests on road in front of us     It is clear to see that Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve as an African safari tour destination in its own right has so much to offer!     Facts about Kruger national park     Kruger national park is the second oldest protected area/National park in South Africa established in 1898 and is home to the Big 5, Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. Kruger park also has Giraffe, Zebra, Cheetah, African Wild dog, Hippo and Hyena. This makes it on par with Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. Kruger park is very commercial and is so busy due to its good marketing that the park has had to put a limit to the number of vehicles entering each gate. This means you could go there and be turned away! Kruger park is however 1000 000 hectares in size which means if a sighting is called in you probably will not be able to get there as it could be just to far away. It is not ideally situated at 9 hours from Durban or 4-5 hours from Johannesburg.   It also boarders with Mozambique on the east and Zimbabwe in the north making it at higher risk from poachers coming in from the poorer countries to kill Rhinos. Kruger park is not Malaria free which means you will have to take anti-Malarial medication! Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve supplied Kruger national park with Rhinos as they had non left due to poaching and hunting in the 1950’s.   Now having compared Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to Kruger national park it is hard to believed why so many people choose Kruger park for a wilderness safari instead of making their holidays in South Africa for an African safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi???   Any African safari tour is better than non but having the pro’s and con’s shown to you I am sure you will be visiting Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve instead of Kruger national park for your African safari. If the above was not enough to change your perspective see what our clients have said about us on TripAdvisor!       If that didn’t do it try this Video review about South Africa holidays with Tim Brown Tours on African safari tour.     Review video of Tim Brown Tours – Durban Safaris and Durban Tours:            

Hluhluwe “Big 5” game reserve

Hluhluwe “Big 5” game reserve safari     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.   Our Hluhluwe game reserve safari began at Nyalazi gate and we got a tip off on Lions for the lady at the gate. That was very sweet of her, she could have just said nothing! We drove only 1 kilometer and found a young male Lion literally 5 meters off the road. It was so exciting we could hardly contain ourselves but we managed and enjoyed him for 10 minutes before spotting his brother on the other side. We were very luck as the first one we found crossed the road to his brother then they both crossed over one in front of us before it started to rain. They them moved for the riverbed and we moved off as well. Wow what a start to a Durban day safari in Hluhluwe game reserve.             Hluhluwe game reserve; Young male Lion Hluhluwe game reserve; Young male Lion             Video: Hluhluwe “Big 5” game reserve; Young male Lions on our safari from Durban               We left the Hluhluwe game reserve and entered the Umfolozi game reserve in the south in the hope we would find Elephant and a few other species. We were now spotting things far off but to be honest the Lions had really kept our hopes up for the day and it was the best way to start a safari from Durban. After the Lions we spotted Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo in the distance making it already 4 of the Big 5 that we had seen in this single day!           Umfolozi game reserve; Buffalo Umfolozi game reserve; Buffalo           We crossed over the Umfolozi river or shall we say dry riverbed after the lack of rainfall we have had in the past 8 years… We didn’t spend to much time watching this old male Buffalo before we spotted some Baboons walkinging down the road and near the road.           Umfolozi game reserve; Baboon Umfolozi game reserve; Baboon             It was now time to get a far down south as we could to give our selves a chance. I spoke with a couple of guiding mates through the day in passing and the both said, “Its quiet”. They were not wrong but we had luck on our side and kept chipping away and finding animals. I must say I had a great group that really helped me spotting, it is always important to remember the guide can only look in one direction at a time… We then found some Giraffe it was a mother and her baby which was laying down resting in the shade.             Umfolozi game reserve; Giraffe Umfolozi game reserve; Giraffe           African safaris are so rewarding if you have the patients to take in your surroundings when in a game reserve like Hluhluwe Imfolozi. We were not thinking Rhino! and boy did we get luck when we spotted a mother Rhino and her tiny calf of about 6 months or less. This was one of the best sighting I have had of a baby Rhino in over 10 years! This little fella lay down on the road in front of us and waiting for his mom to cross over. They he got up and lay back down on the other side of the road! It was brilliant and I was so glad that I documented it on our African safari in Hluhluwe and Umfolozi game reserve.           Umfolozi game reserve; Rhino calf sleeping in the road Umfolozi game reserve; Rhino calf sleeping in the road             Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Rhino calf rests on road in front of us                   After this amazing sighting on our African safari in Hluhluwe game reserve we thought we couldn’t possibly have any more luck. This was wrong on me to thing and a we came around a corner in the road we spotted a Leopard which is supposed to be nocturnal about 30 meters off the road. As Leopards do they do not stick around and as we stopped the vehicle he held his pose and the scuttled off into the thick but back to the river.    It was a very sweet sighting for me as it have been a 6 month drought since my last Leopard sighting but I have made a silly mistake which I actually will never regret but may actually use again in the future now. I have said to my guests after the Lions sighting that if we were to see a Leopard I would buy everyone lunch as it is so rare to see them and in the day time, damn near impossible! We had no chance for photos but our African safari in Hluhluwe game reserve had been completed and the Big 5 had been achieved for the second time in 5 years for me on a day safari from Durban.  We were all stoked and could not believed our luck but we still wanted the Elephant closer. As we headed back from lunch we spotted Giraffe, Wildebeest, Impala and even Nyala. Eventually as we crossed back over the Umfolozi river we spotted Elephant but it was a 60 second sighting and he was gone!   We stopped for lunch and I said to my clients that I was sure that Elephant will be waiting at the gate for us. We decided after lunch to continued till 15:30 before making our way back to the gate and with all the road works I got a puncture! We that is life and with the help of one of my clients I changed it and we were up and going in 15-20 minutes.   What did this day not have?  We got to the gate to get cleaned up and depart and this is what was waiting for us!           Umfolozi game reserve; Elephant Umfolozi game reserve; Elephant           Wow what a day in the African bush under the African sun, Rain, wind and with the big 5! We could not really have wished for a better day on our African safari from Durban! We all were very tired and made our way back to Durban with big 5 smiles one our faces! The Big 5 in one drive! Legendary safari with Tim Brown Tours!

Durban safari tour

Durban safari tour – 29 September to 1st October 2015       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!   I knew that Julie loved Elephants and I had to tell her we were battling for Elephants over the past three weeks. It is always good to cover yourself as you cannot control nature.   We were greeted at the gate with some very disturbing news that 9 Rhinos had been killed in the past two nights by poachers for their horns to be sold for medicine in China etc. I was gutted! We made our way into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and fortunately found two Rhinos and Buffalo in the distance before I had to make the shock discovery of one of the Rhino carcasses! I hardly knew what to say and it wouldn’t surprise me if I actually swore out loud which I apologized for. The unnatural death of a symbolic animal like the Rhino is very hard to stomach, with no head and a bloated body even the vultures had not yet arrived.           Durban safari tour; Poached Rhino Durban safari tour; Poached Rhino                                 I am sorry to have posted the above picture but I believe it is important for you all to see how horrible the human race can be! We are the apex predator and we have the ability to love and give but we so often just take away and its always from nature and each other! We will be judged eventually!   Anyway on a better note we moved on to try find Elephants and it was a great feeling of joy when we did find a few small breeding herds of Elephant and they fed next to the road. They then crossed the road and stood in the shade interacting with each other on the road too! It was a great start to our Durban safari tour.           Durban safari tour; Elephants in the shade Durban safari tour; Elephants in the shade                                   Video: Durban safari tour; Elephants rest in shade             We were so happy and spent so much time almost an hour with the Elephants that we almost forgot about lunch. We decided to leave the Elephants to themselves and we made our way slowly to the camp. We managed to find some Buffalo and even Rhino that were living as well! Yay.             Durban safari tour; Rhino Durban safari tour; Rhino                                 Come to think of it these Rhinos seemed sad themselves which I only just realized now! It is sad that by 2030 there will be no more Rhinos in the world, and all at the hands of humans the most intelligent animals around…     We arrived at Hilltop camp with a lovely view and a cool breeze where we could  enjoy some lunch and check in. Once we were done I got my clients to there room and then arranged to meet them later for the afternoon safari.   Our Durban overnight safari tour would just get better as we managed to find a huge herd of Buffalo on the road.             Durban safari tour; Buffalo Durban safari tour; Buffalo                                   After these Buffalo we spotted 2 young male Lions up on a hill a million miles away but Lions are Lions! As it was only 5pm we decided to return again later in the hope they would have come down from the hill it was not to be! They were all in the open but as flat as cats can be!               Durban safari tour; Lions Durban safari tour; Lions                                   When we returned and we actually had an amazing sighting! A Black Rhino mother and calf poking their heads above the thickets. We were hoping they would come into the open but then a staff vehicle came flying by and the Rhinos ran away. We still could see our Lions but they were sleeping even though the Buffalo were walking towards them.           Durban safari tour; Black Rhino Durban safari tour; Black Rhino                                 We now were losing light and had to make our way back to Hilltop camp for the night and of course dinner. We arrived back having big smiles as we had seen 4 of the big 5 in one day and Black Rhino! This helped with the sadness of the Rhinos that had been killed but we will never forget them. Also just before Hilltop camp we spotted a bull Elephant which was making his way to below the rooms to feed.   Dinner was a buffet of lovely foods and we tucked into the meal before we went off to bed. When I was walking to my room I could hear the Elephant we had spotted on our way back to camp feeding on the trees.   During the night I heard Hyena and Lions at 4am vocalizing wow it was amazing.           Day 2:  Durban overnight safari tour       We began at 6am after a great night of animal sounds which made me feel like we would really do well in the morning. Within 2 minutes we found some Kudu crossing the road.   5 minutes later we spotted a herd of about 10-15 Elephants they were moving fast so I asked it the clients would be happy to wait to see if they crossed the road and they did. It was really exciting to get this as they had such lovely babies with them.           Durban safari tour; Elephant herd Durban safari tour; Elephant herd                                   In our quest to find the Lions we managed to find Warthogs, Baboons and a range of other amazing creatures. The Giraffe was one of the highlights but it was great to have the variety. Sadly we missed the Lions as did everyone else and talking to others that went past we were lucky to have seen the Elephants!             Durban safari tour; Giraffe Durban safari tour; Giraffe                                   After enjoying the Giraffe we made our way round to check the Rhino carcasses to see if there was any predator or scavenger activity, before we could get there we spotted some Zebra next to the road and then a huge herd of Buffalo.               Durban safari tour; Zebra Durban safari tour; Zebra                                 Next was the big herd of Buffalo on the road which meant we were stuck in a real road block much better than the ones the people in the cities talk about! This big male just gave us a stare as we made our way past them.             Durban safari tour; Buffalo bull Durban safari tour; Buffalo bull                                   Finally on our Durban safari tour we got back to the Rhino carcasses and there was lots of vultures but no Lions or Hyenas. It was still an amazing sight and we didn’t stay to long as the reality was a little hard to swallow but it did again feel more natural then the previous day.             Durban safari tour; Vultures on dead Rhino Durban safari tour; Vultures on dead Rhino                                   After a great morning safari on Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we headed back to Hilltop camp for breakfast and then a rest before lunch.   After lunch we headed back out and temperatures got up to 39 degrees! It was very hot…   We made our way down to the Umfolozi river and found a pride of 13 Lions resting in the river bed. It was an incredible sight.             Video: Tim Brown Tours – Durban safari tours; Lions and Elephants in the river bed                     Durban safari tour; Lions resting Durban safari tour; Lions resting                                     Video: Durban safari tour; Lions rest in river bed     We spend a lot of time with them and got to watch Elephants walking out onto the riverbed as well with the Lions paying no heed!             Durban safari tour; Lions and Elephants Durban safari tour; Lions and Elephants                                     As we watched we found another Lioness coming out of the bushes and it was clear by looking at some of the faces of the other Lions that they had been feeding as well as looking at there bellies. Wow this really was a treat on our Durban 3 day safari tour.             Durban safari tour; Lioness Durban safari tour; Lioness                                   It was still 38 degrees so we made our way back to camp as we also had to catch the evening open vehicle safari for the clients from 5pm -8pm. After the 3 hours I met my clients and we had some dinner before a well deserved nights rest.           Day 3: Durban 3 day safari tour         We began at 6am with an early morning safari drive to make the most of the day. We were very lucky as near the camp we spotted a Rhino and then further on some more not to far away. We were again on the mission to try find these Lions but with out success. We did find Baboon which was good to see, Nyala, Elephant, Buffalo, Zebra, Warthog, Impala and a couple other species in our time out in the bush.             Durban safari tour; Baboon Durban safari tour; Baboon                                 Life is always about timing and so is a Durban safari tour. We had many vehicles ask us had we seen Elephants and no one else except us had found Elephants. We were lucky and found a bull Elephant walking in a dry river bed and sniffing where the females had been the day before. He then also stopped for a drink of water.             Durban safari tour; Elephant bull Durban safari tour; Elephant bull                                 We then made our way back to camp for some breakfast and coffee before we checked out and went on a final safari drive to see what we could find before heading out to St Lucia.   We were lucky again and found Giraffe right next to the road.             Durban safari tour; Giraffe Durban safari tour; Giraffe                               We then arrived at the gate and departed to St Lucia – Isimangaliso wetland park which is South Africa’s first world heritage site. It would be here that we would begin a 2 hour boat cruise viewing Hippos and Crocodiles as well as Mangrove swamps and bird life.           Durban safari tour; Crocodile Durban safari tour; Crocodile                                   This Crocodile was feeding on a fish he had caught near the shoreline. There is a wide range of fish in the estuary and we even spotted a fin of a Bull Shark. As we continued we spotted lots of Hippos and this male was on his own with a few cuts from a recent fight probably with a dominant male.             Durban safari tour; Hippo Durban safari tour; Hippo                                 After a wonderful boat cruise we stopped in the town of St Lucia and had some lunch, nothing like fish and chips on a cold day to make you feel warm inside. It was then time to make our way back towards Durban and we chatted along the way about how lucky we had been and possibly another visit with more family of my repeat guests.   Thank you again to my guests Julie who was on her second Durban safari tour and Kris on her first. It was great to have see as much as we did and the quality as well was amazing! Look forward to welcoming you back and thanks for the Tim Tams!

Durban day safari

Durban day safari 23 September 2015     Our Durban day safari began in Durban city where I met my clients and we headed off to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. It was going to be a hot day and not only with the weather but with the game viewing as well. It was a bit of a Ferrari safari as I had some racing to do to get around Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to maximize our safari time.   On route I covered some of the history of the area and the country of South Africa before we arrived at the gate just before 10 am.   Our Durban day safari began and off we went having some good luck. It wasn’t long before we spotted Zebra and Giraffe as we made our way south in the national park.             Durban day safari; Zebra Durban day safari; Zebra                                   This Zebra was a real poser and stood still for a while before calling out to the rest of his harem which had got to far away from him. As we continued our Durban day safari we enjoyed some Giraffe feeding on some leaves.           Durban day safari; Giraffe Durban day safari; Giraffe                                 We spotted some Elephant some distance away so I’ve put a picture from later in the day when we managed to get them a little closer to the road. Our Durban day safari was beginning to take shape as we also spotted Buffalo in the distance meaning we had now seen 3 of the big 5 in we include the Rhinos on the hills too.           Durban day safari; Elephant Durban day safari; Elephant                                 We continued on with our safari in the hope we would find Lions at a carcass of Giraffe which was now 4 days old. Sadly it was only Vultures and some big ones at that, the Lappet faced Vultures!               Durban day safari; Lappet faced vulture with Giraffe tail Durban day safari; Lappet faced vulture with Giraffe tail                                   Video: Durban day safaris; Vultures feed on Giraffe carcass           We then made our way round the loop and found an amazing sighting of Rhino together with Warthog. Our Durban day safari was really heating up even the temperature was 32 degrees.             Durban day safari; Rhino and Warthog Durban day safari; Rhino and Warthog                                 We then spotted our Elephant in the distance again before we stopped for lunch. Our lunch was great and we made our way up north as quick as we could as I heard that there was some Buffalo near to the road as well as a slim chance of Lions. It wasn’t long and we spotted the Buffalo but not the heard I was aiming for! One old male came up a big hill and we watched him settle in with a big her before we moved off and continued our Durban day safari.             Durban day safari; Buffalo bull Durban day safari; Buffalo bull                                 It had been a great day it was about to become greater as we found our Lions! The best part was they had just killed an Nyala and then decided to vocalise as well as chase a herd of Buffalo away from the river! It was amazing and my client loved it.             Durban day safari; Lions Durban day safari; Lions                                     Video: Durban day safaris; Lions in Hluhluwe                   After enjoying an amazing time with these Lions we went to see the Buffalo which had just been chased by the Lions and we got them to cross the road in front of us.             Durban day safari; Buffalo herd Durban day safari; Buffalo herd                                   After this great Durban day safari we began to make our way towards the gate. We were lucky to see a Rhino with little baby but we did not get a clear photo. It was time to start the 3 hour drive back to Durban. We stopped for some coffee and then arrived in Durban after 7pm. It had been a great Durban day safari!

Durban safari

Durban safari 18-19th September 2015       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 safari; Cheetah stalks wildebeest Durban safari; Cheetah stalks wildebeest           We continued from the Cheetah project and made our way into the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to begin our Safari side of the trip. It was am amazing start as I managed to spot a big bull Elephant in the distance on a road so we raced around to meeting him head on! He was in Musth which means his is at his sexual peak and had 6x the normal levels of testosterone running through his body! A scary problem which makes him potentially more aggressive. I therefore needed to sum up him mood quickly before getting closer. We had a blast with this Elephant!         Video: Durban safari tour; Elephant walks down road towards us           Durban safari; Elephant walks down road Durban safari; Elephant walks down road           If we thought that this was all we would get from this lovely Elephant we were wrong. With the amount of space and respect we gave him we pulled off the road and allowed us closer so we could enjoy him feeling off Marula tree bark. The display was one we will all never forget! Remember it is always safer and better to go with a Durban guide who is qualified in these areas. It is important to understand the animals behaviour and you need more than just a crash course in Guiding to know these things. To many people come on there own get lost of get there car shoved off the road by an Elephant! A guide will save you a lot a embarrassment and in some cases your life! Always make sure your Durban guide is experienced and qualified!          Video: Durban safaris; Elephant feeding on a Marula tree in Hluhluwe         This sighting as you can see from the Videos was truly amazing and to be honest it set the tone for the rest of the 2 day Durban safari tour. We were already more relaxed as we have been battling for good Elephant sighting this past couple weeks and now we could truly enjoy our time in Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve.   We began to make our way to Hilltop camp on route spotting Zebra and Rhino as well as two old Buffalo bulls in the distance. As we neared the camp we spotted some Samango monkeys and two Purple crested Turacos.             Durban safari; Purple crested Turaco Durban safari; Purple crested Turaco           We arrived at Hilltop camp and I bumped into some friends and so did my clients as there was a big conference in Durban which clearly meant that some people had come out a day or two earlier to indulge in a safari experience! I got word of Lions and told my clients we need to have lunch and we can go to the room later, they all agreed and after lunch we flew down south and we blessed with an amazing sighting of two Lions. One was feeding on a Buffalo calf they had killed and the other was laying in the open!             Durban safari; Lion Durban safari; Lion           This appeared to be two young Lions which probably had left there mother recently as the last time I saw them she was around. These two were about 18 months to two years old.             Durban safari; Lion feeding on Buffalo calf Durban safari; Lion feeding on Buffalo calf           In the above picture you can clearly see it is a Buffalo calf and you can see the claw gripping into the animal so that the Lion can feed more easily. Wow, what a great Durban safari tour! Watch the Video below.           Video: Mini safari Durban; Lion feeds on Buffalo             We decided that we now had to go after almost half an hour with these amazing creatures, we need to get back to camp to get settled before my clients would attempt the evening open vehicle game drive.   No sooner had we left I said to my clients “We haven’t yet seen Rhinos close” and a Rhino mother and calf appeared on the road, stayed for 2 minutes and then ran off into the bush! At this point I was actually feeling high, like “your wish is my command…” it was so funny!             Durban safari; Rhino Durban safari; Rhino           We arrived back at camp and got settled before meeting at 16:45 for the 17:00 open vehicle game drive. The excitement would not give in and there was an Elephant in front of the lodge so we all went out to look at him for 5 minutes.   Amazing how our 2 day Durban safari tour just kept producing animals. I was beginning to think this will not keep up into day two.   Later my clients returned from game drive cold and looking forward to the dinner.   After dinner it was time for bed and we would meet for 7am the following day for breakfast before going in search of the Giraffe we hadn’t get seen.       Day 2: Durban mini safari tour       After collecting luggage we enjoyed the lovely view from Hilltop camp and some great breakfast. We then checked out and went in search of the Giraffe.   It wasn’t 15 minuted and we had found a journey of 6 Giraffe near the road. We spend almost 45 minutes with them as they fed and go closer to the road and eventually crossed in front of us. Nothing like patience.             Durban safari; Giraffe Durban safari; Giraffe           We were now satisfied and took it easy stopping along the way to look at view point over the river but I remembered we hadn’t seem Buffalo close so I think I murmured those words to the clients and after a short while it came to be. We found a large herd of Buffalo right next to the road! This was an unbelievable mini safari from Durban!             Durban safari; Buffalo cow Durban safari; Buffalo cow             We stopped again at another view sight and now it seemed as if we were being followed by other vehicles so we didn’t stay long. We headed off and had a great sighting mostly to our selves of a Rhino bull which began in the distance and by waiting for him he crossed the road in front of us and scent marked. Wow what a great sighting we had of another of the big 5. We seem already 4 of the Big 5 in just two days having seen 4 of the big 5 on day one and 3 of the big 5 on day two again!             Durban safari; Rhino Durban safari; Rhino             Video: Durban safari tour; Rhino marks territory with urine         As we continued to the gate of Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve we realized what an amazing mini safari from Durban we had just experienced! It was unbelievable and we still had to go to Isimangaliso wetland park for the St Lucia boat cruise to view Hippos and crocodiles which would be amazing as well.   It was an hours drive to St Lucia and most of my clients to the opportunity to rest up and before you knew it we had arrived. We got ourselves down to the jetty and I still have no idea how the rain held off but it did and we had an amazing time with some of the best photos of Hippos I have ever taken.             Durban safari; Hippos play fighting Durban safari; Hippos play fighting             Video: Isimangaliso Wetland park, St Lucia; Hippos play fighting         The dull light and cooler weather seemed to work in our favour and some how we manage to spot Crocodile who usually dislike this weather. We had a number of Herons and King Fishers as well.             Durban safari; Crocodile Durban safari; Crocodile             To try and sum up this two day Durban safari is very difficult as words are not enough so I am glad I got some pictures and video clips to share the experience with you all. It was amazing in every aspect and a true reflection as to what we have in the amazing country of ours. I know my clients will never forget it and I am sure they will be back for more of the same in the future.    If you would like to be a part of one of these amazing experiences from Durban please click on the link below to find out more about the tour. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + basically all the major social media sites. Our videos can be found on Youtube!     Durban 2 day safari tour  

Durban day safari

Durban day safari   I met my clients at the Sibaya lodge in Durban for their Durban day safari with me to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve which is home to the Big 5.   We had some very funny weather on the drive up as it rain intermittently but through all of this I chatted to my clients about the history of Durban, South Africa and of course the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi national park.    I always try and cover as much as possible with the 2.5 hours I have on the drive up as it is very interesting on these Durban safaris to learn more about how each population group came to be apart of our wonderful country, South Africa. On a Durban day safari we have limited time so I tend to really get as much out as possible. Everyone seemed to enjoy the interaction through the day and we were very luck with amazing sightings.   We arrived at Hluhluwe Imfolozi around 09:30 for our Durban day safari and we spotted some Buffalo on a hill near the gate. We also spotted Black Rhino with in about 10 minuted of driving and Impala. The Black Rhino is such a rare sighting and we also caught glimpse of a Anti-poacher watching them from a distance!             Durban day safari; Black Rhino Durban day safari; Black Rhino                                 We now had to deal with some road work as Hluhluwe Imfolozi is having the roads maintained which is a good thing and then we spotted some Rhino as well as some Baboons.             Durban day safari; Baboon Durban day safari; Baboon                                   We continued with our safari from Durban and before we could cross the Umfolozi river we spotted some Impala as well as some Zebra. The Zebra are one of few animals which are known to bite and kick each other as well as predators. This Zebra was biting at the other.             Durban day safari; Zebra love bite Durban day safari; Zebra love bite                                   We crossed the Umfolozi river and found no animals but it was beautiful, we made our way up to Mpila camp and continued through after looking at the lovely array of horns they have on display there. Our next sighting was Rhino but I didn’t get a great photo so I left it out as I got some great ones later.   After this Rhino our Safari was about to hot up! We spotted a few vehicles all reversing and in panic! We stopped to assess the situation and it was a huge bull Elephant in Musth which was walking up the road. Someone said to us “a car was off the road because of the Elephant”.    It is very important that you come to game reserves with a guide who is experienced with animal behavior and can tell the signs of a stressed animal.              Durban day safari; Elephant bull Durban day safari; Elephant bull                                   This Elephant just had 6 x the normal level of testosterone running through his body as he was ready to mate with females, this does mean that he can be a lot more frustrated and aggressive.   We turned off the engine as this stresses animals further and the Elephant move 10 meters off the road to feed. We rolled up to him and enjoyed him for about 10 minutes before leaving. We then spotted the first casualty of the day!             Durban day safari; Car scared off the road by an Elephant Durban day safari; Car scared off the road by Elephant                                   This rental cars driver could not handle the stress and was obviously to close to the Elephant and reversed his car of the road… Next time keep your distance or come with a guide.   I later hear that the same Elephant has pierced a cars with his tusks and shoved it off the road… he had also pushed over a Knob Thorn over the road.     Anyway I think those people involved will come with a guide next time or will never come again. As we continued we had more sightings of Baboons and great sightings of Warthogs.             Durban day safari; Warthog wars Durban day safari; Warthog wars                                 These two male Warthogs were having a little fight over a lady and she decided after a few minutes to run off and leave them to it! Wow at this point all had gone so well and we had been having an amazing Durban day safari.     Next was the Male Impala with a Warthog in the same picture as they share habitat.           Durban day safari; Impala and Warthog Durban day safari; Impala and Warthog                                   I have forgotten that we actually saw a big male Giraffe just after the Elephant which was amazing as he was right next to the road feeding and every so often would lift his head up to look at us.             Durban day safari; Giraffe Durban day safari; Giraffe                                 We continued our Durban day safari and found a Crash of Rhino near to the road the best part was it was a Male and a mother and her calf. What made it even better was that a Warthog was with them.               Durban day safari; Rhino and Warthog Durban day safari; Rhino and Warthog                                 Sometime on our safaris when we see Warthogs from a distance with Rhino I think it looks like a baby Rhino… This is all again that they share habitat and eat similar things like Grass.             Durban day safari; Rhino mother and calf Durban day safari; Rhino mother and calf                                   It was time to look at a view point over the river and in the reeds we spotted a good sized herd of Buffalo which then left the rivers edge and moved up into the grassy plains. It was here we got a good photo of them.             Durban day safari; Herd of Buffalo Durban day safari; Herd of Buffalo                                 We now had to make our way back up to the Centenary center where we would have some lunch and a look at the museum and craft market. On route we had to drive around a tree the Elephant had pushed over and then we came across the big Rhino we had seen earlier laying at a pan.             Durban day safari; Rhino bull Durban day safari; Rhino bull                                   This Rhino we saw on our Durban day safari looked so cute! We then got back to the centenary center later than we had expected with all the amazing sightings and enjoyed some lunch before a final look around to see what we could see before departing at 4pm.   We managed to find another bull Elephant which was super relaxed feeding next to the road.           Durban day safari; Elephant feeding Durban day safari; Elephant feeding                                     We left the Elephant and found a big herd of Buffalo right near the road and they just stared at us it was a great sighting. We maneuvered around took a few pictures before we realized we would have to leave for Durban.               Durban day safari; Buffalo face Durban day safari; Buffalo face                                   We turn around and made our way back to the gate on route spotting the same Elephant walking down the road! Wow, what a great Durban day safari!   We departed Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve with smiles on our faces on route for Durban. We had enjoyed nature at its best and all have great memories from the day to take home with us. We stopped once on the way back and they the rain came down a fitting way for our safari to end with a blessing of water for the animals. We arrived in Durban and said our farewells before I headed home.    

Big 5 safari Durban

Big 5 safari from Durban for 2 days   I met my clients in Durban for their Big 5 safari just outside Durban to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve which is world famous for its Rhino breeding success through the 1950’s. We are truly blessed to have such an amazing Big 5 game reserve near Durban which in my opinion is just as good if not better than Kruger national park.   Kruger National park may be bigger but it is not as scenic as Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve one of the main features all my clients point out!   As usual I covered the History of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa on route to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi national park as well as anything we saw through Zululand.   As we got further into Zululand we stopped at a Cat rehabilitation center to enjoy some interaction with 4 species of endangered cats, the most exciting being Cheetah! My client of course loved it being big cat fans.             Big 5 safari Durban; Serval Big 5 safari Durban; Serval                                 The Servals are very relaxed and also great to interact with so the above picture if of one of the Serval we interacted with. All this cats are here for either breeding or interaction due to some issue which prevents them from being released into the wild. The idea is to try and get as many of them back to the wild where they belong if not they are used as an educational tool to highlight there situation.     We then left and arrived in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve not 3 hours from Durban and began our 2 day safari tour. Our first sighting was of Nyala and Warthogs.             Big 5 safari Durban; Warthog Big 5 safari Durban; Warthog                                 I was a little concerned as it had been a bit quiet in the national park in the past few days but that would not stop us having good sightings! We spotted Giraffe and Zebra in the distance so I made our way closer and we had the most amazing sighting where we had a troop of Baboons, Zebra, Giraffe and Rhino cross the road in front of us! It was amazing so at this point we had see the first of the Big 5 animals the Rhino but it seemed like we had seem so much more which we had!             Big 5 safari Durban; Rhino Big 5 safari Durban; Rhino                                   Video: Rhino crossing road on our African safari       I made a good video of the Rhino crossing and then later got a great photo of a male Giraffe near to the road. It had been a great start and it was time to head to Hilltop camp for some lunch, check in and head back out for more animals.             Big 5 safari Durban; Giraffe Big 5 safari Durban; Giraffe                                   We enjoyed the Giraffe for a while and moved on to Hilltop camp for some lunch. We were as quick as we could be as my clients also wanted to do the open vehicle safari at 5pm-8pm with the lodge which meant for me I needed to find as many animals as possible in the afternoon.   Our first sighting in the afternoon as some Nyala and then some Baboons all over the road grooming themselves.             Big 5 safari Durban; Baboon Big 5 safari Durban; Baboon                                   We tried to check all the view points over the Hluhluwe river to see if we could add to our Big 5 list with Elephant but we had no luck. We did find a few Red Duiker and one new born which was very cute, sadly I missed the photo so got the adult instead.           Big 5 safari Durban; Red Duiker Big 5 safari Durban; Red Duiker                                   It was time to begin our way back to Hilltop camp but before we could get there we managed to add lots more Rhino and a herd of Buffalo to our Big 5 safari list.             Big 5 safari Durban; Buffalo Big 5 safari Durban; Buffalo                                   We had now seen 2 of the Big 5 on our safari from Durban and the clients got on to the evening game drive before we met again at 8pm for dinner. I was surprised as when they returned they had not been too luck so had not added any more of the Big 5 to the list which meant I had huge stress to find Cats and Elephants the other 2 major ones of the Big 5 were were missing. The Leopard which would be the 5th of the Big 5 we try and think of it as a bonus as we see it so rarely.   After a great dinner it was time for bed and we were all exhausted after a long day.           Day 2: Big 5 safari from Durban     We met before 7am and got all luggage in the vehicle before having a quick breakfast and making our way as far down south in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve as the 3.5-4 hours we had would allow us.   This would be a pure crazy day as we just had such luck! As we had our way down south we ignored Rhino, Buffalo in the distance and most other things it the quest to find Elephant and Cats. We did have to stop for this sighting of Giraffe and Zebra though!             Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra and Giraffe Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra and Giraffe                               We didn’t have to continue much further before we spotted our Elephants but they were far away and it did not make for the best picture. Minutes after we spotted another 2 Elephant and then another 2! Again pretty far away but we now had 3 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari.           Big 5 safari Durban; Elephants Big 5 safari Durban; Elephants                                 As we continued on we headed over the Umfolozi river and saw nothing but on the other side I bumped into a friend of mine Marumo who is involved in research. She said that 10 minutes before there was Lions in the river bed. I though we may as well turn back and check from a view point and there they all were all 14 of these amazing Lions! We were all so excited.           Big 5 safari Durban; Lion mom and cubs Big 5 safari Durban; Lion mom and cubs                                   Video: Lions in Imfolozi game reserve       We now had 4 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari and were very happy with that. I had to put up another picture with a couple of big males in it to share with you all.             Big 5 safari Durban; Lions Big 5 safari Durban; Lions                                 We must have spent 15-20 minuted watching them and knew we still needed to try find Elephants closer but I think in our hearts we were all content having seen 4 of the Big 5 during our Safari from Durban.     We battled and only found everything else except the Elephants close. We got one good sighting of Zebra though!             Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra                                 We made our way to the gate to head to St Lucia estuary for our 2 hour boat cruise to see Hippos and Crocodiles as well as some Bird Life. It was an hour drive and we said farewell to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve and hello to Isimangaliso Wetland park.   We stopped for some lunch in St Lucia town which was lovely before the boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary.   Our cruise went very well we saw Hippos galore, Crocodiles, Birds and even a baby Hippo new born and its mother out the water.             Big 5 safari Durban; Hippo mom and baby Big 5 safari Durban; Hippo mom and baby                                   I was really fortunate to have filmed this and it was amazing watching the young Hippo head into the water with its mother and have her display by opening her mouth.             Video: Hippo mother and baby on the shore run to the water               We had a great look at couple of Crocodiles which was great and after seeing 4 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari to see Hippos and Crocodiles is always a treat!             Big 5 safari Durban; Crocodile Big 5 safari Durban; Crocodile                                 One of my favorite pictures from the St Lucia boat cruise was the this one below where I managed to have the good fortune of lining up 2 or 4 Hippos heads in a row.   We had a great 2 hours at St Lucia on the boat and it was not time to head back to Durban and say goodbye after sharing some great memories.   If you wish to do the same tour as described above please click on this link below:     Durban 2 day Big 5 safari tour    

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 safari

Durban day safari – 10th July 2015     Our Durban day safari began in Durban where I collected some of my clients for this African safari near Durban. We continued to Umhlanga to collect Nick and then headed up to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve.   I was a little concerned as I had been up a few days in the week already and it had been a little quiet on the Cat front so decided to play it safe and enter a gate I knew we would have more chance at finding animals.   After covering some of the interesting History of Durban, KwaZulu Natal we arrived at the gate and entered into the Hluhluwe Section of the game reserve.   We were in luck as the African Wild dogs the most endangered carnivore in Africa were in the area the only problem was they were hunting in the thickets so we couldn’t see them. We waited a bit then went to look at some Zebra before returning. Upon returning we got one African wild dog running down the road towards the den site so he could regurgitate meat for either the puppies or the mother. It was great as we had the dog to ourselves. Once he disappeared we found the others and followed them as they ran straight past two old Buffalo bulls who just watched them run by!         Durban day safari; African Wild dogs Durban day safari; African Wild dogs                               Video – Durban day safari; African Wild dogs run past Buffalo           This had been an amazing sighting and I tried to explain this to my clients about how special and endangered the African Wild dogs are which is never easy as they are dogs.   We stopped back at the Buffalo to enjoy them and one old male gave me the stare which says “You owe me money!”         Durban day safari; Buffalo Durban day safari; Buffalo                               On our way round to a dirt road loop we found a dazzle of Zebra near the road and they we closer that the others we had seen earlier. Wow, what a great start to our Durban day safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.         Durban day safari; Zebra Durban day safari; Zebra                               On the loop we managed to find Baboons and a red Duiker feeding off the fruits that the Vervet Monkeys were dropping from the Sycamore fig tree. I got a great shot of one female with the baby Baboon on her back! Baboons are always interesting to see on our Durban safaris as they are so much like humans.         Durban day safari; Baboons Durban day safari; Baboons                               As we continued our Durban day safari we found some Warthogs which were so red which is obviously from the soil that they sleep in when they are in their burrows and the colour of the mud the wallow in.   One actually rubbed her bum on a little bank of an old dry mud wallow.         Durban day safari; Warthog scratching Durban day safari; Warthog scratching                               We made our way toward the Hluhluwe river and spotted a herd of Buffalo and a Crocodile in the river as well as some Nyala which were far away. As we continued we got some Elephants but the pictures were not good so I omitted them from this post as we saw more later in the day. We finally spotted a Rhino but he was very far away so we decided to continue on with our Durban day safari. It was time to stop for lunch and enjoy the view from Hilltop camp. Lunch with a view is always amazing although it is busier at the lodge so lunch takes a little longer.   Once lunch was done we headed South and found a Black Rhino on a hill which was amazing as there numbers are so low. It was very exciting for me.         Durban day safari; Black Rhino browsing Durban day safari; Black Rhino browsing                                 One of the interesting things is the susceptibility the Black Rhinos have to parasitic issues on their sides of the body and in the soft areas of tissue. They spend a lot of time in thick areas like riverine forest as they eat leaves and twigs not grass. You will see the wounds on this Rhinos side.           Video – African safari; Black Rhino browsing on a hill             We continued on very hopeful for the rest of the day and it wasn’t that long before we found a White Rhino male nearer to the road. He was very relaxed and feeding away so we could enjoy him for a while.           Durban day safari; White Rhino Durban day safari; White Rhino                               Moving on with our day safari from Durban we came across not much else so we stopped to check the hills and enjoy the views. Then we managed to finally find Giraffe which was a huge relief for me…. a bit later on near the exit we would also find Elephants and more Giraffe.         Durban day safari; Elephants Durban day safari; Elephants                               The Elephants were moving on a ridge not that far from the road and parallel to us. This really did complete our safari from Durban! The best was as we were about to exit Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we spotted a number of Giraffe very close to the road which was the Cherry on the top!           Durban day safari; Giraffe Durban day safari; Giraffe                               It was time to head on back to Durban and remember what a great Durban day safari we had had.   On route we just had general chats and any questions were floored before we reached Durban and Umhlanga to return the clients.